Israel SecDef Points to Gaza Ruins, Warns Hezbollah: This Could Be Beirut

Yoav Gallant in Gaza (Shachar Yurman GPO)
Shachar Yurman GPO

Israeli defense minister Yoav Gallant personally visited the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun, which has been wrecked by fighting between Israel and Hamas terrorists, and issued a pointed warning to Hezbollah in Lebanon: this could be Beirut.

Gallant has made the threat before, but this time he did so with the backdrop of ruins behind him, so that the Iranian-backed terror organization that has been shelling Israel for more than two months, without provocation, would finally get the message.

In recent days, both pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel social media accounts have been sharing videos and photos of the devastation — the Palestinian side to paint Israel as destructive, the Israeli side to warn terrorists of the consequences of their actions.

While the Israeli Air Force (IAF) launched intense attacks on targets in northern Gaza in the early weeks of the war, much of the recent damage has been caused by fighting on the ground, as Israel Defense Forces (IDF) troops have destroyed buildings used by Hamas to launch rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) or to place snipers.

In a statement, Gallant said Saturday (via Government Press Office translation):

“Every building from where shootings or launches are conducted, and every source of terrorism, must be taken down so that the residents of Sderot [Israel’s south], may return home in peace, knowing that threatening infrastructure no longer stands.”

Speaking directly to the troops he said: “What you are doing here is shown in all of Gaza – I am sure that Sinwar is sitting in his bunker, watching TV – so he sees what Beit Hanoun and Shuja’iyya look like. This is also true for the Hamas commanders who are fighting our troops in Khan Younis – they understand how the story of the Beit Hanoun battalion ends. These images reverberate in the entire region.”

“There should be a price for those who attack the State of Israel and those who commit the brutal murder of civilians, women, and children – we must eliminate them. This reflects in the entire reigon because everyone can use ‘Google Maps’ and imagine what may happen in Beirut.”

Minister Benny Gantz, a former defense minister and chief of staff of the IDF, whose Blue and White opposition party is part of the emergency government of national unity, accompanied Gallant, and told the troops: “I want to thank you on behalf of the citizens of Israel. This campaign is one of the most important that the State of Israel has ever conducted – it serves both the residents of the south and radiates to other arenas. I am sure that [Hezbollah leader Hassan] Nasrallah is looking at what is happening here and he does not want it to happen in his area.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denied Sunday that Israel had held back from attacking Hezbollah on October 7 because of pressure from the U.S. It had previously been reported that Gallant wanted to attack Hezbollah but that Netanyahu overruled him.

Hezbollah has fired sporadically at Israel throughout the war since October 7, killing eight IDF soldiers and four Israeli civilians in what has otherwise been merely a symbolic show of support for Hamas. Israel has fired back, killing over 100 Hezbollah fighters, but has not escalated the war.

It is unknown why Hezbollah has not acted more forcefully. The U.S. dispatched two aircraft carriers to the region after the war began, partly to deter Iran from allowing Hezbollah to open a northern front — though Hezbollah says it would have been willing to do so.

In a chilling column recently at the Jewish News Syndicate, columnist Caroline Glick opined that had Hezbollah opened fire with its full arsenal on northern Israel on October 7, as Hamas attacked Israel’s south, the combined attack could have overwhelmed Israel’s air defenses and taken advantage of a thin ground force.

She wrote: “A combination of Hezbollah’s 10,000-man Radwan Brigades perched at the border and capable of invading the Galilee, and a barrage of up to 4,000 missiles with various payloads targeting Israel’s air bases, and other strategic sites and civilian population centers every day for weeks, would have caused irreparable damage equal in force to a nuclear bomb.”

It is possible that Hezbollah simply did not anticipate the success of Hamas’s ground attack, or that it wanted to protect its own natural gas interests in the Mediterranean, secured in a controversial agreement between Lebanon and Israel in 2022.

Regardless, it is now clear that Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas — which broke off hostage negotiations last week — understand that Israel is serious about victory in Gaza.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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