A former high ranking Israeli official said that Israel is likely to go to war in Lebanon again, but this time it should target the entire country, not just Hezbollah.
In an oped published Wednesday on the Israeli website Ynet, Major-General (res.) Giora Eiland stated that even though the assassination of Samir Kuntar is not enough to trigger a third Lebanon war, the cycle of response and counter-response may indeed lead to war between the two countries.
The writer, who is a former head of Israel’s National Security Council, asserts that if this turns out to be the case, Israel mustn’t stop at targeting only Hezbollah, but rather all of Lebanon in order to generate international pressure that will ensure a quick end to the fighting.
“If and when hostile activities begin from Lebanese territory, they should lead to a war between the State of Israel and the state of Lebanon. In the second Lebanon War we tried to defeat Hezbollah alone, leaving the state of Lebanon, its government, army, and infrastructure ‘out of the game.’ If that’s the way we run the third Lebanon war, the results will be a lot grimmer than in the previous war,” writes Eiland.
Hezbollah’s tactical and rocket capabilities have vastly improved – more so than Israel’s – since the last war in 2006. This would mean that the damage to Israel would be, in Eiland’s estimation, “unbearable.”
Consequently, Eiland concludes that in addition to Hezbollah targets, Israel should also attack the Lebanese army, infrastructure, airports, seaports, and any other strategic assets. The reason being that global pressure would be immediate, demanding a ceasefire within a matter of days – something that is in Israel’s favor.
Eiland further stresses that it is incumbent upon Israel to announce its plans to target all of Lebanon in advance – especially to the US – and not repeat the mistake of 2006 when it waited until the war had started.
“There will be a double benefit here,” writes Eiland. “First of all, it will make it possible to prevent the war, as the majority of the world is indifferent to any damage to Hezbollah (or to Israel), but will not be indifferent to the possibility of Lebanon’s destruction; secondly, when a war breaks out, it’s too late to convince the world that the way you chose to fight is the right one.”