Photo Credit: Ariel hermoni / IMoD
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in an operational assessment in the Golan Heights. July 7 2024

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told IDF soldiers in northern Israel on Sunday that Israeli forces will fight Lebanon’s Iranian proxy, the Hezbollah terrorist army, regardless of whether or not Israel reaches a hostage release deal with Iran’s Gaza proxy, Hamas.

Speaking to military forces on Mount Hermon during an operational assessment in the Golan Heights with the Armored Corps also attended by the commander of the 210th Division, Brig.-Gen. Yair Palai, deputy commander of the 188th Brigade, Lt.-Col. Oded Adani, as well as battalion commanders operating in the areas of the Hermon and Mount Dov, Gallant was blunt.

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“These are critical days in terms of exercising our power against an enemy [Hezbollah] that only responds to force,” Gallant said.

“Even if we reach an agreement in the southern arena, we will continue fighting here, until we bring Hezbollah to reach an agreement and ensure the safe return of Israel’s northern communities to their homes.”

Gallant told the soldiers that Hezbollah and its allies have suffered significant losses.

“Hezbollah and Palestinian terrorist organizations have lost 450 [fighters]; 15 commanders at the level of brigade commanders or above were eliminated. This includes three division commanders and makes up for over 50 percent of Hezbollah’s total number of commanders in southern Lebanon. This is very significant,” he said.

“Your goal is to ensure your readiness and to erode the enemy’s [Hezbollah] capabilities.

*“I gave a clear directive to the forces stationed in the south and in the north – these are two separate arenas,” Gallant emphasized.

“Even if we reach agreement for a hostage deal, and I very much hope that we will be able to achieve it – it does not bind us on what happens here, unless Hezbollah reaches a framework or agreement. Even if there is a ceasefire there [in the south], here [in the north] we will continue fighting and doing everything necessary to bring about the desired result [bringing Israeli communities home safely],” he said.

“Here we are continuing to fight and do everything necessary; this is what brings the results … Things can happen. We aren’t looking for it but we are ready for anything. If they come to attack us, or if they try to harm us, or if they don’t allow us to return our citizens safely to their homes, we will act.”

Gallant’s remarks were made on a day in which four people were wounded in rocket and missile attacks launched from Lebanon by Hezbollah terrorists in three separate rounds throughout the day at various sites in northern Israel. Two of the wounded were listed in very serious condition, including one dual Israeli-US citizen. One of the wounded was an IDF soldier.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.