Get Your Geographical Bearings: Baalbek, Lebanon–Quneitra, Syria–Kiryat Shemona, Israel


9:00 pm Israel time, Sunday, January 25 2015

50 Days Until The Election

***The planned sale of the latest edition of Charlie Hebdo at Steimatsky bookstores in Israel has been canceled–out of Steimatsky fear of Muslim reprisals. However, the Yisrael Beiteinu political party has announced that it will buy copies of the edition and give them out for free.

By the way, a poll released by Ma’an Palestinian News earlier this week reveals that 84% of Palestinians believe that the murders in Paris were carried out by Mossad at the direction of PM Netanyahu.

***The water level of the Dead Sea continues to drop. According to the latest measurements, it has dropped more than 50 meters since the 1927–the first year that measurements were taken.

The precipitous decline in the Dead Sea continues. Note the sinkhole in the foreground.

The precipitous decline in the Dead Sea continues. Note the sinkhole in the foreground. The water level of the Dead Sea used to extend up to the top of the lower hills in the background (photo EPA).


The northern Galilee remains on high alert tonight following the second suspected Hezbollah infiltration in four days. Today’s incident occurred in the same area as before, the Reches Rimam area on the Lebanese border that is home to an IDF observation post (note that Reches Rimam is squeezed west of Kiryat Shemona to the Lebanese border in the map below).

Other developments in the area:

*Lebanese media report that IDF jets and drones have been flying over southern Lebanon all day.

*The IDF is currently firing flares over the Kfar Shuba area in an effort to spot would-be infiltrators.

*The IDF has erected concrete barriers along all roads near the Lebanese border.

*Several Israeli schools will be closed tomorrow, and school trips in the area have been canceled.

Meanwhile, the entire situation on Lebanon’s border with Syria continues to degrade. Yesterday eight Lebanese soldiers were killed in repelling an IS attack near the northeastern Lebanese village of Ras Baalbeck.

Of course, the Baalbek area is a Hezbollah stronghold–and numerous Hezbollah fighters have already been killed in the area fighting Islamists coming across the eastern border from Syria.

At the same time, Hezbollah is busy fighting IS in southern Syria, and has not been faring particularly well. Nevertheless, this lack of success has not stopped Hezbollah from working with its patron Iran to try to ship missiles to the southern Golan Heights and set up launch sites from which to attack Israel.

The geographical fact is that there is not much distance between the fighting in Baalbeck and fighting in the southern Golan Heights.

Note the distance

Note the proximity of Baalbeck (in Lebanon) to the area just north of Al Qunaytirah (Quneitra).  It is about 107 km–66 miles. Note the distance measurer in the map legend is not applicable. The Reches Rimam area is just to the west and south of  Qiryat (Kiryat) Shemona.

lebanon20map1 (1)

So in the coming days, it would behoove us all to keep in mind the relative locations of Baalbek (where IS forces are battling Hezbollah and the Lebanese Army), Quneitra (where Hezbollah is working with Iran to set up a missile launch base to attack Israel) and the Lebanese border west of Kiryat Shemona (which is under high alert tonight).

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