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JINSA Hybrid Warfare Report featured in Haaretz

Israel Seeks to Leverage Op Against Hezbollah Tunnels to Complete Lebanon Border Wall
By Amos Harel - Haaretz

The public relations war that Israel has been fighting against Hezbollah and the Lebanese government is part of an ongoing diplomatic effort whose goal is to constrain Hezbollah's and Iran's moves on Israel's northern front. Netanyahu's visit to Metula last week, and the large number of Israeli statements about the tunnel revelations, complete the process whose objective is to deter Hezbollah and prevent the upgrading of its military capabilities.

The battle over legitimacy, including the aspects of international law involved, will assume a large place in any war that could break out in Lebanon in the future. In October, the Jewish Institute for National Security of America, a Washington, D.C. based pro-Israel think tank that brings together retired senior American defense officials and officers, released a detailed report on this question. Three former U.S. generals visited and toured Israel to prepare the report, and met with senior government officials, officers on the IDF General Staff and in the Military Advocate General unit.

The authors of the report, entitled "Israel's Next Northern War: Operational and Legal Challenges," say that if a war breaks out in the north, it will not be similar at all to the conflicts Israel has experienced in the past. They expect such a war to have unprecedented amounts of destruction and casualties, including deaths, on both sides. The authors say that Hezbollah's military capabilities have improved greatly after seven years in which its soldiers took part in the civil war in Syria. But Hezbollah has no illusions it can defeat the IDF on the battlefield. Its goal is to achieve a political victory, states the report.

Hezbollah plans on achieving this victory by intentionally risking the lives of Lebanese civilians (whom Hezbollah uses frequently as "human shields"), manipulation of the narrative about the events of the war and exploitation of the mistakes of the international community in understanding the laws of war. The JINSA authors say Hezbollah and Iran will strive to present Israel during the war as "an immoral murderer of civilians." Their goal will be to damage Israel's international legitimacy to continue to fight, before the IDF can translate its military advantage into a victory on the battlefield.

The report says the next war in the north will not be conducted only with tanks and missiles - it will also be a war of information, which will be decided by international public opinion, no less than on the battlefield. They say that Israel often makes more effort than necessary according to international law to protect the lives of enemy civilians. But the authors say that in real time, Israel hesitates and lags in presenting the information that could well prove its claims. The result, during the Second Lebanon War in 2006 and during Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip in 2014, is that Israel lost the information war to its enemies.

Read in Haaretz

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