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Hezbollah could be next in line after Hamas, says Israeli National Security Advisor Hanegbi

Lebanese Hezbollah supporters attend a protest in support of Palestinians in Gaza, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Nabatieh, southern Lebanon, November 18, 2023. (Photo: REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani)

Hezbollah is likely to be next in line to be tackled by the Israeli Defense Forces after it finishes eliminating Hamas from Gaza.

Israeli National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi suggested on Saturday night that Israel may have no choice but to go to war against Hezbollah – the Iranian proxy terrorist organization in Lebanon on Israel’s northern border - after Hamas is defeated in Gaza.

There is increasing concern that Hezbollah’s elite Radwan Force could stage an invasion and massacre from the north, similar to the one perpetrated by Hamas terrorists in southern Israel on Oct. 7. 

Hanegbi admitted that Israel had taken on Hamas “17 years too late,” referring to Israel's withdrawal in 2005 from the Gaza Strip, and that the IDF would need to deal with the threat from Hezbollah on the border with Lebanon.  

Since Oct. 7, around 60,000 residents of Israel's northern border communities have been evacuated from the north, as clashes across the border between Hezbollah and Israel continue.

“Residents will not return if we don’t do the same thing” in the north against Hezbollah as is being done in the south against Hamas, Hanegbi told local Channel 12 news on Saturday night.

“We can no longer accept [Hezbollah’s elite] Radwan Force sitting on the border. We can no longer accept Resolution 1701 not being implemented,” Hanegbi added. The UN resolution bans Hezbollah from operating anywhere within about 30 kilometers (18 miles) of the border with Israel.

Hanegbi said that if Hezbollah refuses to stop its aggression, war remains the only option.

“The situation in the north must be changed. And it will change. If Hezbollah agrees to change things via diplomacy, very good. But I don’t believe it will.”

Hanegbi said that Israel will have to guarantee its evacuees that the situation in the north has improved. Many evacuees have said they will not feel safe to return to their homes on the northern border in the current situation.

“When the day comes,” Israel will have to act to ensure that residents of the north are no longer “displaced in their land, and to guarantee for them that the situation in the north has changed,” Hanegbi said, adding that the risk with Hezbollah’s Radwan Force is that “within minutes it could cross the border and begin a murderous rampage in northern communities as Hamas did in the south on October 7. Israel cannot tolerate this threat any longer.”

Hanegbi also told Channel 12 that it is not possible to know when Israel will be finished removing the Hamas threat.

“The Americans have not set any deadline. They understand that they can’t tell the IDF how long it needs to achieve the goals. They share the goals of returning the hostages — a campaign that a date cannot be set for — and of destroying Hamas,” he said.

“Therefore, the assessment [that achieving the goals of the war in Gaza] cannot be measured in weeks is correct, and I’m not sure it can be measured in months.”

Hanegbi said the IDF has so far eliminated at least 7,000 terrorists and that forces were now very close to Hamas’ centers of command in Jabaliya and Shaja'iya in northern Gaza.

He indicated that eliminating Hamas' Gaza leader Yahya Sinwar is key to defeating Hamas and bringing back the hostages.

The IDF's attempts to free the hostages are extremely dangerous “because their captors are waiting with their fingers on the trigger,” Hanegbi said, adding that “military pressure could produce another halt in the fighting” and the release of further hostages.

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

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