Lack of evidence casts doubt on Israel’s tunnel operation
Israel’s attacks on Lebanese soil on the claim that Hezbollah built tunnels to carry out attacks brings about certain questions due to the lack of evidence on the existence of these tunnels and the upcoming elections in Israel
ISRAEL launched an operation on Hezbollah on the grounds that the Iran-backed militant group had built tunnels, some of which were reaching into Israeli territories or territories under Israeli occupation. Israel claimed that the group was preparing for an attack. That said, the officials did not present any solid evidence of a presumed operation, while the Lebanese side alleged that the presence of the tunnels was also doubtful. Moreover there was no rush on Hezbollah’s side, who faced the Israeli threats calmly.
In light of these facts, Israel’s goal is questionable. Considering there is an election approaching in Israel, which seems will be quite contentious as the current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is under fire for alleged corruption and his Cabinet is divided over some of the country’s policies, one wonders whether the Israeli government was following an agenda to terrorize the region for its own sake.
Similarly, the Israeli operation might be seen as an indirect intervention in Lebanon, where political parties have continuously failed to form a government. Israel may benefit from the absence of a government, a notable part of which will be the Hezbollah-backed government. To that end, Israel may be using the tunnels as a pretext to mount pressure.
On the other hand, the Israeli daily newspaper, Haaretz proposed an interesting claim. In an article earlier this week the paper said the existence of the tunnels was the reason for postponing an operation on Hamas and Gaza. The government believed that such an action would increase anger, as a result of which Hezbollah would use the tunnels for perpetuating attacks. Therefore, the government decided to come to an agreement with Hamas, which was not welcomed by Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who resigned as a reaction. Then again, it is debatable as to whether Hezbollah had enough forces and military equipment to challenge Israel directly, as the group has been fighting in Syria on Bashar Assad’s side.
A more recent article in Haaretz claimed that Israeli officials took some Israeli journalists to the site where the tunnels were discovered. However, according to the author of the article, they were barred from taking any photographs. Speaking to the residents living nearby, the author voiced their concerns and said the residents had heard the sounds of construction. Still, no solid evidence was presented.
On the other hand, some conservative Israeli papers questioned why the Hezbollah issue would prevail upon Hamas, as the Israeli government was on the verge of declaring war on the tiny residential area, the Gaza Strip. Though preserving its mystery, it is a fact that Netanyahu’s security priority has been concerned with Iran and the actions of its proxies. Israel has repeatedly claimed that Iran was building military bases near the Golan Heights and providing military equipment to the Lebanese-based Hezbollah, including materials necessary to make nuclear weapons.
Israeli Merkava tanks parked near the border with Lebanon near the Israeli town of Zarit, Dec. 5.