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(photo credit: )
The drive up to the top of Mt. Dov on Wednesday is done along a narrow and winding road, accessible only in armored vehicles, a memory of Hizbullah's incessant shelling of IDF outposts there not so long ago.
The Gladiola outpost is situated just over the Lebanese village of Shuba with a clear view of Ghajar, as well. Soldiers man heavily-fortified positions along the ridge, keeping an eye on the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) patrols below.
Strangely enough, during the war this summer, the Mt. Dov area was quiet, and saw nearly no fighting. According to the officer, the explanation is simple - Hizbullah does not attack military bases, since they know that in such a situation they will lose.
"They prefer to draw us into their villages and to attack the home front with rockets," he said. "That is where their strength is."
Since the war in Lebanon, the IDF has invested millions of shekels in fixing the infrastructure along the mountain - from repaving the winding road to installing new antennas and surveillance equipment.
The officer said the soldiers stationed in the series of outposts along the mountain play a key role in assisting the IDF to form accurate assessments of Hizbullah's plans. In one of the posts, a soldier is watching a van pull up alongside a LAF outpost in the village below.
"The suspicious activity you see through your camera is what helps us understand what is really going on in Lebanon," the officer told one of the soldiers stationed in the outpost.
While there were IDF failures during the war, the officer stated, Hizbullah ultimately lost.
"There is a new reality in southern Lebanon with the presence of the LAF and UNIFIL," said the officer. "Hizbullah was also severely hurt during the war and also paid a price by losing some of the support of the villagers whose homes were destroyed."
As for the question of whether Israel should withdraw from Mt. Dov - also known as the Shaba Farms - the officer said that such a move would achieve nothing as far as Hizbullah was concerned. The mountain, he said, belonged to Syria and was conquered by Israel during the 1967 Six Day War. Hizbullah's claim that Israel's presence there was, in fact, the occupation of Lebanese land, was "baseless and false."
"Hizbullah's attempt to claim sovereignty of Mt. Dov is because the group needs an excuse for its existence," he said. "Otherwise, they are worthless."