Screenshot from Israel’s Channel 2 showing potential Hezbollah rocket fire on Israel

The Times of Israel has reported that just 10 days after a ceasefire ended a 50-day Israel-Hamas conflict, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) is “making plans and training” for “a very violent war” against Hezbollah in south Lebanon. An Israeli Channel 2 report, however, did not specify when this war might break out.

The report, for which the Army gave Israel’s Channel 2 access to several of its positions along the border with Lebanon, featured an IDF brigade commander’s warning. Col. Dan Goldfus, commander of the 769th Hiram Infantry Brigade, said that such a conflict “will be a whole different story” from the Israel-Hamas conflict in which over 2,000 Gazans (half of them gunmen, according to Israel) and 72 Israelis were killed. “We will have to use considerable force” to quickly prevail over the Iranian-backed Hezbollah, “to act more decisively, more drastically,” said Col. Goldfus.

Hezbollah reportedly has an estimated 100,000 rockets — 10 times as many as the Hamas arsenal. Its 5,000 long-range missiles, located in Beirut and other areas deep inside Lebanon, are capable of carrying large warheads (of up to 1 ton and more), with precision guidance systems, covering potentially all of Israel.

Israel’s Iron Dome rocket defense system would not be able to cope with that kind of challenge, and thus the IDF would have to “maneuver fast” and act forcefully to prevail decisively in the conflict, according to Goldfus.

Furthermore, he said it might be necessary to evacuate the civilian residents of the area. “Hezbollah will not conquer the Galilee (in northern Israel),” the officer said, “and I won’t let it hurt our civilians.”

Anyone who thought Hezbollah was in difficulties because it has sustained losses fighting with President Bashar Assad in Syria is mistaken, according to Goldfus. Hezbollah has now accumulated three years of battlefield experience, and has greater military capabilities and considerable confidence as a consequence.

According to the Channel 2 report, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in 2012 that, in a future war against Hezbollah, Israel would have to hit homes in villages across southern Lebanon from which Hezbollah would seek to launch rockets into Israel.

As with Hamas in Gaza, there were concerns that Hezbollah has been tunneling under the Israeli border ahead of planned attacks. A deputy local council chief, Yossi Adoni of the Ma’aleh Yosef Council, said dozens of border-area residents have reported the sounds of tunneling under their homes since 2006 — when Israel and Hezbollah fought a bitter conflict known as the Second Lebanon War. “We are absolutely certain there are cross-border tunnels,” Adoni said.

Therefore Goldfus described the tunnel threat as “one more concern… If in Gaza there were tunnels, it stands to reason that it’s possible here too.” Israel’s launched a ground offensive in Gaza in mid-July to destroy some 30 Hamas tunnels dug under the border; 11 IDF soldiers were killed during the Israel-Hamas war by gunmen emerging from the tunnels inside Israel.

In Israel’s 2006 war, Hezbollah’s rockets did not reach far into Israel, and they were poorly aimed. The same was true of Hamas’s rockets in the Gaza war. But today Hezbollah has an estimated 100,000 rockets and missiles, many with precision guidance systems and large warheads, able to target all of Israel.

In the 2006 war, Israel targeted Lebanon’s infrastructure, in order to inhibit the transportation of weapons. In a new war, Israel would target homes in villages across Lebanon from which Hezbollah is launching rockets into Israel. Israel received a great deal of international condemnation for those actions in the Gaza war, and they would be stepped up in a new war with Hezbollah. In addition, it’s believed that Hezbollah has build tunnels that travel from homes in Lebanon deep into Israel, and these tunnels would be targeted.

There’s a real question whether Hezbollah’s puppetmaster, Iran, would hold Hezbollah back from this war. Despite anti-Zionist rhetoric, Iran has little to gain from a Hezbollah attack on Israel, and Israel could retaliate by carrying out its long-time threat to bomb Iran’s nuclear installations. 

Intercessors, pray: Psalm 124 A song of ascents. Of David.

1 If the Lord had not been on our side— let Israel say—
2 if the Lord had not been on our side when people attacked us,
3 they would have swallowed us alive when their anger flared against us;
4 the flood would have engulfed us, the torrent would have swept over us,
5 the raging waters  would have swept us away.

6 Praise be to the Lord,  who has not let us be torn by their teeth.

7 We have escaped like a bird from the fowler’s snare; the snare has been broken, and we have escaped.

8 Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.