The man who once commanded Israel's proxy army insouth Lebanon said on Friday (August 4) the Jewish state's bombing of Lebanon's infrastructure was undercutting its war aims by increasing support there for Hizbollah."The more they bomb the infrastructure in Lebanon, the more they strengthen Hizbollah and unite the Lebanese with Hizbollah," General Antoine Lahd, former head of the South Lebanon Army (SLA), told Reuters in his Tel Aviv apartment.
Israeli air strikes have devastated Lebanon's infrastructure since Hizbollah abducted two Israeli soldiers in a cross border raid on July 12.On Friday, air raids destroyed three highway bridges in Christian areas north of Beirut.
Israel has rejected international calls for animmediate ceasefire and is preparing for a possible push to the Litani river, some 20 km (13 miles) north of the border. Lahd said he knew at the time that Israel's pullout from south Lebanon in 2000 would strengthen Hizbollah. But he said: "Even I was surprised by the extent of Hizbollah's strength."
(...) Lahd said, based on his military experience, that i twould take the Israelis another two weeks to push Hizbollah to the north of the Litani river and weaken its military capabilities. "This is a difficult war. It is not a classical war. How long has Osama bin Laden been on the run?," Lahd said,referring to the al Qaeda leader who has eluded a U.S.manhunt since even before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. "This is a different war, and it requires time, there is no 100 percent winner in this battle," he said.
Lahd said Israel realises that its bombing campaign is increasing support for Hizbollah but it believes it has noother choice. "They want to weaken Hizbollah's military capabilities and push them away from the border," Lahd said.
Lahd said he believed Israel would eventually swap Hizbollah prisoners for the two soldiers held by the guerrilla group, but would only do so through the Lebanese government. Lahd said he doubted Hizbollah would fire rockets at Tel Aviv, as threatened by the group's leader on Thursday,because he doubted Iran would go that far. Hizbollah receives much of its support from Iran and Syria.