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Evacuated Israeli residents from north want Hezbollah threat eliminated

US senior official arrives in Israel in effort to prevent Israel-Hezbollah escalation

Hezbollah fighters take part in a staged military exercise in a camp in the Lebanese southern village of Aramta, ahead of the 23rd "Liberation Day," the annual celebration of the withdrawal of Israeli forces from south Lebanon on May 25, 2000. (Photo: Marwan Naamani/DPA via Reuters)

White House Senior Advisor Amos Hochstein arrived in Israel on Monday to continue pressuring Israel into abstaining from launching an all-out war against Hezbollah terror forces in Lebanon following weeks of Israel's northern border communities being shelled by the Iranian proxy terrorist organization.

Israel's Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has pushed for broader military action against Hezbollah, however, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has so far acquiesced to Washington’s pressure, hoping that a decisive victory over the Hamas terror organization in Gaza will cause Hezbollah to retreat from further attacks against Israel.

“I have warned Hezbollah: Do not make a mistake and enter the war because this will be the mistake of your lives,” Netanyahu said earlier this month. “Your entry into the war will decide Lebanon’s fate.”

Tens of thousands of Israeli citizens from 42 communities in northern Israel have been evacuated from their homes to other parts of Israel for fear of an escalation that could lead to an all-out war with the Lebanese-based Hezbollah terror organization.

Many evacuees are now saying that they will not feel safe to return to their homes on the northern border, unless the IDF ensures that Hezbollah cannot launch the kind of attack that Hamas did on Oct. 7, in which it invaded southern border communities in a surprise attack. During the brutal attack, more than 1,400 civilians were raped, kidnapped and slaughtered.

“I think that we are in a once-in-a-lifetime chance to do something serious,” said Gideon Harari, a 66-year-old retired military officer who stayed behind in She’ar Yashuv as a member of the community’s local security force.

“People will not come back because they are afraid, so you should do it now.”

Hezbollah is estimated to have over 150,000 missiles and could send 3,000 missiles a day into Israel, according to Israeli officials. There are also fears that Hezbollah could emulate the Oct. 7 attack, especially because thousands of Hezbollah terrorists are currently situated along the border with Israel.

 One Israeli soldier on the Israel-Lebanon border told the Wall Street Journal that a war with Hezbollah is inevitable and pointed out that the terror group is a more powerful, formidable enemy than Hamas.

“A war is inevitable,” the unnamed 25-year-old Israeli paratrooper from Tel Aviv said. “It’s not an 'if,' it’s a 'when.' Hezbollah is much better trained and more powerful than Hamas. Either we have a lot of casualties on our end, or it’s almost like complete destruction of Beirut and southern Lebanon.”

Israeli resident Lior Shelef has lived on the border with Lebanon since he was a child, sleeping in safety shelters, and he does not want his children to grow up the way he did.

“I don’t see a way besides war,” he told the Wall Street Journal, “but…I don’t think Israel wants to go back to the years of the Lebanese 'mud.' We need to find a way to make sure that Hezbollah won’t be there before people come back,” he said, adding that “everything changed after Oct. 7.”

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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