Olmert: Israel will unleash all its force if Hezbollah siezes Lebanon
PM warns that next war could involve attack on Israel's cities: 'Gone are the days of hidden battlefields.'
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warned on Tuesday if Lebanon were to become a terrorist state under the domination of Hezbollah, Israel would unleash more massive firepower at its disposal.
Olmert said if Hezbollah guerrillas attack again as the dominant force in Lebanon, Israel will hit back harder than before. He said Israel "did not use all means to respond then, but if Lebanon becomes a Hezbollah state, then we won't have any restrictions in this regard." He did not elaborate on this issue.
The prime minister warned the next war with Lebanon would involve attacks on Israel's cities, saying a future conflict "will reach the cities and homes of Israeli citizens and the goal of our enemy will be to hurt the home front."
Speaking during a visit Tuesday to the Home Front Command, Olmert said a future war will be conducted differently than the Second Lebanon War. "Gone are the days when wars are fought on remote and hidden battlefields while life in the cities carries on as usual," he said.
In 2006 Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon fired almost 4,000 rockets at northern Israel during a monthlong war that ended in a United Nations brokered cease-fire.
Olmert's remarks were released in a statement by his office.
The premier further stressed the importance of maintaining calm and preventing panic among the public in light of media reports pointing to increasingly dangerous threats to the country. "We don't need to scare ourselves too much with regards to the threats," Olmert said. "Ultimately, the threat that we foresee in our imaginations is more demonic than it really is.
"In many respects, the Home Front Command will be the first and most important command in any future war and I am impressed by the astounding progress in its readiness and the change in its mindset," Olmert said.
During the visit, Olmert was briefed on the Home Front command's preparedness and its efforts to internalize and implement the lessons learned as a result of the errors made during the Second Lebanon War. The prime minister received a synopsis of the Home Front Command's emergency plans in the face of threats to Israel's interior, as well as contingency plans for meeting civilians' needs in wartime, methods of operation, and deployment strategies.
Accompanying Olmert during his visit were Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai; IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi; Home Front Command chief Yair Golan; the director-general of the Prime Minister's Office, Ra'anan Dinur; and other officials from the defense ministry, the IDF, and the PMO.
The Lebanese unity government approved a political platform earlier this month, according to which Hezbollah enjoys the right to use all means at its disposal "to liberate land occupied by Israel."
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