Israel warns Lebanon of total destruction in new war

An Israeli soldier prepares to fire tear gas canisters at demonstrators. Photo: AFP – Musa Al-Shaer)

A senior Israeli general threatened Lebanon with destruction on Thursday, saying the military was prepared for a “very violent” war should conflict spark on the border.

Brigardier-General Hertzi Halevy, commander of the IDF’s 91st Division, told local Israeli media that any attack by Israeli forces would leave Lebanon more badly damaged than in the 2006 war, when Israel killed over 1,200 Lebanese and destroyed much of the country’s infrastructure.

“Lebanon will sustain greater damage than that done during the second Lebanon war,” Haaretz quoted Halevy as saying, referring to the 2006 attack. “The response will need to be sharper, harder, and in some ways very violent.”

Israel’s aerial bombardments of heavily populated areas such as Gaza and Beirut have been heavily criticized by rights groups and the UN, drawing claims of war crimes.

Referring to a UN report led by Richard Goldsmith, which concluded that Israel carried out a string of human rights abuses in its 2008-09 bombardment of Gaza, Halevy said war “cannot be nice.”

“After the Goldstone Report, people in the international community and in Israel thought that battle in a densely populated area could be carried out in a nicer way. It cannot be nice. Without the use of great force, we will find it difficult to achieve our aim, and the enemy should also know that,” he said.

Halevy’s provocative comments come a week ahead of the sixth anniversary of the 2006 war, with the general adding that Israeli forces should enter Lebanon with great force and wreak havoc in villages.

Israel and Lebanon’s powerful Hezbollah have exchanged warnings in recent months, with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah saying in May that his group had the ability to strike any target in “occupied Palestine.”

“Today, we are capable of not only striking Tel Aviv as an area, but also capable of striking specific targets in Tel Aviv and any place in occupied Palestine,” he said.

Halevy’s remarks also come after Israel destroyed one of its own spying devices in south Lebanon on Monday after it was discovered by Hezbollah.

Lebanese security sources said an Israeli drone fired an air-to-surface missile, while Hezbollah said the device was destroyed using a remote-controlled explosive.


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