Israel may become ‘uninhabitable’ in Hezbollah war: official

An Israeli official said that the country is not prepared for a full scale war with Hezbollah [Getty]

Israel would become “uninhabitable” after 72 hours if a full-scale war was to break out with Hezbollah, a senior Israeli electricity official has said.

The official, who is the head of the company that plans Israel’s electrical systems, issued the warning on Thursday, but later backtracked, according to The Times of Israel.

“We are not in a good situation, and we are not prepared for a real war. We are living in a fantasy,” Shaul Goldstein, head of the Independent System Operator Ltd said.

He added that they would not be able to promise electricity if there was a war.

“After 72 hours without electricity, it will be impossible to live here. We are not prepared for real war,” he reiterated during a conference in the city of Sderot near the Gaza Strip.

In the meeting, he was quizzed as to if he would be able to guarantee if there would be continuous power in case of any emergencies.

Goldstein responded by saying that Beirut’s power grid is largely identical to Israel’s and could easily be damaged if the call is made to destroy the country’s power grid.

The comments dominated headlines in Israeli media and forced Goldstein to say that he misspoke after government officials condemned his remarks.

“I made irresponsible remarks that I shouldn’t have,” he told the Israeli Kan broadcaster.

The chief executive officer of the Israel Electric Company, Meir Shpilger, said Goldstein’s comments were “irresponsible [and] detached from reality”, distancing the company from his comments and prediction.

Eli Cohen, the energy minister, also lambasted Goldstein’s remarks on X.

“The State of Israel will not be left in the dark. The odds of a power outage lasting days are very low,” he posted on X, adding that Israel can generate electricity from a variety of sources and stating they have “huge reserves of coal”.

In a series of posts, he also issued Lebanon with a stark warning following a speech from the head of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah.

“If there will be an hours-long power outage in Israel, there will be a months-long power outage in Lebanon,” he said.

Israeli officials in recent weeks have escalated rhetoric as Hezbollah’s attack in northern Israel grow bolder. On Tuesday night they said they had approved an “operational plan” for an offensive in Lebanon.

Over 100,000 Israeli residents have been displaced from their homes in the north since October, putting pressure on the Israeli government to restore calm along the border.

Nasrallah said this week that Hezbollah did not want a full-scale war with Israel, but instead was fighting to put pressure on Israel to reach a ceasefire in Gaza.

He also clarified that if Israel were to start a war in Lebanon, that “there will be no place in the territory of the enemy [Israel] that will not be reached by our missiles.”

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