Barak: Hizbullah is stronger
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Barak: Hizbullah has gotten stronger

Defense minister says Shiite group has acquired more high quality-rockets, hints Second Lebanon War was not unavoidable. Barak: Decision for broad Gaza incursion has yet to be made

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Monday that Hizbullah has improved its capabilities by acquiring higher-quality rockets with longer ranges than those fired in the Second Lebanon War. He spoke during a meeting of the Council for Peace and Security in Tel Aviv.


The event was closed to the press.


During his remarks, Barak said that Hizbullah's rocket inventory had grown by a large margin from its size before the previous war and currently includes upgraded rockets capable of reaching further distances. He added that Hizbuallah seems to be operating north of the Litani River and has fortified its positions through the use of "nature reserves" – a euphemism for military bunkers.


According to Barak's gloomy portrayal, there is a currently free passage of arms between Syria and Lebanon.


He also said that is appears that former Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion's principle – the principle of only getting involved in unavoidable wars – was not followed in the Second Lebanon War.


Barak hinted that the war was not unavoidable and that, in any case, the principle of using overwhelming force to press the enemy to surrender quickly was also not applied.


The defense minister spoke at an auditorium at the Zionist Organization of America's offices in Tel Aviv. The attendees included former Defense establishment officials as well as many high-ranking officers in the reserves.


Earlier on Monday, Hizbullah Secretary-General, Hassan Nasrallah, was quoted as saying that Hizbullah was "ready for any attack or foolish adventure that the Zionist enemy initiates," during in a meeting with a delegation of Lebanese religious leaders.


He warned that, in the case of an Israeli attack, Hizbullah would deal the "Zionist enemy a defeat more severe than the defeat it dealt (Israel) in the last war."


Nasrallah went on to claim that "the 'resistance' today is stronger, more resolute, and much more experienced."


Happenings in Gaza

Minister Barak also referred to the ongoing events in Gaza. He hinted at the possibility of a wide-scale incursion into the coastal strip but also said that such an option had not yet been decided upon.


Barak said that IDF activities in Gaza had been increased and that the IDF had freedom of operation in the Hamas-held enclave. He noted that many terrorists in Qassam-launching cells as well as others had been killed as a result of recent IDF activities.


Barak also brought up Syria in his remarks and said that it was still unclear what Syria's intentions were with regards to peace talks with Israel.


The defense minister also pointed an accusing finger at the Justice Ministry over the issue of the evacuation of illegal outposts. He accused the ministry of dealing with the removal of outposts and the prosecution of rightist activists in a slow and inept manner.


פרסום ראשון: 01.07.08, 23:52
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