Hizballah’s Plan for a Subterranean Attack on Israel

On Tuesday, the IDF announced that it had located and destroyed a tunnel dug by Hizballah operatives under Israeli territory, intended to move troops from Lebanon to behind Israeli lines. Israel has also initiated a major operation to destroy or plug up a network of similar tunnels. Shimon Shapira explains:

One of the main lessons Hizballah learned from the Second Lebanon War in 2006 was the necessity of changing the aims of its next war with Israel. The new goals included building up its defensive capabilities and developing methods of attack that would allow Hizballah to bring the war to Israeli territory. Hizballah’s military commander [at the time], Imad Mughniyeh, led this process of integrating these lessons. [Mughniyeh was assassinated by the CIA in 2008.] He asserted that during the next war, Hizballah would invade the northern Israeli Galilee region and conquer it, [giving its forces] topographical superiority in comparison with Israel’s inferior topographical positions near the border.

The tunnels, [unlike those dug by Hamas near the Gaza Strip], are intended for the movement of several hundred fighters, not to abduct soldiers or civilians. . . .

Hizballah’s operational plan also includes the construction of facilities to launch massive missile attacks on population centers and strategic sites around Haifa in the north, Tel Aviv in the center, and Dimona in the south. . . . From Hizballah’s perspective, the aerial attacks would attract the entire attention of Israel’s military, thereby simultaneously enabling Hizballah to activate its plan for “the conquest of the Galilee” using its special forces.

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More about: Galilee, Hizballah, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Lebanon

No, Israelis and Palestinians Can’t Simply Sit Down and Solve the “Israel-Palestinian Conflict”

Jan. 17 2019

By “zooming out” from the blinkered perspective with which most Westerners see the affairs of the Jewish state, argues Matti Friedman, one can begin to see things the way Israelis do:

Many [in Israel] believe that an agreement signed by a Western-backed Palestinian leader in the West Bank won’t end the conflict, because it will wind up creating not a state but a power vacuum destined to be filled by intra-Muslim chaos, or Iranian proxies, or some combination of both. That’s exactly what has happened . . . in Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq. One of Israel’s nightmares is that the fragile monarchy in Jordan could follow its neighbors . . . into dissolution and into Iran’s orbit, which would mean that if Israel doesn’t hold the West Bank, an Iranian tank will be able to drive directly from Tehran to the outskirts of Tel Aviv. . . .

In the “Israeli-Palestinian” framing, with all other regional components obscured, an Israeli withdrawal in the West Bank seems like a good idea—“like a real-estate deal,” in President Trump’s formulation—if not a moral imperative. And if the regional context were peace, as it was in Northern Ireland, for example, a power vacuum could indeed be filled by calm.

But anyone using a wider lens sees that the actual context here is a complex, multifaceted war, or a set of linked wars, devastating this part of the world. The scope of this conflict is hard to grasp in fragmented news reports but easy to see if you pull out a map and look at Israel’s surroundings, from Libya through Syria and Iraq to Yemen.

The fault lines have little to do with Israel. They run between dictators and the people they’ve been oppressing for generations; between progressives and medievalists; between Sunnis and Shiites; between majority populations and minorities. If [Israel’s] small sub-war were somehow resolved, or even if Israel vanished tonight, the Middle East would remain the same volatile place it is now.

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More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israel & Zionism, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Middle East