The cost of Hezbollah hiding its weaponry among civilians, but why the slew of warnings now?
We know that media outrage and exaggeration, combined with biased anti-Israel Non-Governmental Organizations and U.N. agencies, form a strategic asset for terrorist groups like Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon.
The international reaction to Israeli self-defense measures ignores actual international legal standards, and substitutes completely politicized measures, such as “disproportionality.” That term does not mean that one side suffers more than the other in a war; rather it is a case by case measure of whether the threat to innocent civilians in a particular military strike is disproportionate to the military value to be achieved.
Israel goes to extraordinary measures to comply with the laws of war, but it doesn’t matter to the media and the anti-Israel propaganda machine.
Hamas and Hezbollah deliberately store and fire rockets from civilian areas for this very reason.
A little over a year ago we wrote how Israel preps media battlefield for next Hezbollah war to try to deal with this problem:
The goal is to hamstring Israel in the next round of fighting, and to level the battlefield … Israel is understands this as well, and has taken to the media preemptively disclosing how Hezbollah in Lebanon is embedding its military machine in the villages near the Israeli border. (See my account of one such village from my 2013 trip to Israel, Metula and the fake Hezbollah village.)
The NY Times reported at the time, Israel Says Hezbollah Positions Put Lebanese at Risk:
As Israel prepares for what it sees as an almost inevitable next battle with Hezbollah, the Shiite Lebanese organization that fought a monthlong war against Israel in 2006, Israeli military officials and experts are warning that the group has done more than significantly build up its firepower since then.
Maps and aerial photography provided to The New York Times by Israeli military officials this week illustrate, they say, that Hezbollah has moved most of its military infrastructure into the Shiite villages of southern Lebanon and around their perimeters. Israel says this amounts to using the civilians as a human shield….
Effectively, the Israelis are warning that in the event of another conflict with Hezbollah, many Lebanese civilians will probably be killed, and that it should not be considered Israel’s fault….
Israel says the situation is similar in the Gaza Strip, where, it says, Hamas is using the same tactic of hiding its forces among civilians.
“Historically, armed forces have separated themselves from the population, in uniform,” the senior Israeli military official said. “This is not the case here or in Gaza.” He accused Hezbollah of cynically using civilians.
Israel also seems to be trying to pre-empt or deflect the inevitable international censure that comes with civilian casualties.
Israel currently is on another international education mission, giving briefings to media and issuing threat assessments in speeches.
Perhaps the most impressive account is in The Weekly Standard, Missiles Everywhere. The author, Willy Stern, spent considerable time embedded with the Israeli military , and starts by sizing up Hezbollah’s arsenal:
Hezbollah has a nasty collection of more than 130,000 rockets, missiles, and mortars aimed at Israel. This is a bigger arsenal than all NATO countries (except the United States) combined. Why, a reasonable person might wonder, does Hezbollah need an offensive arsenal bigger than that of all Western Europe? …
In Hezbollah’s arsenal are about 700 long-range, high-payload rockets and missiles with names like Fateh-110 and Scud D. They are capable of taking down entire buildings in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, wreaking havoc at Israel’s major military bases, killing thousands of Israeli civilians, shutting down the nation’s airports and ports, and taking out the electric grid. And that’s just in the first week.
Former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) major general Yaakov Amidror is talking about the M-600 missile. It’s a fairly accurate ballistic missile that weighs more than a Hummer H2 and carries a formidable warhead. The M-600 can also deliver chemical weapons. A single M-600 could wipe out a good chunk of Times Square and maim and kill people four football fields away from the point of impact. Hezbollah has a lot of M-600s.
Since the missiles are stored and will be fired from civilian areas, therein lies the dilemma, Stern writes:
“We have just minutes to act,” explains Amidror. “The IDF will have to take out the launcher because the next missile can cause enormous damage in Israel. But to take out the launcher means the 22-story building may fall. We would try to use precision-guided missiles to protect civilians but the target is hard to reach. We will try to warn the residents but the timing is tight. That building will almost certainly be hit. And the images in the international media will almost certainly be awful.” But, asks Amidror, today a senior fellow at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, “What alternative do we have?”
No good one, since the building in the scenario described would be a legitimate military target. So say a bevy of international military law experts, including Geoff Corn of the South Texas College of Law in Houston, who has studied IDF targeting policies….
Professor Corn is well aware of what will happen next. “The international community will look at the images and will note that the immediate cause of destruction was Israeli munitions. But—and here is the kicker—both legally and morally, the cause of these tragic consequences will lie solely at the feet of Hezbollah.”
Read the whole article, it details what a war may look like from the Israeli civilian side, and why Israel will have no military choice but to attack seemingly civilian targets behind which Hezbollah hides.
Other present or former Israeli officials have been giving briefings, as well. The Times of Israel reports, Intelligence minister warns ‘megalomanic’ Hezbollah chief:
Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz launched a scathing attack on the Hezbollah terror group’s leader, calling Hassan Nasrallah a “megalomaniac” with no concept of reality and warning that Lebanon would be “ruined” in a future conflict between the IDF and Hezbollah….
But Katz said that it is Israel’s northern neighbor and the Hezbollah leader who had the most to lose in a conflict with Israel.
“A war in Lebanon and an attack on the Israeli home front will bring about the ousting of Nasrallah and will bring ruin to Lebanon,” he predicted.
Further warning was issued by Israel’s Military Intelligence Chief, as reported in Haaretz:
Military Intelligence chief Herzl Halevi said Wednesday that another war with Lebanon’s Hezbollah would be much harsher for the home fronts on both sides.
“If there is another war, Israel will recover and rebuild,” Halevi said at the annual Herzliya Conference at the IDC Herzliya.
“We are a strong society, an advanced society. Lebanon will become a country of refugees that will have difficultly recovering, and Hezbollah will lose its political support base.”
Why all these public warnings now?
Perhaps it’s the approach of the hot summer season, when at least on the southern border with Hamas conflict tends to break out.
Perhaps it’s that Hezbollah has suffered the assassination of numerous military leaders — at least some blamed on Israel — and has yet to take serious retaliation. It takes just a spark, as in the 2006 war which was caused by a Hezbollah border ambush.
Perhaps it’s that Hezbollah is under intense international pressure from the Sunni Arab countries and the U.S. Treasury, which is severely damaging Hezbollah’s financial status.
Perhaps it’s that Hezbollah is bleeding in Syria, losing over one thousand fighters and many commanders. Its Iranian masters may be looking for an international distraction.
Perhaps the Israelis know something we don’t.DONATE
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