'Homes in Lebanese villages won't be standing after next Israel-Hezbollah war'

The commander of the IDF's Galilee Formation, Brig.-General Moni Katz, gave an interview to Army Radio on Wednesday.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
April 8, 2015 16:49
2 minute read.
An IDF soldier stands atop a tank near the Lebanese border

An IDF soldier stands atop a tank near the Lebanese border. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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The homes in Lebanese villages along the border with Israel "will no longer stand" in the event that the Lebanese Shi'ite group Hezbollah launches a ground offensive against Israel, the commander of the IDF's Galilee Formation, Brig.-General Moni Katz told Army Radio on Wednesday.

The officer said that he anticipated that the relative calm that has taken hold along the Israeli-Lebanese frontier will continue for the foreseeable future.

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During Katz's tenure as the top IDF officer responsible for the force alignment near the northern border, there have been isolated cases of violence and flare-ups, though none have deteriorated into the kind of tit-for-tat fighting which led to the Second Lebanon War.

Nonetheless, Katz told Army Radio that Israel is ready for any scenario.

"[Hezbollah] is certainly planning ground operations," he said. "Perhaps it might succeed at one point or another, but I think what is most important is to gauge these things by how they end, not by how they begin."

"There's a dimension of psychology involved here," he said. "There's a need to understand that these events could happen, and we need to look at them with the proper sense of proportion. You can't defend a 130-kilometer long border and expect that no enemy fighter will succeed in crossing the boundary."

Katz said that Israel plans to install new fortifications along the border that will impede any Hezbollah attempts to infiltrate and cause havoc. Still, in the event that matters devolve into a wider conflict, the officer said that Israel will evacuate its residents from their homes, if need be.



"If the best defense we could provide our citizens entails evacuating them from a number of towns adjacent to the border, we will do it," he said. "We are prepared for such a scenario. Ultimately, the decision rests with the civilian leadership."

The brigadier-general said that the next war between Israel and Hezbollah will "look entirely different" from Lebanon's perspective.

"Hezbollah will receive an even harsher blow [than it did in 2006]," Katz said. "When it decides to construct an operational infrastructure throughout nearly all of the villages in the south, I think it understands the risk it is taking."

"It's hard to envision the homes in these villages, which are so close to the borderline, remaining standing after the next war," he said.

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