Report: IDF to Evacuate Tens of Thousands in Event of Northern War

YERUSHALAYIM -
Hezbollah sanctions
Lebanese Shiite supporters of Hezbollah shout slogans against the U.S. and Israel. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

The IDF in recent weeks has conducted several exercises of response to possible attacks on Israel’s northern border. The army this week submitted a report to the government, in which senior security officials lay out scenarios that such an attack would entail, and its likely consequences, Haaretz reported.

The report discusses several potential scenarios in which Hezbollah terrorists, with or without the direct assistance of Iran and/or Syria, engage the IDF in war. The scenarios portray the consequences of a war that would last just several days, a week, or a month.

The war would most likely begin by “accident,” according to the report, with a security incident in the area of the Lebanese or Syrian border getting out of hand and quickly escalating to a full-fledged war. In any of the scenarios, Israel could be slammed with over 100,000 missiles – as many as 130,000 – the number Hamas is believed to have. The IDF’s estimation is that 90 percent of those missiles have a range of not more than 45 kilometers, meaning that towns and cities in the Haifa region and northward would be affected. Most of the missiles can hold no more than 10 kilograms of explosives, and safe rooms that have been included in all new homes that were built after the mid-1990s would be able to withstand them.

The IDF would evacuate hundreds of thousands of residents of the affected area, the report says. The report identified 50 critical infrastructure sites that would need to be protected during the war, including energy, transportation, and water facilities.

Over the past several years, about 20 percent of these facilities have been protected with reinforced concrete and other means. In addition, it would be likely that the Tamar gas fields would not be operating. While the gas-harvesting system would be unlikely to be harmed in a war, it would be difficult to transport the gas to Israel under such circumstances.

One major area that concerns security officials, according to the report, is the nonchalance with which many Israelis regard security. In the past, the army has issued alerts and warnings about potential threats that, b’chasdei Shamayim, have not panned out, and the fear is that many people will disregard instructions in a new northern war, relying on their experiences in previous wars. That would be a big mistake, considering the broad range of the threats. The report says that the government and the IDF needed to develop a method to ensure that Israelis take security warnings seriously.