Is the Timing of Operation “Northern Shield” Political?
Earlier this week, Benjamin Netanyahu announced the commencement of Operation “Northern Shield,” a military operation destroying Hezbollah tunnels built from Lebanon into Israeli territory. But with political rivals nipping at his heels and police investigations swirling around him, some Israelis are suspicious that the operation (and its timing) are more political theater than security measure. More at Jerusalem Post.
“Is this Operation Northern Shield or Operation Netanyahu Shield?” asked Yoel Hasson, an opposition politician in the Israeli Parliament, on Twitter. In a letter to the Parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, he questioned both the timing of what he dismissively called a “bulldozer operation,” and the overwrought way in which it had been presented, as if Israel were going into battle. Israelis have seen this sequence of events before.
Another thing to remember is that for Netanyahu to launch another military operation because of personal interests, he would need the cooperation of the IDF’s top brass, and there is no chance of that happening. Planning a widescale military operation takes years, so no one is going to take a chance on starting a war just because the political timing seems right—that would be disrespectful to the IDF officers.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s legal and political difficulties are playing into his decision to conduct the operation now… Yet in security terms this operation is also necessary, justified, and overdue. The Lebanese Hezbollah has utterly breached its obligations under U.N. Security Council resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 Israeli-Lebanese war but required Hezbollah to remove its weapons from southern Lebanon. The opposite has happened. Thanks to Iran, Hezbollah is once again well-armed.