Operation Changing Direction
- Code name for the Israeli counteroffensive launched in response to Hezbollah's 12 July 2006 attack on Israel Defense Forces (IDF) positions on Israel's side of the internationally recognized border—in which eight Israeli soldiers were killed and two others were taken hostage—followed by waves of Hezbollah Katyusha rockets fired on population centers in northern Israel. The declared initial objective of the operation was to achieve the safe return of the kidnapped Israeli soldiers by isolating Hezbollah from the people and government of Lebanon and from its sources of funds, weapons, and logistical support in Syria and Iran. By strategically targeting major highways connecting Lebanon and Syria, as well as Beirut's international airport, the IDF sought to deny Hezbollah the ability to move the kidnapped soldiers out of Lebanon.As Hezbollah escalated the crisis by targeting Haifa and more distant Israeli population centers with advanced missiles acquired from Syria and Iran, the objectives of Operation Changing Direction were modified and expanded. Israel sought once and for all to eliminate the threat posed to the security of its northern citizens by Hezbollah, in part by pressuring the government of Lebanon to fulfill its obligation (under United Nations (UN) Security Council Resolution 1559) to deploy the Lebanese army to southern Lebanon in order to disarm Hezbollah. The objectives of the operation were to achieve the safe return of the kidnapped Israeli soldiers, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev; to eliminate the threat posed to the security of Israel's northern citizens by Hezbollah's arsenal of Katyusha rockets; and to pressure the government of Lebanon to fulfill its obligation to apply sovereign authority over all parts of the country, including the border region, and disarm Hezbollah.These three objectives were not completely fulfilled. The two IDF soldiers were not immediately released. Israel did not find a "solution" to Hezbollah's Katyusha missiles. And, while the Lebanese army (backed by international forces and emboldened by UN Security Council Resolution 1701) was deployed to southern Lebanon, no serious effort was made by the Lebanese army or government to disarm Hezbollah as required by the UN resolution. Moreover, in what Israel considered to be an explicit abrogation of their responsibilities according to Resolution 1701, commanders of the reconfigured UN Interim Force in Lebanon (1978) announced that they had no intention of confronting Hezbollah in order to disarm the organization.See also Second Lebanon War (2006).
Historical Dictionary of Israel. Bernard Reich David H. Goldberg. Edited by Jon Woronoff..
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