Israel must ready a preemptive strike against Hezbollah - opinion

Israel must arm itself with a large amount of precise surface-to-surface missiles, which will destroy Hezbollah’s mid- and long-range missiles and rockets that are especially dangerous to us.

 HOSSEIN SALAMI, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, speaks at a rally in Tehran last May held in solidarity with the Palestinians. (photo credit: Majid Asgaripour/West Asia News Agency/Reuters)
HOSSEIN SALAMI, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, speaks at a rally in Tehran last May held in solidarity with the Palestinians.
(photo credit: Majid Asgaripour/West Asia News Agency/Reuters)

Tens of thousands of missiles and rockets threaten Israel, and they could disrupt vital systems such as electricity, water and communications, cause damage to civilian and military airports, and severely harm the civilian population – an intolerable and unacceptable situation.

Israel’s most dangerous enemy on our borders is Hezbollah, which possesses a stockpile of 120,000 to 150,000 precise missiles and imprecise rockets, and it can launch hundreds of missiles and rockets every day against civilian and military targets in Israel.

It is time, I believe, to plan a preemptive strike against Hezbollah, initiated by Israel at the right time. For this purpose, Israel must arm itself with a large amount of precise surface-to-surface missiles, which will destroy Hezbollah’s mid- and long-range missiles and rockets that are especially dangerous to us.

Despite the IDF’s strength, and its clear advantage over its enemies, this does not guarantee that war will be prevented.

The reasons why war could break out with Hezbollah, despite the organization knowing that it would suffer quite a blow from us (and all of Lebanon with it) are various and many: 

  • an order from Iran, of which Hezbollah is a proxy, that Hezbollah could not refuse
  • misguided judgment of its leader, as happened to Nasrallah in the Second Lebanon War (a mistake he admitted to)
  • internal reasons – a struggle over the organization’s status within Lebanon, and social considerations (such as the Arab Spring).

In one of the most important turning points in the Second World War, just before the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese officers declared (following the oil and raw materials embargo placed by the Americans) that “it is better to die than suffer humiliation.” 

When Sadat declared in 1972 as the decisive year, for which he would be willing to sacrifice million soldiers, senior officials in Israel, including prominent experts on Middle Eastern affairs, claimed that this was “eastern exaggeration.” As a known saying goes: “The Arab man will even forgive betrayal, but he will not forgive humiliation.”

One of the conclusions from the Yom Kippur War is that we should internalize and remember that he who attacks first has an advantage and influence on the results of the war. We also need to take into account that there will be no warning before a war breaks out with Hezbollah, since the time between the order being given and the launching of hundreds of mid- and long-range missiles against Israel will be very short.

IN ORDER to plan a pre-emptive strike against Hezbollah, initiated by us at the right time, I suggest purchasing and setting up a system of precise surface-to-surface missiles (SSMs), that will allow us to destroy Hezbollah’s missiles and rockets (at ranges of 400-600 km.), from the land and sea, assisted by precise artillery. 

What remains is to purchase enough such missiles, that exist and are produced in Israel (not at the expense of the air force’s budget) which will allow a quick response to any kind of provocation. Operating precise SSMs as well as other means, aimed in advance at identified targets in Lebanon, using an efficient command and control system will enable a fast, deadly and effective counter-attack.

I am afraid the US will leave us to fend for ourselves against Iran and we would have to operate on four or five fronts at the same time: Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, intifada in Judea and Samaria, and Israeli-Arabs.

A preemptive strike related to the timing of the attack on Iran using SSMs could free up the air force from handling this harsh front, and will allow it to focus on attacking targets in Iran and protecting the country’s skies. 

I want to send a warning about the need to allot a large budget for the purchase of these missiles. Part of this budget should be directed to means for fast detection and location of rockets and missiles, and for command and control systems.

I oppose the use of large ground forces against Hezbollah in Lebanon, due to the heavy losses our forces would suffer (as well as the civilian population in Lebanon). As a technological country, we have better, faster and deadlier tools to handle Hezbollah, rather than a large-scale and bloody ground assault.

In addition, I estimate that ground forces will be necessary for missions that are just as important. They will be required to defend Israel’s borders with Lebanon and Syria, against infiltration attempts by Hezbollah commando forces trying to attack our settlements in the north; quell the intifada – if one breaks out – in the Judea and Samaria area and in Israel; act against Hamas in Gaza; and reinforce the civilian and home front defense. 

In addition, preparations will be made to temporarily evacuate civilians who live in the settlements near the fence, about five km. from the Lebanese border, since neutralizing the mobile short-range rockets and mortars would be more complicated otherwise.

The writer is a former IDF intelligence officer and widely known as the inventor of the first drone in Israel. [email protected]