'Hezbollah setting IDF up for another Goldstone'

Senior IDF officer says destruction in Lebanon will be extensive due to Hezbollah establishing command posts, bases in villages.

IDF training day 370 - no line (photo credit: IDF Spokesperson)
IDF training day 370 - no line
(photo credit: IDF Spokesperson)
Israel’s 2009 offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, will pale in comparison to what will happen to Lebanon in a future war with Hezbollah, a senior IDF officer in the Northern Command said on Thursday.
“The destruction will be greater in Lebanon than in Israel and the amount of explosives which will fall there will be far more than what will fall here... We will need to be strong and aggressive,” the officer said.
Brig.-Gen. Herzi Halevy, commander of Division 91, clarified the remark and told reporters that the destruction will be widespread due to Hezbollah’s decision to establish its command posts and bases inside villages and towns throughout Lebanon.
Halevy, who headed the Paratroop Brigade during Operation Cast Lead in 2009, said Israel would take immediate action – from the air and on the ground – in a future war that would cause “extensive damage, not as a punishment but rather to hit the enemy where it is.”
“The damage will be far greater [in Lebanon] than the Second Lebanon War,” he added.
“The past six years have been the quietest along the border in more than 40 years,” Halevy said in a briefing marking six years since the Second Lebanon War.
“But we understand that there is more than one catalyst that can potentially break the quiet.”
Halevy said that an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities – no matter by whom – or the ongoing uprising in Syria could spark a conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. In addition, increased tension between the IDF and the Lebanese Armed Forces could lead to a bigger conflict.
Last week, for example, a small force of soldiers from the Paratroop Brigade were patrolling the border when they spotted Lebanese troops standing 20 meters away and aiming their weapons –including a rocket-propelled grenade – at them. One of the Israeli soldiers, who speaks Arabic, heard the Lebanese commander dividing up targets for his men. The Israeli soldiers called in a backup force that quickly arrived at the scene, leading the Lebanese to withdraw.
“These type of incidents have the ability to turn into something larger,” a senior officer said.
The IDF has spent the past year upgrading its defenses along the border. A few weeks ago, it completed the construction of a concrete wall between the Israeli border town of Metulla and the Lebanese town of Kafr Kila. The army decided to build a wall along that section of the frontier to minimize friction between the sides.
Since the war in 2006, in addition to Hezbollah’s extensive rearmament and procurement of tens of thousands of rockets and missiles, the IDF has detected a concerted effort by the guerrilla group to gather intelligence on Israeli military positions along the border.
The army released photos on Thursday showing Hezbollah operatives with surveillance gear along the border filming IDF movements and deployments.
In a film recently captured by the IDF, two cars are shown arriving near the Lebanese side of the border. Men wearing hooded sweatshirts are seen exiting the cars and surveying the border. One of them is holding papers. IDF assessments are that the group was possibly planning an attack against Israel along the border.
“They brings operatives from northern Lebanon to teach them about the south and the terrain where they will be expected to operate in a future war,” another officer in the Northern Command said.