Hezbollah Threatens to Invade Israel’s Galilee, and Offers Interactive InfoGraphic on How it Plans to Do it
In a new interactive infographic the group posted online called “Galilee, Where the Next Confrontation with the Enemy is!” the group states invading the Galilee is its goal should Israel attack Lebanon.
Hezbollah’s virtual tour includes the “most significant Palestinian cities” [which are in fact northern Israeli cities] – Haifa, Acre, Safed, Tiberias and Nazareth – while it surveys the Galilee’s geographical attributes, including “water riches,” “shrubs and forests” and “moderate weather.”
It also labels these sites as the “next war’s potential targets:” IDF outposts, the Haifa port and oil refinery, and tourist sites. The infographic’s coup de grace is its “glimpse into anticipated scenario for confrontation” which shows arrows pushing Hezbollah forces south, appropriately painting a swath of blood red over the entire territory of northern Israel.
In February 2011, Hezbollah chief Hasan Nasrallah made his first threats about invading the Galilee. Then he said:
I say to the mujahideen of the Islamic resistance: Be prepared for a day when war is forced upon Lebanon, and the commanders of the resistance may ask you to take over the Galilee. In other words — to liberate the Galilee.Retired Israeli Brigadier General Shimon Shamir of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs published a study last week about Hezbollah’s increased threats to strike strategic targets in Israel which he believes are in response to the uptick in talk from Israel about attacking the nuclear facilities in Iran – Hezbollah’s main financial and spiritual backer. Shamir surveyed the recent militaristic chatter coming from Lebanon, including:
• A threat that Hezbollah will respond to any Israeli attack on Iran stated on Sept. 8 by Gen. Yahya Rahim Safavi who is military adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.Shamir writes:
• Gen. Hossein Salami, who is deputy commander of the Revolutionary Guard also said on Sept. 8 that if Iran is attacked by Israel, “we will take the war to the borders of the enemies.”
• A report from Lebanese newspaper Al Joumhouria that the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Saeed Jalali, on an August visit to Lebanon gave the green light for Hizbullah to launch military strikes on Israel should the Jewish state hit Iran.
• Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah saying in August: “The Israeli attack will give Iran an opportunity to destroy Israel as it has already dreamed of doing for thirty-two years,” adding that “our missiles are prepared and aimed…we will not wait for anyone’s approval.”
Hizbullah is a central component of Iran’s deterrent and offensive strategy toward Israel and is considered Iran’s first line of defense in the spatial dimension of its conflict with Israel. Senior Iranian spokesmen say so publicly, and Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah backs them up.Shamir explains that Hezbollah held its largest military exercise ever this past August [emphasis added]:
It lasted three days and over ten thousand fighters took part, including “special forces,” as well as new recruits aged 16-20 who did not take part in the 2006 war with Israel. Defensive deployments were practiced together with an offensive deployment that simulated the conquest of parts of the Upper Galilee. According to Al Joumhouria, which reported in the past on a similar exercise by Hizbullah, Nasrallah oversaw part of the drill alongside Iranian officers from the Revolutionary Guard. It also was reported that Hizbullah had begun preparing residents of southern Lebanon for the possibility of war, including the clearing-out of shelters in the villages of Maroun al-Ras and Aita al-Shaab, and the town of Bint Jbeil.It is widely known that Iran provides military support to Hezbollah, including training, funding and the transfer of missiles and other weaponry. Shamir writes about how vast this assistance is:
[Iranian] Revolutionary Guardsmen are stationed at Hizbullah training bases and are involved in ongoing military activities. Various Iranian agents and emissaries, who not infrequently compete among themselves, are also active in Lebanon. Some are from Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance and Ministry of Education, some are there in the framework of economic assistance, and some have been dispatched by the Iranian Intelligence Ministry to gather information and prepare infrastructures for terror in the Middle East, Europe, and South America.Shamir provides translation from an interview Hezbollah chief Nasrallah gave on Sept. 4 in which he threatened to make Israelis’ lives “hell:”
The Israelis are always planning to destroy the missile launchers in the first attack. I advise them not to gamble on the first strike because even if a small number of missiles survive the attack, we will be able to turn the Israelis’ lives into hell. Our targets are not only military; we will react with the same force to any Israeli attack. If Israel talks about destroying Lebanon, I say to them that we will destroy everything in the Zionist entity.Nasrallah made the invade-Galilee threat for the first time in February 2011, at which time Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded by saying that “no one should doubt Israel’s strength or its ability to defend itself.” He also offered a dig at Nasrallah who spends most of his time in hiding, fearing Israeli-backed assassins as have struck down past Hezbollah leaders. Netanyahu then said, “Whoever hides in a bunker should stay in the bunker.”
Israeli analyst Shamir believes that as the talk of a possible preemptive strike on Iranian nuclear facilities grows, so too do the threats from Iran and Hezbollah.