Israeli intel chief says Lebanon would become ‘refugee state’ in next war
A top Israeli military official has warned that if Israel was to go to war again with Lebanese based militant group Hezbollah, the consequences would be much more devastating for the civilian populations on both sides than when they fought a bloody war in the summer of 2006.
Military Intelligence chief Herzl Halevi said Wednesday that should another war take place, Lebanon would become a country of refugees that will have difficultly recovering, “and Hezbollah will “lose its political support base,” Israeli daily Haaretz reported.
“The next war in the north will be essentially different, not just from the Second Lebanon War and Operation Protective Edge, but from the Yom Kippur War and what came before that,” the military chief said, in reference to some of Israel’s most devastating battles with its neighbors. “In the Yom Kippur War we had a single casualty on the home front from a rocket from Syria,” Halevi said, according to Haaretz.
Halevi said that even though Israel is “stronger than ever in relation to our enemies,” he warned that it will “not be easy or simple” and that “there will be a price.”
“Never in history have we had an enemy that we know more about,” he added.
The 2006 Lebanon War broke out on July 12, 2006 after Hezbollah militants killed three Israeli soldiers and kidnapped two others in an ambush.
The conflict went on for 34 days, with Israel launching a ground offensive in southern Lebanon and Hezbollah targeting Israeli civilians with rockets and conducting guerrilla attacks on Israeli soldiers.
Maj.-Gen. (res) Yitzhak Gershon, who was the head of the IDF Home Front Command during the last Lebanon war said Tuesday that Israel faces being hit with barrages of up to 1,200 rockets a day should another conflict with break out.
“If in the Second Lebanon war the record was 160 rockets in a day [launched] at the northern region, we need to expect up to 1,200 rockets in a day — it will be a completely different scenario from anything we’ve known,” Gershon said during an Army Radio interview cited by the Times of Israel.
“We will need mental fortitude more than physical protection,” he continued. Gershon now heads up the IDF’s reservist northern region emergency division, according to the TOI.
Nonetheless, the accepted wisdom throughout the defense establishment remains that a new round of fighting is not in the offing and Hezbollah is not thought to be planning a new offensive. However, the risk of lower-level skirmishes erupting into a wider conflagration remains an outside possibility.
According to Israeli security analysts cited by the TOI, the IDF is attempting to rein in expectations surrounding Israel’s missile defense capabilities. While
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