Rassegna Esteri

Organized Plan for Escape of Settlers from Hizbullah Men

Jihad Haidar

Usually, the aim of announcements regarding military plans being prepared by the “Israeli” army is to try to restore and strengthen the confidence of the home front, and at the same time, to send a message of strength and deterrence to the outside.

However, all of these objectives are disconnected from the evacuation plan, which is designed for settlers living near the northern border in the event of a confrontation with Hizbullah. This plan is more like an “organised mass escape” supervised by the army and under the guidance of the political leadership, as opposed to [settlers escaping] on an individual and random basis, which would cause confusion for state institutions during war time.

In so much as there is public talk about the plan, such as in the Maariv newspaper which quoted senior military sources that sent messages of concern related to the offensive, defensive, deterrent capabilities of the army, and [its ability] to provide security for settlers, yet it also reflects a degree of realism that struck political and security decision-makers in Tel Aviv, especially considering that if this plan was implemented, it would be the first time since 1948 in which the army carries out an evacuation of this kind during war time, as Maariv has reported.

On the other hand, this plan and the media talk surrounding it reflect a deliberate official policy aimed at preparing the “Israeli” public for such a scenario, which has become a fact whose denial or evasion will not prove beneficial, in light of the altered equations of the conflict imposed by the resistance in Lebanon following the war in 2006, and later in the Gaza Strip.

What distinguishes the revelation disclosed by the Maariv newspaper regarding this plan, according to a senior military source in the army, is that it also comes just weeks after the official announcement of the military strategy, which is supposed to be designed to achieve victory in any upcoming confrontation. In comparison, the evacuation plan is a challenge and a test of the principles of activating [their elements of] power, contained in the military document: deterrence, warning, defense, and decisiveness.

In addition, talk about the plan came after it was completed by the army in full detail, [to be published in the army magazine], based on the premise that the confrontation with Hizbullah, in the event that it breaks out, will spill over into “Israeli” territory. Therefore, as quoted by the Maariv newspaper, preparations must be made for such a situation in the form of an evacuation plan to be presented by the army on the political level in the near future.

Regardless of the framework in which the evacuation plan will be placed, the enemy cannot deny the fact that if it did not take the threats made by Hizbullah Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah seriously, when he requested from the resistance fighters to be prepared to take control over the Galilee in any future war, then it would not have found itself obliged to take such a step.

It also cannot ignore that this acknowledgment is also coupled with another acknowledgment, related to the credence that the “Israeli” military command has towards the capability of Hizbullah to implement this pledge. In addition, there is the acknowledgment of the presence of the willpower [of Hizbullah to carry it out], this despite all the messages of deterrence that have already been addressed by “Israel” via all channels and methods.

Therefore, we see the development of the plan and its upcoming announcement, which will also form an additional disclosure of the acknowledgment of the “Israeli” leadership regarding the limited effectiveness that deterrence has had towards Hizbullah.

On the other hand, threats have no value unless they provide the military and political leadership the time needed in order to target the imminent threat before it translates in practice, or through proactive and pre-emptive strikes. However, the tactics of the resistance curtailed a lot of the traditional means of warning signals, which are usually viable perhaps in the face of regular armies.

Furthermore, the development and adoption of the settler evacuation plan comes as an expression of acknowledgment by the military command before the [“Israeli”] people, that it is unable to provide security and protection to them in any future war with the party.

This applies not only [to providing protection from] missiles, but also from the incursion of its fighters into the settlements. In light of this, the army no longer has the option of safeguarding their lives and providing them with security. What remains is organising their escape via a plan drawn up by the army.

In parallel, this step also enhances the credibility of talk about the decline in the level of public confidence in the Israeli army’s ability to protect settlers in their settlements. In contrast, the plan reveals that the leadership itself no longer has confidence in the capabilities of a military on the offensive to root out threats posed to the settlements – which would have saved it from resorting to an evacuation plan – or in its defensive capabilities to protect the settlers while confronting the tactics of the resistance.

In any case, the quoting by Maariv of a senior military source who commented on the plan, constitutes an increase in the many implications related to this plan: “The threat in the region has changed qualitatively, and the enemy that we will face is now different”, in reference to Hizbullah. The source added that “this reality requires a fighter with different qualities in order to protect the settlements, whether on the professional or mental levels.”

However, it should be said that the evacuation plan is considered part of a broader military plan involving the launching of attacks and operations of both a positive and negative defensive nature, that is not detracted by the meanings implied by it, especially since the political and military leadership in Tel Aviv would not have initiated a step of this kind, if not for its understanding that its enemy on the northern border, of the Israeli entity, has the highest willpower and ability which enables it to implement its pledges.

On the other hand, they realize, too, that “Israel” does not have a proper solution for protecting the settlers, apart from evacuating and taking them to the home front, where [Hizbullah’s] missiles will chase them as well.

Source: al-Ahed News, Translated and Edited by website team

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