By Eliana Rudee, Originally published in the New York Observer
In the Middle East, non-state actors, terrorist organizations, and regimes prepare for war long before it appears imminent. Considered inevitable, the only question is timing.
Since the last Lebanon-Israel war in 2006, the border has seen deceptively few altercations. Instead, there has been significant buildup of tunnels, barrel bombs, ammunition, rockets, mortars and weapons on the southern Lebanese border with Israel. Iran-backed Hezbollah has embedded itself into Lebanon, trained highly skilled fighters and amassed thousands of weapons directed at Israel’s civilian population, in anticipation of a third Lebanon-Israel war.
According to a colonel and brigade commander in the Israeli Defense Forces who asked his identity be withheld, Hezbollah forces have occupied hundreds of homes on the southern Lebanon border with Israel. The civilians’ home garages are used to store military vehicles; their rooms store weapons.
“In many of these houses, there is a kitchen, a children’s room, and a rocket room. The homeowners are hosting Hezbollah, but are also being taken hostage by Hezbollah. These homes are, in effect, ‘intel’ outposts and military compounds. The goal is clear,” he explained. “Readiness to attack Israel.”