16 LUGLIO 2017
Israel – Hezbollah: Close to a new conflict?_The times of Israel
DI Vanessa Tomassini_The times of Israel

After the vicissitudes with UNESCO, if Netanyahu reacts to Hezbollah’s missile threat what will the international public opinion think?

Talking about Israel, it has always been a matter of global discussions. Starting from the territorial aspect where many, especially in the Arab world, shout at the illegitimacy of the state of Israel, sometimes mounting a chain of pro-Palestinian lies.

In the endless debate between Israel and Palestine, we lacked only UNESCO, which, with its resolution of 9 July, recognized the old city of Hebron in the West Bank as a Palestinian world heritage. The decision made Netanyahu furious, for the old city does not only include the Ibrahim Mosque, sacred to the Muslims, but also the Tomb of the Patriarchs, a symbol of the genesis of Judaism. Leaving aside denials theories of Holocaust or eternal debate on who is occupied and those occupying, Israeli international diplomacy now must focus on something far more worrying: Hezbollah.

Hezbollah was born in 1982 as a militia during the conflict in southern Lebanon in the late 1980s, its leaders are inspired by Ayatollah Khomeini, a fundamentalist Persian approach. Hezbollah is also Iran’s proxy, designated as a terrorist organization by the United States, the EU, the Arab League, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Israel, and most Western countries. Hezbollah chiefs today are Hassan Nasrallah, who came to power after the killing of his predecessor by Israeli hand.

Several times Hezbollah and its leaders have stressed that it is ‘mandatory and necessary for Muslims to attack and destroy Israel’. To the threats, the Israeli aviation commander, Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel: “What we could do in 34 days during the Second Lebanon war, now we can do it in 48 hours.” However, in addition to strengthening the missile network, Hezbollah has learned from Hamas the use of human shields, so an Israeli reaction would cause tens of thousands of deaths among Lebanese civilians. Dead people who would certainly not have good eyesight from international public opinion, rather they would increase the files of pro-Palestinian supporters. In the past, Hezbollah’s exponents had made numerous appeals for Israel’s destruction, called ‘Zionist entity, set up on the lands torn to their Palestinian owners’, throwing gas on fire in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that this year just entered its fiftieth year After the six-day war. Being difficult to find neutral Middle Eastern experts, we chose to talk with Francesco Tosato, Senior Analyst of Military Affairs Desk at the International Studies Center (Ce.S.I.), in Rome.

In addition to the traditional military experience gained in the Syrian civil war, Hezbollah has many advanced rockets today. Hezbollah’s goal in a near-conflict with Israel is to launch 1,000 rockets per day. Is this a real and imminent threat to Israel’s citizens?

Hezbollah has tens of thousands of full-range rockets capable of reaching the territory of Israel not only from Lebanon but also from Syria. However, this is not a new or unexpected threat to Israel that, in the wake of war, has developed an overall anti-missile strategy based on both anti-rocket and anti-missile defense systems – the most famous is the Iron-Dome – to protect their cities; Both on raids of the Israeli Air Force, Special Forces, and Army Armor Attacks to destroy Hezbollah’s deposit and launch sites. First days could be difficult for Israel, but then the Israeli air force’s rule of air would greatly reduce the threat posed by Hezbollah rockets and missiles. What must be stressed is that Hezbollah has also greatly improved its conventional ground fighting capabilities after years of war in Syria, so it remains a fearsome enemy to face. Hence, the conventional units of the Israeli army would face better trained, armed, and even more determined Hezbollah militias than those already in 2006 proved to be quite difficult to fight.

Speaking of improving ground fighting skills, Hezbollah will surely have learned from Hamas, the use of human shields. An attack by Israel how could be seen by international public opinion?

It depends on who first attacks. If Israeli cities are invested by a raid of rockets from Lebanon, Israel as any other state in the world enjoys the right of self-defense. In the case of human shields, I’m a bit skeptical … Hezbollah in Lebanon is also a party and, we must not forget it, enjoys the support of a part of the population. An account is hiding weapons in civilian areas to protect them from bombing (it’s a strategy that has always existed) Another thing is placing civilians as shields in defense of missile ramps or weapon systems that will be attacked as legitimate targets. This is not only contrary to the Geneva Conventions, for the little that he can count on, but would put Hezbollah in difficulty with his own electoral base

Your statement ‘depends on who first attacks’ does not believe it is a tactics designed at the table to let Israel go like the ‘bad’? Defense strategies are not enough to threaten, or depends on what the threatened state is?

My statement “depends on who first attacks” is related to the concept that Israel will enjoy international understanding depending on the circumstances. If it is to be the victim of a large-scale attack by Hezbollah in its cities it will have the right to defend itself and the International Community will be at its side. Regardless of civilian casualties, unfortunately in the modernly heavily urbanized battlefields, civilians are always paying a high price, even though the Western and even Israeli armed forces seek to minimize losses through a mix of advanced technology and rules of Restrictive engagement.


In the case of war, which scenarios can be hypothesized?

About scenarios, I prefer to stick to the current situation. Currently, Hezbollah as Iran’s proxy is heavily involved in Syria, where he has had serious losses. Opening a second front now with a stronger and highly determined opponent as Israel would be extremely dangerous for Hezbollah’s own survival. That is why I believe that we will go to skirmishes because Hezbollah and Iran are focused on securing their areas of influence in Syria. Israel, for its part, will continue to hit the loads of sophisticated weapons that from Syria move to Lebanon or the areas under Hezbollah control. It is a precarious balance based on mutual deterrence, which seems to be convenient to both the militia of the Party of God and the Israeli government.

In any case, public opinion plays a key role, perhaps as never. Palestinians and Lebanese continue to post on social photos of dead children under construction rubble or even entire villages, shouting ‘assassins’ to Israel and its allies on the front pages of newspapers. On the other hand, Gabriel Rosenberg, a member of the Jewish Diplomatic Corps and of the Zionist Federation in Sweden in a local newspaper, warns: “There is no moral equivalence between Israel, a Western-style liberal democracy and Hezbollah, a radical Islamic terrorist organization like Islamic State (IS). Hezbollah not only threatens Israel but is part of the Islamic terrorist radical threat against the West and the whole world. Hezbollah and Iran will be responsible for the war and all Lebanese and Israeli civilian casualties. Hezbollah intentionally uses human shields to complicate the operations of Israeli Defense Forces, a practice that will lead to other Israeli military and civil victims and maximize Lebanese civilian casualties, under the hypothesis that the international community will punish Israel. Also, if successful, it only encourages other terrorist organizations to use the same method against the West. “

 

Fonte: The Times of Israel