Israeli Army Preparing for Mass Evacuations in Case of Hezbollah Missile Strike

israelIsraeli media reported that the Israeli occupation army Home Front Command is putting together a plan for the mass evacuation of settlers in the event of missile and rocket attacks, adding that Hezbollah’s rockets can currently hit practically everywhere in the occupied country.


The plan will be studied as part of next week’s nationwide Home Front Command exercise. Israeli defense officials are preparing for war scenarios including massive missile strikes on the home front. 


The occupation authorities are assuming that many rockets would be fired at the northern border, rockets with heavier warheads would be aimed at the greater Tel Aviv area, and some Israeli army bases might be the first targets. 


Israeli sources at Home Front Command say that in the event of war, the state would only evacuate settlers in certain areas such as the northern border, which may come under heavy bombardment.


The main challenge, a senior Home Front Command officer told Haaretz, involves assisting settlers who would leave their homes on their own initiative. 


“In ’91, people went to work during the day, and at night wanted to get their families out of the center of the country, because the Dan Region was considered a high-risk area,” the senior officer said. “But at that time, 42 missiles fell. This time the scenarios are talking about thousands of missiles and rockets.” 


Some settlers might decide it’s better to move to the lower-risk areas, he added. 


In the Second Lebanon War in 2006, many settlers of the north left for the center of the country and West Bank settlements, which were out of Hezbollah’s missile range at the time. 


“It will be impossible to ignore such a phenomenon anymore. We’ll have to prepare for hundreds of thousands of evacuees during a war. We think some 70 percent will make their own arrangements at the homes of relatives or in hotels,” the Israeli officer said. 


GOC Home Front Command Yair Golan recently wrote a document outlining the main points of the evacuation plan, which was distributed to the Israeli General Staff and the Defense Ministry. 


The state should be responsible for helping local authorities take in settlers arriving from high-risk zones, Golan wrote. Funding should be made available to local authorities that need it, public buildings should be found that can serve as temporary shelters, and the authorities should have volunteers, doctors and social workers at the ready. 


Golan also proposes that lists be made of families willing to take people in. Underground areas like parking garages should also be considered for housing, as would tent cities in nature reserves, and even low-risk army bases. 


Preparing settlements to take in people fleeing high-risk areas will involve closer links between the Israeli army and local authorities, a process that has been underway since the Second Lebanon War. Sixty-eight settlements will take part in next week’s drill.


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