Hezbollah dealt a painful blow 

Source: Hezbollah dealt a painful blow – Israel Hayom

Lilach Shoval

The disclosure of Hezbollah’s attack tunnels is an impressive achievement for the Israel Defense Forces from a technological, operational and intelligence standpoint, in that the military succeeded in discovering the details of Hezbollah’s top secret and highly classified project.

Although aware of Hezbollah’s efforts for a long time, it was the IDF’s ability to keep it under a cloak of secrecy for such a long time that allowed the military to take the terrorist organization to our north by surprise on Monday morning.

The cross-border tunnel exposed by the IDF is just the beginning. The operation to clear the tunnels is set to take a few weeks and the most difficult part most likely remains ahead. The assessment in Israel is that as long as IDF activity is constrained to Israeli territory, Hezbollah will be hard-pressed to find international legitimacy for military action against Israel. The IDF has already insinuated that, even if the operation to neutralize the terrorist threat is carried out from inside Israeli territory, its activities may spill over into Lebanese territory. This is one of the reasons the IDF is on high alert in the north.

Hezbollah was dealt a painful blow to both its operations and morale on Monday. Israel embarrassed the organization when it exposed Hezbollah’s blatant violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the Second Lebanon War, before the international community. The publicity also embarrassed the Lebanese government, the supposed sovereign power in the area, and in all likelihood the U.N., whose peacekeeping forces, the Interim Force in Lebanon, have been stationed in southern Lebanon in an effort to enforce the resolution and prevent such a flagrant violation of Israeli sovereignty.

Along with the continuation of the operation and the neutralization of the attack tunnels, the next stage must also see Israel leverage its operational success on the international front. Netanyahu began to do this on Monday, when he asked the United States to impose additional sanctions on Hezbollah and called for an urgent meeting of the U.S. Security Council on the subject.

But Israel must also take advantage of the exposure of Hezbollah’s project to contend with another burning issue on an international level, and that is the Iranian-led efforts to improve the precision of Hezbollah’s rocket arsenal. It would be fair to assume heavy international pressure on Lebanon would serve to slow down this project and ultimately prevent the need for possible Israeli military action inside Lebanon with the potential to spark an all-out war.

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