Defense Minister Amir Peretz said yesterday that Israel is establishing a security zone close to the border with Lebanon which will be clean of Hizballah fighters and weapons.
The meaning of a “virtual” security zone is that the Israeli Army will protect this area with firepower and with limited ground incursions. The purpose of this zone is to prevent Hizballah from returning to the international border with Israel and conduct firefights and kidnappings like they have in the past.
Officials at the Defense Minister’s office were adamant that this zone does not mean a ground occupation, but limited incursions of ground forces. In any case the holding of such a zone will be temporary and Israel will return to the international border as soon as a multinational force will take control of the area.
The zone will range between 500 and 1500 meters from the fence depending on the topography of the land. Israel Defense Forces engineering forces are already working in the area in order to dismantle the existing Hizballah infrastructure.