The former Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), General Gadi Eisenkot, sat down for an interview with the Israel Hayom newspaper on Saturday to discuss the 20th anniversary of the unilateral Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon.
In his interview, General Eisenkot said that Hezbollah had succeeded in its strategic goal with the Israeli army, which was to remove Israel from Lebanon through a guerrilla war and war of attrition campaign against the IDF.
Eisenkot affirmed that Hezbollah had succeeded, through a series of sophisticated military operations, in embarrassing the Israeli army and causing a number of deaths among the IDF, forcing it to leave Lebanon.
The former IDF chief explained that the long stay of the army in Lebanon (1982-2000) was a strategic mistake, and cost Israel a heavy price, noting that he agreed with the opinion of the former Prime Minister, Ehud Barak, of the necessity of getting out of Lebanon.
General Eisenkot indicated that Barak’s primary intention was to withdraw from southern Lebanon through an agreement with the Syrians and the Lebanese, but in the end he withdrew in a unilateral move that was condemned by some Israeli politicians.
In particular, Generl Eisenkot said that the withdrawal left behind a lot of equipment, which was later used to bolster the image in Lebanon of the IDF’s defeat.
Israel would later fight another major conflict with Hezbollah in 2006, which would prove to be costly, as Lebanon suffered several casualties and heavy material damage.