In an interview Friday with the Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot, GOC Northern Command Gadi Eisenkot presented his "Dahiyeh Doctrine." This doctrine would allow the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) to expand its destructive power beyond what it demonstrated two years ago against the Beirut suburb or, dahiyeh in Arabic, a Hezbollah stronghold, during the Second Lebanon War.
"We will wield disproportionate power against every village from which shots are fired on Israel, and cause immense damage and destruction. From our perspective, these are military bases," he said. "This isn't a suggestion. This is a plan that has already been authorized," he added.
During the 2006 war, well over 1,000 Lebanese, the vast majority of them civilian, were killed by Israeli firepower. Simultaneously, over 100 Israelis were killed, the majority of them military personnel, by Hezbollah missile fire into northern Israel.
Human Rights Watch in New York accused Israel of using disproportionate force against civilians and deliberately targeting Lebanese villages in the south, and disputed Israeli claims that Hezbollah fighters had used the villages as bases, stating that in the majority of cases the group had launched attacks from areas outside of the villages.
Currently, Israel believes it is just a matter of time before another war between Hezbollah and the Jewish state breaks out. This assumption is based on Hezbollah threats to take revenge for the assassination of senior Hezbollah commander Imad Mughnieh, who was killed in a car bombing in Damascus earlier this year.
While Tel Aviv denies being involved, the Lebanese Shiite group is adamant that the Jewish state was behind the killing and has threatened to target either Israel directly or Israeli targets abroad.
However, Israel itself might launch an attack to stop Hezbollah's smuggling of weapons into Lebanon. Syria has allowed this smuggling to continue despite it being in violation of U.N. Resolution 1701 which brought the Second Lebanon War to a halt.
The Israelis have long complained about the smuggling and the inability of U.N. peacekeepers to prevent this.
Following the fallout from the Second Lebanon War, Israel's political echelon did a lot of soul searching in the wake of the critical conclusions drawn by Israel's Winograd Commission which investigated the war.
The IDF too, has been analyzing where it went wrong in a bid to avoid future heavy military casualties. And the military's conclusion is that not only will the IDF resort to massive firepower from the air but it will also concentrate on fortifying its maneuvering capabilities represented by the Armored and Infantry Corps.
And while Eisenkot has threatened a Middle Eastern version of the London blitz, Major General (Res.) Giora Eiland, a former head of Israel's National Security Council, has voiced similar opinions but taken it one step further.
Eiland believes that Israel should not only be fighting Hezbollah but it should target the Lebanese army as well as Lebanon's infrastructure. He believes Israel failed during the 2006 war and will fail in the next military encounter if it doesn't adopt this approach.
"People won't be going to the beach in Beirut while Haifa residents are in shelters," he added.
Colonel (Res.) Gabriel Siboni is on the same page as his two colleagues. He argues that the answer to rocket and missile threats from Syria, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, is "a disproportionate strike at the heart of the enemy's weak spot, in which efforts to hurt launch capability are secondary.
"As soon as the conflict breaks out, the IDF will have to operate in a rapid, determined, powerful and disproportionate way against the enemy's actions.
"This strike has to be carried out as quickly as possible, through prioritizing strikes at its assets, rather than chasing after launch sites. Such a response is likely to be remembered by decision makers in Syria and Lebanon for many years, thus deepening deterrence," added the colonel.
The rationale behind the thinking of the three men is that it is basically impossible to beat an efficient guerilla army supported by a state immune from retribution. The IDF also believes that Hezbollah has built fortified strongholds beneath the Shiite villages in the south so that even targeted strikes against rocket launchers will not diminish the ability of the guerilla movement to launch missiles into northern Israel.
However, there is some concern that such a ferocious attack on the Lebanese state could provoke a massive international backlash as the Lebanese government is recognized as legitimate and supported by the West, while a large element of this government is in fact pro-Western.
As could be predicted Hezbollah responded to Israel's threats with bellicose rhetoric of its own, stating that not only was it ready for another stoush but that Israel was a "cardboard state and would be destroyed" in any future confrontation.
And while it appears that neither side wants a battle just yet, the mutual animosity and desire for more bloodshed hasn't abated either.