“What we could do in 34 days during the Second Lebanon War, we can now do in 48 hours,” Israel’s air force commander said, urging “full force” in war with Hezbollah.
The commander of the Israeli Air Force (IAF) said that in recent years the IAF has significantly improved its offensive capabilities, and “what we could do in 34 days during the Second Lebanon War, we can now do in 48 hours.”
“This is potential power unimaginable in its scope, much different to what we have seen in the past and far greater than people estimate,” IAF Commander Major-General Amir Eshel declared.
He said that said that a war breaks out with Hezbollah, Israel must strike “with all our strength from the start.”
Speaking at the 17th annual Herzilya Conference held at the IDC on Wednesday, Eshel addressed the shared strategic challenges facing Israel and several other Middle Eastern countries.
“There is an unusual meeting of interests between Israel and other regional states in the fight against terror” he said, explaining that the IAF has developed methods “to act in a way that is effective and determined, while avoiding an escalation into war.”
He said that operating in the region has become complex as the result of several air forces flying in the same air space. “We want to maintain our freedom to operate and don’t want to harm those who do not want to harm us. The skies over the Middle East are very congested, much more so than in the past. There are issues where the difference between success and failure is measured in seconds. We cannot make any mistakes,” he said.
Commenting on the threat in the north, Eshel said that, at this time, Hezbollah is not interested in attacking Israel again. “For us, this presents an opportunity because it gives us time to build our strength. If a war breaks out in the northern arena, we need to act with full force from the beginning. What we could do in 34 days during the Second Lebanon War, we can now do in 48 hours. The growth of our strength has not been linear.”
In the next war with Hezbollah, the IAF will do “whatever possible to reduce any collateral damage to civilians in any war, and we aspire towards zero civilian casualties. But I cannot delude myself; in every war there will always be people who are harmed inadvertently. I have a recommendation to the people of Lebanon: Hezbollah has chosen to stay and infiltrate some of your homes – if you leave your homes as soon as the conflict erupts, you will not be harmed.”
Eshel warned that if Hezbollah launches an attack against Israel, “thousands” of Lebanese would be put at risk when Israel strikes back. He explained that Hezbollah has established thousands of bases in Beirut, the Bekaa Valley, and southern Lebanon, both “above and below live civilians whom we have nothing against — a kind of human shield.”
“And that is where the war will be,” he added. “That is where we will have to fight in order to stop it and win. Whoever stays in these bases will simply be hit and will risk their lives. And whoever goes out will live.”
By: World Israel News Staff