Israeli officials have recently made a series of bellicose assertions suggesting a readiness on the part of Israel to engage in fresh conflicts with both Hezbollah and Hamas, Anadolu Agency reported.
On Wednesday, the head of Israel’s military intelligence agency warned that the country’s next war with Hezbollah would reduce Lebanon to a “nation of refugees”.
Israeli daily Haaretz quoted Herzl Halevi as saying that, while Israel would recover from the impact of such a conflict, Lebanon would not, while Hezbollah would lose the popular support it currently enjoys.
Speaking at a conference in the city of Herzliya, Halevi boasted of Israel’s military ascendancy in the region, going on to assert that the country had significant intelligence on Hezbollah from which it would benefit in any future conflict with the group.
According to Anadolu, Israeli military officials in recent months have repeatedly mentioned the potential impact of a possible future war with Hezbollah and have carried out several military drills on the Lebanese border.
In 2006, Israel fought a devastating war with the Shia militia that left more than 1,200 people — mostly civilians — dead.
In a related development Wednesday, a senior Israeli military source was quoted as saying that Israel’s next war with the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas would be the last.
“There will be no Hamas government [in the Gaza Strip] after that,” the source, who spoke anonymously, said, according to Israel’s Channel 7.
Israel would also prohibit construction of a seaport in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, he said, while going on to assert that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas — head of rival Palestinian faction Fatah — lacked any “political legitimacy”.
“Abu Mazen [Abbas] doesn’t have the public support or strength to reach any arrangements or agreements with Israel,” he said.
The high-ranking official noted that Abbas had not visited any Palestinian Authority-controlled cities — such as Jenin or Tulkarm — within the last eight years, although he had visited several prominent European capitals numerous times over the same period.
According to recent opinion polls conducted in the Palestinian territories, as many as 65 percent of those asked want Abbas — whose term formally expired in 2009 — to step down as president.