Israel’s climb-down over Golan air strike: We didn’t know Hizballah’s convoy carried high Iranian officers

DEBKAfile Special Report
January 20, 2015, 6:55 PM (IDT)

Israel Tuesday, Jan. 20, used Western and Arab media outlets for “clarification” to Tehran of the purpose of its air strike over the Golan Sunday, asserting that Revolutionary Guards Gen. Mohammad “Ali Allah Dadi and his staff of five were not known to be traveling in the Hizballah convoy and were not the target.

“We thought we were hitting an enemy field unit that was on its way to carry out an attack on us at the frontier fence,’ a senior security official in Tel Aviv informed the media. “We went on the alert, we spotted the vehicle, identified it as an enemy vehicle and took the shot,” he said, adding: “We saw this as a limited tactical operation.”

This semi-apology, say DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources, was intended to tell Tehran that had Israeli intelligence identified the group of high-ranking Iranian officers in the Golan convoy, the air strike would have been called off. There was no reason why an intelligence mistake should cause a broad or even a limited military showdown between Iran and Israel, was the implied message.

Asked if Israel was expecting Iranian or Hizballah retribution, the Israeli security source answered: “A response is almost certain, but none of the parties is seeking escalation.”
Sharp US intervention was almost certainly behind Israel’s embarrassing “clarification.”

The Obama administration feared the Golan air strike might snowball into a full-scale military confrontation with Iran and Hizballah settling their scores with Israel. The ongoing nuclear talks between Iran and the six world powers would then be abruptly interrupted and possibly break down.

Obama administration officials may well have informed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that, according to information reaching US intelligence, Iran and Hizballah were spoiling for revenge and all-out war might be impossible to hold back.

DEBKAfile’s military sources are far from sure that Tehran will accept Israel’s lame excuses for the death of a senior general. They might choose not to believe that the OC of Israel’s Northern Command, Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, until recently chief of military intelligence (AMAN) and well versed in the arenas shared by Israel, Iran and Hizballah, would have mistaken the figures traveling in the Golan convoy.

All the same, in an effort to de-escalate the crisis, Israel has gone to the lengths of publicly owning up to a fiasco of its intelligence and a mistaken military operation.
By this climb-down for Tehran’s benefit, the prime minister and defense minister are bound to be held to account at home for failing to provide back-up for Israel’s armed forces and intelligence.

January 21, 2015 | 14 Comments »

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14 Comments / 14 Comments

  1. Where is one Israeli official on the record about anything in regards to this strike, never mind backtracking.

    The media just prints unverified rumors and everyone reacts.

    Just like with the BS of the Mossad not backing Bibi on Iran sanctions.

  2. @ Laura:

    “The only apology Bibi should be making is ‘sorry we didn’t kill more’…”

    This may have been a convoluted, diplo way of saying something on the order of just that; a shot across the bow, as it were.

    Something like:

    ‘This was a just love tap — but there’s lots more where that came from. Play your cards right, and you could find you’ve won yourself a nice big sloppy
    . . . . kiss.’

  3. This semi-apology, say DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources, was intended to tell Tehran that had Israeli intelligence identified the group of high-ranking Iranian officers in the Golan convoy, the air strike would have been called off.

    OR it was a means of providing Iran with an excuse to save face if it does not wish to escalate. The shoot down, aside from being asset and PR rich, was a message to keep away from the border or any attempts ; the message was sent along with the usual muslim face saving device.

  4. Boehner invites Israeli PM Netanyahu to address Congress
    The invitation comes a day after President Obama told Congress he would veto any legislation imposing stiffer sanctions on Iran — a move that has bipartisan support on Capitol Hill, but which the president said would squelch chances for a deal to control Iran’s nuclear program, and could move closer to war.

    The White House said it was a breach of protocol for Mr. Boehner to invite a foreign head of state for such an event without first notifying President Obama.

    “The typical protocol would suggest that the leader of a country would contact the leader of another country when he’s traveling there,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest. “That certainly is how President Obama’s trips are planned when he travels overseas. This particular event seems to be a departure from that protocol.”

    I wonder how Obama will try and repay this slap in the face from congress AND BB?

    Mr. Earnest said the White House was notified Wednesday morning before Mr. Boehner’s announcement, and called it “interesting.” Asked if the president was annoyed, he said “no.”

    We see here “the importance of being earnest” 🙂

  5. The only apology Bibi should be making is “sorry we didn’t kill more”. Iran is waging a proxy war against Israel through hamas and hezbollah. That is exactly why the Iranian General was there. All Iranian military personnel operating near Israel’s border are legitimate targets.

  6. @ Laura:

    Agreed. Israel wiped out an Iranian terrorist cell operating on the Golan Heights. What on earth is the problem? They were going to kill Jews and Israelis. And G-d forbid, the Israeli government would have waited to have their blood shed first before doing anything. What the heck is wrong with the people who run Jerusalem?

  7. This was my first thought. Stop explaining yourselves to the world. Your enemies don’t buy it anyway and your true friends don’t need any explanations. Better to let them think you did target the Iranian skunk.

    @ NormanF:

  8. “We’re sorry we killed you. We’re just not that smart. Nation of schmucks we are. Next time we’ll say ‘Simon Says’, honestly. Please don’t take it the wrong way”


    I guess next, Bibi should apologize for Entebbe,,,

  9. It is right on Netanyahu’s script. That is him. But not only him. ALL of the renegade echelon is exactly like that. If not worse. Betrayal, cowardice is all they offer.

  10. @ SHmuel HaLevi 2:

    Netanyahu is THAT craven. After all, he apologized to Erdogan. While I normally don’t place much stock in DEBKAfile, this report of Israel’s trying to appease Iran and Hezbollah does follow a pattern and is completely believable.

  11. Sick, gagging sick. Cowards, sold out trash again loosing face. G.d help us if again the people elects the same filth.
    Next the renegades will put on trial the soldiers that took care of the enemy.

  12. What is it with Jews who apologize?

    I’ve changed my mind – kick Netanyahu out before he embarrasses Israel further in pathetic groveling in front of Israel’s enemies.

    Its sickening.