Israel Defence Minister Yoav Gallant warned Hezbollah and the Lebanese Government that Israel would be prepared to attack every position of the terrorist group’s assets and other war-related assets if they attack Israel, The Jerusalem Post reported.
Speaking after a meeting with top IDF (Israel Defence Force) officials at Mount Dov, Gallant on August 8, told Hezbollah and other Lebanese officials, “Do not make a mistake, we do not want war, but we are ready to defend our citizens, our soldiers, and our sovereignty,” he added.
“We will not hesitate to employ all of our power and to attack every meter of Hezbollah and of Lebanon and return Lebanon to the stone age,” he said.
Gallant stated that Hezbollah and other Lebanese officials might mistakenly believe that they can test Israel more now because of the IDF reservist crisis, in which 10,000 reservists have announced they are quitting to protest the Government’s judicial overhaul, according to The Jerusalem Post. This reservist crisis is occurring as a result of judicial reform.
He said they should understand that Israel would remain united in the event that it was threatened with war by a group like Hezbollah.
The Defence minister added that it was crucial for the IDF to speed up its building of a fence and obstacles around the fence to make Israel’s border with Lebanon more defensible.
Further, according to Jerusalem Post, Gallant’s warning came amid a number of recent attempts by Hezbollah to interfere with Israel’s sovereignty, including sending unarmed supporters briefly across the border to wave flags in Israeli territory while IDF patrols were elsewhere, breaking a surveillance camera, and most infamously, erecting a small tent outpost 27 metres into Israeli territory a few months ago.
Israeli officials have been downplaying the significance of the outpost and seem to still be trying to negotiate Hezbollah’s withdrawal from that spot while signalling that larger attempts to destabilize the status quo will be met with greater force from the Israeli side, The Jerusalem Post reported.
Gallant placed Lebanon in the same basket as Hezbollah, since at times Israel has tried to distinguish between the Lebanese government and Hezbollah, depending on the relations between the two parties at a given moment.
(with inputs from ANI)