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Israel Taking Necessary Safety Preparations Ahead of Potential War with Hezbollah

IDF soldiers near the Israeli border with Lebanon, northern Israel. David Cohen/Flash90
IDF soldiers near the Israeli border with Lebanon, northern Israel. David Cohen/Flash90

New reports suggest that the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) Home Front Command has swiftly progressed in its plans to designate large bomb shelters in northern Israel, establishing numerous sites in underground parking lots, and preparing to the imminent risk of an escalate and all-out conflict with Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Ynet, a major Israeli news outlet, reported that the IDF acquired 80,000 food packages for distribution during wartime as part of an operation, emphasizing the magnitude of the threat. Officials say emergency shelters play a critical role for residents residing in older buildings without fortified areas, providing a safe haven that can support them for several days if required.

"According to our strategic assessment, it is almost certain that Israeli forces will continue pressing on Hamas until they reach the Egyptian border, despite the various human rights initiatives, including the one launched by the United States, said Walid Phares, author and foreign policy expert on Newsmax TV.

"As a result, the Iranian Revolutionary Command in Tehran is contemplating using the other militias as a way to spread chaos in the region to force the international community to pressure Israel to stop and create a ceasefire. In view of the fact that the Israeli government and the public are not convinced that a ceasefire is possible before the military end of Hamas, this situation is most likely going to force the Iranian regime to open other fronts," he added.

According to Phares, the two other fronts that can be opened by Tehran are Syria and Lebanon.

"The largest force that can confront or attack Israel happens to be Hezbollah out of Lebanon. The Israelis know that; this is why it is also clear that Israel is preparing itself for the eventuality of an offensive coming from Hezbollah, comparable if not necessarily similar to Hamas’s attack because surprise attacks at this point in time are difficult to launch," he told The Foreign Desk.

According to the report, a military strategy will be put into action in central Israel if there's a conflict with Hezbollah or a much bigger regional war.

The IDF predicts that Israel could face daily barrages of thousands of rockets and missiles during such a full-scale war. For several weeks, Israel's security forces and emergency services have been diligently enhancing their preparedness for a potential large-scale conflict. The IDF has increased troop deployment in the northern regions and ramped up training activities.

"Israel is already at war; the only fact that we can read now is if Iran cannot stop Israel from crushing Hamas, it will launch Hezbollah. Israel knows it and therefore, is preparing for an offensive against Hezbollah. The question is, what do we expect," Phares explained.

Phares explained to The Foreign Desk that Hezbollah would not launch an offensive against Northern Israel without a full green light and approval from Tehran.

"The coordination between Hezbollah, other militias, and Tehran is comprehensive, contrary to claims by some sources in Washington suggesting that Hezbollah would negotiate an attack against Israel with Iran. This is not the case; Iran will essentially direct Hezbollah as the chief orchestrator for the five militias in the region in any confrontation with the U.S. and Israel," he said.

The Israeli government is taking measures to prepare hospitals to handle the demands of wartime conditions and to handle large numbers of injured individuals. According to a report from Channel 13, an Israeli news channel, the military is making progress on plans for a ground operation in Lebanon. IDF Chief Halevi has assigned Brigadier General Moshe "Chiko" Tamir to create a strategic plan for a military offensive against Hezbollah.

"Any hostilities would commence with an Israeli response to Hezbollah. This response essentially offers two options: either a massive air campaign throughout Lebanon targeting Hezbollah positions and allied militias or an air campaign accompanied by a limited ground incursion, a strategy previously employed in 1 978, 1982 and again in 2006," Phares said.

"The ground campaign would aim to push Hezbollah's lines deeper into Lebanon and establish a buffer zone. This time, Hezbollah has not only constructed fortifications and tunnels in Southern Lebanon but also expanded operations across the Beqaa Valley and, for the first time in modern history, into Mount Lebanon, inhabited by Druze and Christians. Consequently, Israel must consider the possibility that the battlefield may extend from the South all the way to the critical area in Lebanon known as Mount Lebanon," Phares explained to The Foreign Desk.

"In my view, the next challenge for Israel fighting Hezbollah is to learn from past wars, absorb, and react to the new reality. Hezbollah controls Lebanon very tightly but is also deeply deployed in Sunni, Druze, and Christian areas. Those communities are essentially anti-Hezbollah and are trying at this time to remain neutral in a war between Hezbollah and Israel. The narrative, word-wise, especially in the West, has been that this upcoming war is between Israel and Lebanon; in fact, it is between Israel and Hezbollah, which controls Lebanon. Hence, there are many questions that could be raised," Phares explained.

General Tamir took on a pivotal role in strategizing the IDF's entrance into Gaza. With extensive experience and profound insight, this seasoned officer's contributions are invaluable. He previously held the position of deputy chief in the Northern Command, granting him intimate knowledge of the complexities presented by Hezbollah.

Israeli military authorities have also sought to minimize civilian casualties in Lebanon in the event of a conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. Through social media, Avichay Adraee, the IDF's spokesperson for Arabic Media, suggested that Lebanese citizens worried about potential hostilities between Hezbollah and Israel cooperate with the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad.

"Recently, I received many messages from Lebanese citizens, including even those who identified themselves as Hezbollah operatives, who expressed their fear that Hezbollah would bring Lebanon to a fate similar to Gaza, following the path of ISIS and Hamas, and requested to establish communication with Israeli parties," Adraee said on X.

According to Phares, if the operation is limited, it will only cover areas where Hezbollah has popular bases, and that will be along the border with Israel.

“From what we understand, the bulk of these communities want to maintain their neutrality in the fight between Hezbollah and Israel, and some voices have already spoken about a special free zone in Lebanon, which would actually be a neutral zone not involved in the war," he said.

The problem, according to Phares, is that Hezbollah is and will be deployed in any area of its choice because nobody can stop them.

"Unfortunately, as I have repeatedly emphasized, I am not the authorized body for this, and therefore, I cannot provide you with direct solutions, but I can direct you to the Mossad's Facebook page - noting the presence of the blue verification mark that shows the page's credibility - where you may find the most appropriate way to improve your situation," Adraee added. "I understand your desire for a better situation for your country, and I wish you all a better future and life," he said on X.

Israel's Northern Command Chief, Ori Gordin, is also involved in discussions with local security officers in the northern region regarding preparations for war. In a recent meeting, he highlighted the continuous efforts of the IDF to enhance readiness in anticipation of a possible attack in Lebanon.

Last week, the IDF conducted training exercises focused on establishing supply routes into Lebanon via air and land operations. This simulation included transporting military equipment, ammunition, water, and fuel to support troops positioned within hostile territory. The training operation was coordinated by the Technology and Logistics Branch, working in collaboration with the Northern Command, Air Force, and infantry units.

"Perhaps, at this point, the U.S. administration, as they are doing in Eastern Syria and Northern Iraq, would approve of the idea of a free zone in the center of Lebanon and the North of Lebanon. That would cover mostly Mount Lebanon and parts of Northern Lebanon. Those areas have a coast of about 100 kilometers in the North. This could also serve the U.S. to further its deployment in Lebanon, knowing that they already have a military presence in the North, which would serve as a deterrence to Hezbollah," he explained to The Foreign Desk.

Phares explained that given that there would be an American presence on its back in the North, Hezbollah will think thoroughly before waging an offensive attack against Israel because its geographical deployments are very thin in Lebanon.

"They [Hezbollah] have a lot of weapons, but thin geography given that it is on flat land, and they don't control much of the mountains. Therefore, if Israel wants to engage Hezbollah, it will be useful for the U.S. to serve as the second arm in this anti-Hezbollah offensive, as Washington will gain the support of half of Lebanon automatically, a coast of 100 kilometers, and very powerful mountainous positions that can help U.S. strategy in the fight against Iranian militias. For that, you need a decision by the U.S. administration in Washington, which has not been made yet," Phares said.

According to various Israeli media outlets, as tensions rise and the possibility of conflict grows, Hezbollah is increasing its activities aimed at weakening Israel's defenses. The Iranian-backed terrorist group has engaged in sporadic rocket attacks against Israel to locate and destroy Dome defense systems deployed in northern Israel. Since October 7, Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah has warned Israel that the Iranian-backed terrorist group would attack the Jewish state with its entire military capabilities if Israel continues its military actions against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Phares noted that Hezbollah has enough reserves of missiles, drones, and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) to cover at least half of Israel from the border all the way to Northern Tel Aviv and maybe beyond.

"The plan of Hezbollah is to make it rain with missiles on urban and humanitarian centers inside Israel, which will force Israel to try and destroy, from the air, most of the networks that Hezbollah has already established. The second problem is that this Iranian militia is connected through land to Syria, Iraq, and all the way to Iran, which means they will have quicker placement of whatever they lose through this land bridge, to which the Israelis can and would try to cut that line with their air force and other assets across Eastern Syria and Northern Iraq," Phares stated.

"Here again, the role of the U.S. can and would be vital because of the presence of all the US assets in Eastern Syria and Iraq to have in stopping the logistical support by the Iranian regime," he told The Foreign Desk.

Despite warnings from Nasrallah, Israeli officials have warned Hezbollah not to open another front in the ongoing conflict, or else it will face devastating military reprisals.

"Any war between Hezbollah and Israel will become long and destructive, where Israeli civilians will suffer casualties, but where Hezbollah could lose a lot of proper support from Lebanon. The key is for the U.S. to secure the civilian population of Mount Lebanon, which will actually encircle Hezbollah between the Free Lebanese in the North and Israel in the South," Phares said.

He added that such efforts will "definitely need American support, which Congress would be willing to provide for the American administration in a very difficult and complex election year in America. "Israel can eventually degrade and isolate Hezbollah, but it definitely needs a neutral zone inside Lebanon where Hezbollah cannot establish or deploy in all of Lebanon's areas. That would be the determinant," Phares told The Foreign Desk.

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