Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Tuesday warned Hezbollah and the Lebanese government that Israel would be prepared to attack every position of the terrorist group’s assets and other war-related assets, if they attack the Jewish state.
Speaking after a meeting with top IDF officials at Mount Dov, he said to Hezbollah and other Lebanese officials: “Do not make a mistake. We do not want war, but we are ready to defend our citizens, our soldiers, and our sovereignty.
"Do not make a mistake, we do not want war, but we are ready to defend our citizens, our soldiers, and our sovereignty."Yoav Gallant
“We will not hesitate to employ all of our power and to attack every meter of Hezbollah and of Lebanon and return Lebanon to the stone age.”
Israel's military suffers reservist crisis due to judicial reform
Gallant said that Hezbollah and other Lebanese officials might mistakenly think that they can test Israel more now because of the IDF reservist crisis in which 10,000 reservists have said they are quitting to protest the government’s judicial overhaul.
He said they should understand that Israel would remain united in the event that it was threatened with war by a group like Hezbollah.
In addition, the defense minister said that it was crucial for the IDF to speed up its building of a fence and obstacles around the fence to make Israel’s border with Lebanon more defensible.
Gallant’s warning came in the midst of several recent attempts by Hezbollah to meddle with Israel’s sovereignty, such as sending unarmed supporters briefly across the border to wave flags in Israeli territory at a moment when IDF patrols were elsewhere, breaking a surveillance camera, and most notoriously, building a small tent outpost 27 meters into Israeli territory a few months ago.
Israeli officials have been downplaying the significance of the outpost and seem to still be trying to negotiate Hezbollah’s withdrawal from that spot, while signaling that larger attempts to destabilize the status quo will be met with greater force from the Israeli side.
It is also noteworthy that Gallant placed Lebanon in the same basket with Hezbollah, since at times Israel has tried to distinguish between the Lebanese government and Hezbollah, depending on the relations between the two parties at a given moment.
In related news, a number of Palestinian residents of the West Bank, involved in a terrorist cell that planned to carry out shooting attacks on Israelis, were arrested by Israel’s security services, the Shin Bet security agency) said Tuesday. Cell was directed by a Palestinian Liberation Front (PLF) activist based in Lebanon.
The PLF operative was named by the Shin Bet as Alaam Kabhi, originally from Nablus, who is responsible within the PLF for coordinating terrorist attacks across the West Bank.
As part of his role, Kabhi identifies and recruits Palestinian terrorists, some of them members of his family, to carry out attacks, the Shin Bet said.
As part of the Shin Bet’s investigation, a number of Palestinians recruited by Kabhi were probed, including Marad Kabhi, a relative and resident of the Balata refugee camp in Nablus. As part of the probe into Kabhi, two M-16 rifles in possession of the terrorist cell were confiscated.
In addition to Marad Kabhi, a number of Palestinians recruited by Kabhi were arrested before they could carry out terrorist attacks, including Khaled Abu al-Hijaa, who confirmed during questioning that he was recruited by Kabhi to lead the West Bank terrorist cell. Kabhi and al-Hijaa were indicted by the IDF Military Court, the Shin Bet said.