Israel’s Channel 2 television reported Friday night that the IDF is already preparing for the next conflict, one that is expected to break out with Hezbollah in Lebanon. According to the report, Israel is “making plans and training” for “a very violent war” at an unspecified time in the near future.
The army gave Channel 2 News access to several of its positions along the Israel-Lebanon border. In the interview, Colonel Dan Goldfus, commander of the 769th Hiram Infantry Brigade, told Channel 2 engaging Hezbollah “will be a whole different story” than the recent conflict with Hamas.
The report said the Iranian-backed Hezbollah has an estimated arsenal of 100,000 rockets, ten times that of Hamas prior to Operation Defensive Shield. It also possesses 5,000 long-range rockets capable of reaching any part of Israel, with large warheads and precision guidance systems. For this reason, Goldfus says, Israel will have to “maneuver fast”.
“We will have to use considerable force,” he said, and “act more decisively, more drastically” to defeat this far more sophisticated aggressor. The Iron Dome missile defense system will not be enough to protect citizens from such an onslaught.
Residents of the north would likely need to be evacuated, Goldfus claimed. “Hezbollah will not conquer the Galilee (in northern Israel),” the officer said, “and I won’t let it hurt our civilians.”
Some people believe that Hezbollah has been weakened by fighting with Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces. Goldfus says they are mistaken. Hezbollah garnered three years of military experience and increased confidence from that conflict, making them a greater threat.
According to the report, back in 2012, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that in a future war with Hezbollah, Israel would be forced to hit villages and homes in Lebanon from which Hezbollah would seek to fire rockets.
The report also highlighted another parallel concern – that of tunnels. Since 2006, residents of northern Israel have been reporting sounds of tunneling from beneath their homes. Yossi Adoni, deputy chief of the local Maaleh Yosef council, said, “We are absolutely certain there are cross-border tunnels.”
Goldfus concurs. “If in Gaza there were tunnels, it stands to reason that it’s possible here, too,” he said. Eliminating Hamas’s network of tunnels into Israel was one of the goals of Operation Protective Edge. 11 IDF soldiers were killed within Israel during the operation by Hamas gunmen emerging from such tunnels.