Israelis are ever so sensitive to threats from “the other side,” be it Palestinian militant groups or Iran’s leaders. It’s understandable; nobody likes vows to wipe his or her country off the map. Yet for some reason, the same people become tone-deaf when it’s Israel that threatens its neighbors. A well-known example is Israel’s current foreign minister’s offer - made in a meeting with foreign ambassadors! – to bomb the Aswan Dam in case of a confrontation with Egypt, causing the flooding of vast areas around the Nile. Except for some feeble condemnations, Lieberman paid no political price for his words, and Binyamin Netanyahu obviously thinks that he should serve as Israel’s face to the world.
Yesterday, the IDF’s Northern Command held a briefing for reporters to mark six years since the Second Lebanon War. It was all about warnings and threats. An unnamed Northern Command general was especially gung ho. This is from Ynet:
“Any escalation can result in rocket fire on central Israel,” a senior officer said.
“The next war will be different. We’ll have to attack with more force, more violently, to halt any assault of the home front as quickly as possible.”
“Even if we go only after their military infrastructure… There will be a completely different ratio between the explosives used on Lebanon and those used on Israel.”
Another quote, found only in the Hebrew version of the article, sounds like something out of Game of Thrones:
We will kill 13 of every 15 enemy soldiers, so that two will be left to tell their commanders what happened.
You could try excuse this as “army talk” (though this was a meeting with the press, not with the troops), but there was also this quote:
Commenting on the Goldstone Report, penned following Operation Cast Lead, the officer said that the damage caused to Lebanon by such a conflict with Israel “Will make Goldstone pale in comparison – because Hezbollah has chosen to make the most cynical use of civilian population centers.”
Whether you accepted it or not, the Goldstone report blamed Israel for deliberately targeting civilian population. Is this general actually promise to do it again, only worse? What would I think about this if I were Lebanese? I guess pretty much what Israelis feel when they hear Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.