Israel’s National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi has warned that after Hamas is defeated in Gaza, the IDF will almost certainly have to take on Hezbollah, which has been launching rockets and missiles into Mount Dov, in northern Israel, from its bases in Lebanon. Hezbollah, of course, is much more dangerous an enemy than Hamas; thanks to Iran, it has a storehouse of 150,000 rockets and missiles, about eight times what Hamas is estimated to have had at the beginning of this war. More on Hanegbi’s warning can be found here: “Hanegbi indicates war against Hezbollah likely after defeat of Hamas,” Times of Israel, December 9, 2023:
National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi indicates that intensified IDF action on the northern border is likely, though preferably not in parallel with the fighting in the Gaza Strip.
“Residents will not return [to the north] if we don’t do the same thing” in the north against Hezbollah, as we are doing in the south against Hamas, he tells Channel 12 news.
Two hundred and fifty thousand Israelis — both in northern Israel on the border with Lebanon, and in southern Israel on the border with Gaza — have had to leave their homes and move further inland in order to allow for their safe return to their homes near the Lebanese border, the IDF must ensure that Hezbollah’s elite Radwan force is unable to emulate Hamas and massively pour troops into northern Israel to murder its inhabitants.
“We can no longer accept [Hezbollah’s elite] Radwan force sitting on the border. We can no longer accept Resolution 1701 not being implemented,” he adds, referring to a UN Security Council resolution from 2006 that barred any Hezbollah presence within almost 30 kilometers of the border with Israel.
Asked directly if there will be a war in the north, he says: “The situation in the north must be changed. And it will change. If Hezbollah agrees to change things via diplomacy, very good. But I don’t believe it will.”…
What change would Hezbollah have to make? At a minimum, it would have to stop ignoring its solemn commitment to implement UN Resolution 1701, and instead withdraw its forces at least 30 kilometers from the border with Israel. It would have to stop shelling northern Israel, and stop hurling rockets and missiles into Israel. Israel now responds in tit-for-tat fashion, and as long as it is occupied with Hamas, is unlikely to unleash a full-scale attack on Hezbollah. For the IDF, it makes sense to take on these enemies one at a time.
He says Israel does not want to fight simultaneously on two fronts. “We are making clear to the Americans that we are not interested in war [in the north], but that we will have no alternative but to impose a new reality in the north” if Hezbollah remains a dangerous threat on the other side of the border.
If the international community does not deal with the threat posed by the Houthis in Yemen, he also says, without elaboration, “Israel will act.”
Just now the Houthis have issued a warning to Israel and the world: they will attack any ship in the Red Sea that is bound for Israel, even if that ship is not owned by, or otherwise linked to, Israelis. It’s a foolhardy threat, based on the assumption that while Israel is so deeply committed to the war in Gaza, it won’t be able to take on the Houthis. That assumption is wrong. Israel will not allow a single successful attack by the Houthis, whether on ships in the Red Sea headed to Israel, or on the port of Eilat, to go unanswered. If ships in the Red Sea are seized by, or damaged by, the Houthis, using drones,, or if the ballistic missiles it fires at Eilat get through despite Israel’s Arrow 3 missile defense, and cause death and destruction, I am sure that this will trigger a ferocious response by the Israeli Air Force, to destroy as much of the Houthis’ stockpiles of ballistic missiles and drones that it can, sufficient to quiet the threat from Yemen for a long time. And then, as Israel’s National Security Adviser Tzahi Hanegbi says, with the southern and western flanks of Israel secured, Hamas defeated and the Houthis bombed into prudent quiet, it will be time for the IDF to turn, with a ferocity that will shock and awe Hassan Nasrallah and his goose-stepping bezonians, to Hezbollah. It will be a sustained campaign without letup of airstrikes on those 150,000 rockets and missiles, wherever they can be located. And if the IDF deems it necessary, Israel will not hesitate — as Prime Minister Netanyahu has warned — to bomb Beirut itself. For the Israelis, after October 7, half measures will not do. They seek not merely to contain, but to destroy those who, it was made clear on that day, wish to annihilate them.