ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 148

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Hanegbi indicates war against Hezbollah likely after defeat of Hamas

Smoke rises in southern Lebanon after IDF strikes targets in the country following Hezbollah attacks on Israel, November 23, 2023. (Ayal Margolin/Flash90)
Smoke rises in southern Lebanon after IDF strikes targets in the country following Hezbollah attacks on Israel, November 23, 2023. (Ayal Margolin/Flash90)

National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi indicates that intensified IDF action on the northern border is likely, though preferably not in parallel with the fighting in the Gaza Strip.

“Residents will not return [to the north] if we don’t do the same thing” in the north against Hezbollah, as we are doing in the south against Hamas, he tells Channel 12 news.

“We can no longer accept [Hezbollah’s elite] Radwan force sitting on the border. We can no longer accept Resolution 1701 not being implemented,” he adds, referring to a UN Security Council resolution from 2006 that barred any Hezbollah presence within almost 30 kilometers of the border with Israel.

Asked directly if there will be a war in the north, he says: “The situation in the north must be changed. And it will change. If Hezbollah agrees to change things via diplomacy, very good. But I don’t believe it will.”

And therefore, he says, “when the day comes,” Israel will have to act to ensure that residents of the north are no longer “displaced in their land, and to guarantee for them that the situation in the north has changed.”

He notes that lots of countries have missiles pointed at Israel, including Iran, Syria and Iraq, “and Israel doesn’t invade them.” The fear regarding Hezbollah’s Radwan force is that “within minutes” it could cross the border and begin a murderous rampage in northern communities, like Hamas did in the south on October 7. Israel cannot tolerate this threat any longer, he says.

He says Israel does not want to fight simultaneously on two fronts. “We are making clear to the Americans that we are not interested in war [in the north], but that we will have no alternative but to impose a new reality in the north” if Hezbollah remains a dangerous threat on the other side of the border.

If the international community does not deal with the threat posed by the Houthis in Yemen, he also says, without elaboration, “Israel will act.”

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