TEL AVIV: Israel’s Minister for De-fence Avigdor Lieberman on Wednesday commented on the possibility of conflict wi-th Lebanon breaking out, saying that Israeli soldiers may have to operate deep in Leb-anese territory and maneuver on the ground on the battlefield if war breaks out.
Lieberman’s comments are the latest in a series of warnings from senior Israeli officials warning about Hezbollah’s attempts to arm itself with precision missiles produced in Lebanon. “Maneuvering is not a goal in itself. The goal is to end the war,” Lieberman said at a conference of the Institute for National Security Studies at the Tel Aviv University.
“No one is looking for adventures, but if we have no choice the goal is to end the fighting as quickly and as unequivocally as possible. Regrettably, what we have in all the conflicts in the Middle East is that without soldiers on the ground it does not come to an end,” he said. “Such operations demand great effort and unfortunately casualties too,” he said.
“All options are open and I and not enslaved to any viewpoint.
We must prepare for maneuvering on the ground too, even if we do not use it,” he said. “We will do so with full strength. We must not take one step forward and one step backward. We will move forward as fast as possible,” Lieberman said.
“We will not see pictures like those from the Second Lebanon War in which the residents of Beirut were at the beach and in Tel Aviv they were in bomb shelters.
If in Israel they sit in shelters, then in the next fighting all of Beirut will be in shelters.”
Speaking with reporters after his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Iran’s precision missile factories in Lebanon were already in progress and that he had stressed to his Russian counterpart that it was a threat Israel was not willing to accept.
According to Netanyahu, the Russians fully understand their position and the seriousness with which they view such threats. He said that Israel’s ties with the Kremlin were important for security coordination. “The Russian Army is on our border and we have managed to preserve our interests and freedom to act by coordinating expectations,” he said.
The Haaretz newspaper reported that this week that any operations in the area could lead to a war, as happened with the abduction of two Israeli soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser in 2006, an event that led to the Second Lebanon War.
A similar event was the abduction of three yeshiva students in the West Bank in 2014, which sparked Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza.