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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Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

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

Israel Should Try to Defang Hamas without Toppling It

Feb. 22 2019

For the time being, Hamas has chosen to avoid outright war with the Jewish state, but instead to apply sustained, low-intensity pressure through its weekly border riots and organizing terrorist cells in the West Bank. Yet it is simultaneously engaged in a major military build-up, which suggests that it has not entirely been deterred by the previous three Gaza wars. Yaakov Lappin considers Jerusalem’s options:

In recent years, the Israel Defense Force’s southern command, which is responsible for much of the war planning for Gaza, identified a long-term truce as the best of bad options for Israel. This is based on the understanding that an Israeli invasion of Gaza and subsequent destruction of the Hamas regime would leave Israel in the unenviable position of being directly in charge of some two-million mostly hostile Gazans. This could lead to an open-ended and draining military occupation. . . .

Alternatively, Israel could demolish the Hamas regime and leave Gaza, putting it on a fast track to a “Somalia model” of anarchy and violence. In that scenario, . . . multiple jihadist armed gangs lacking a central ruling structure would appear, and Israel would be unable to project its military might to any single “return address” in Gaza. This would result in a loss of Israel’s deterrent force on Gaza to keep the region calm. This scenario would be considerably worse than the current status quo.

But a third option, in between the options of leaving Gaza as it is and toppling Hamas in a future war, may exist. In this scenario, the IDF would decimate Hamas’s military wing in any future conflict but leave its political wing and police force in place. This would enable a rapid Israeli exit after a war, but avoid a Somalia-like fate for Gaza with its destructive implications for both Israelis and Gazans. . . .

On the one hand, Hamas’s police force is an intrinsic support system for Gaza’s terrorist-guerrilla forces. On the other hand, the police and domestic-security units play a genuine role in keeping order. Such forces have been used to repress Islamic State-affiliated cells that challenge Hamas’s rule. . . . Compared to the alternative scenarios of indefinite occupation or the “Somalia scenario,” a weakened Hamas might be the best and most realistic option.

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More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security