200,000 Israelis Flee As Tensions With Hezbollah SURGEIs ANOTHER Full-Scale War Inevitable?

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The escalating tensions between Israel and the Iranian-aligned Hezbollah militia in Lebanon may inevitably lead to a very destructive war, according to Eyal Hulata, a former Israeli national security adviser.

As reported by Newsweek, the intensifying cross-border conflict has already resulted in the displacement of approximately 200,000 Israelis from their northern homes.

Hulata, who previously served as the national security adviser to prime ministers Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid, expressed his concerns during a Jerusalem Press Club briefing. He stated that the situation along the northern border is more volatile now than it was in recent weeks and months. This assertion comes in the wake of ongoing skirmishes since October 7, when Hamas launched a surprise infiltration attack into southern Israel, leading to the death of 1,100 individuals and the abduction of over 250 others.

Hezbollah, a member of the Iranian-led political and military coalition known as the Axis of Resistance, initiated attacks on Israel in retaliation to the latters offensive into the Gaza Strip. This offensive has reportedly resulted in the death of over 36,000 Palestinians, as per data from the regional health ministry cited by The Associated Press.

Hezbollah has pledged to persist with its operations against Israel until the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) withdraw from Gaza. In contrast, Israel is insisting that Hezbollah retract its forces north of the Litani River, as per the 2006 United Nations Security Council resolution that aimed to terminate the previous major conflict between the two sides.

Israeli officials have hinted at a significant escalation on the northern border for several months. This week, concerns of a wider war were heightened by a cross-border Hezbollah attack that ignited several days-long fires. Israel has been regularly launching strikes on Hezbollah and Hamas targets and personnel in Lebanon. Although these strikes are primarily concentrated in southern Lebanon, the IDF and Israeli intelligence have also targeted militants in Beirut.

Hulata expressed his anticipation of a full escalation, stating, Ill be surprised if Israel was not preparing for full escalation. He added, I would be surprised, though, if Israel preempts it without substantial provocation. But such provocations, unfortunately, exist.

Hezbollah, believed to have around 20,000 fighters with an equal number in reserve, is better organized, funded, and armed than Hamas. A conflict with the group could prove more challenging and costly for Israel. The groups formidable missile arsenal has long been a significant concern for Israel and its Western allies.

Hulata warned of the potential damage in the event of a war, stating, Our defenses are good when were awake. Unfortunately, on October 7, we were not alert. But when we are alert, I think our defenses work very well. This doesnt mean there wont be casualties.

Despite the White Houses repeated calls for calm and warnings against exploiting the situation, Hulata remains skeptical of any diplomatic resolution. He believes its more a matter of when than if a conflict will occur.

He said, If Hezbollah is not going to remove their forces from the borderand I dont see any political agreement brokered by the Americans or the French or anyone else that would be robust enough over time to keep Hezbollah away from our bordersunfortunately, I think that its just a matter of time until we will need to do it ourselves.

Hulata proposed a deadline of September 1, coinciding with the start of the next school year for Israeli children. By then, he hopes the 200,000 Israelis evacuated from their northern homes will be able to return. He challenged those who believe they can broker a deal between Israel and Lebanon, stating, All those who think that they can broker a deal between Israel and Lebanon: its the beginning of June, and we have until the beginning of September. Thats three months. Go ahead, broker the deal.

Hulata emphasized the urgency of the situation, stating, By September, its going to be almost a full year that they havent been in their homes; thats inconceivable for our country. We cannot continue this attrition.