Albawaba.com – Damascus
Israeli Likud leader Ariel Sharon has met with members of the dismantled South Lebanon Army in Israel, and told them that “he will need them in the future,” according to Lebanese sources, who saw the meeting as a signal of Sharon’s plans to reinvade south Lebanon.
Israel withdrew on May 24 from the 1000 square kilometer zone it occupied for 22 years after fierce Lebanese resistance, spearheaded by Hizbollah. The SLA used to serve as proxy militia for Israel.
After the pullback, many of the SLA members took refuge in Israel, and a percentage of them returned to face trial back home. Most of those tried received reduced sentences.
The sources, who asked for anonymity, revealed that Sharon told the militia leaders that “chances of your return to the security zone are becoming stronger and stronger every day,” adding that “the way you were dealt with was dishonoring to the Israeli dignity.”
There are about 500 SLA members living in Israel with their families, estimated at 2500 individuals. Last week, they filed a petition at the Israeli Higher Court of Justice demanding Israeli citizenship, and all the privileges of the regular Israeli army. They also claimed compensation for the damages inflicted on them in the aftermath of the random Israeli pullback from Lebanon.
The sources linked between the development and the possibility of an Israeli aggression on Lebanon. They believe that Sharon will implement his hostile plan if he becomes the next Israeli prime minister or takes part in a national unity government alongside the outgoing PM, Ehud Barak.
According to the Lebanese sources, the attack will involve wide-scale air strikes on the south; they did not rule out ground-gaining land operations. According to their analysis, Sharon will need the SLA’s knowledge of the land topography, and will use them as a human shield by placing them in the frontlines, thus sparing sacrifices among the Israelis.
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