Blind and deaf: how Israel lost the north

Indrajit Samarajiva, The Cradle, June 9, 2024 — 

Israel is under fire and on fire every day now. The Lebanese resistance has methodically eye-poked Israel’s intelligence outposts and is destroying them every day, on camera.

It’s fascinatingly boring how Hezbollah has decimated Israel’s “eyes and ears.” For months, the Lebanese resistance’s videos have been methodically mundane, blowing up this communication tower, that building, that listening station. 

It seemed like a bunch of nothing, but it adds up. Hezbollah had a list of Israel’s intelligence gathering posts in the north and has spent months methodically eye poking them, like Odysseus and the Cyclops. Now – however big the Israeli military might be – they’re effectively blinded.

Map shows the new buffer zone in the north, as reported by Haaretz

As Hezbollah opens bigger and bigger gaps in the occupation state’s air defenses, they can fire larger missiles with more frequency into Israel, with better and deeper penetration. For Israel, this attrition is a compounding problem. Their air defenses are a connected system and the network is increasingly returning 404. Take for example, the destruction of the $230 million dollar SKYDEW blimp/spy balloon.

This balloon is designed to detect low-flying drones and missiles, especially important as this is the vector most used by the Resistance. SKYDEW can stay up much longer – and is relatively cheaper – than planes, and can ‘see’ much further than ground-based systems. It was also placed in a highly strategic area that allowed them to cover attacks from Syria, Iraq and, to a lesser degree, from Hezbollah, specifically on the port of Haifa. But now the party’s over. Look at the balloon now:

SKYDEW is now shriveled and useless – a big loss, which also signals a big breakdown. As the SKYDEW ‘Target Card‘ (from Hezbollah intelligence) says, it was protected by an electronic monitoring and jamming system against drones and UAVs,” and “secured by three layers of missile interception systems: Iron Dome, David’s Sling, and Hetz [Arrow].” That all got sliced through like the layers of an onion, leaving Israeli defenses naked.

The northern front is porous now, as Israeli settlers know better than anybody. To quote Moshe Davidovitz, head of the Asher regional council: 

“Ten rockets fell in the center of the country and the media is in an uproar — the country is in turmoil,” he wrote. “But every day dozens of rockets are fired towards the confrontation line settlements and the Galilee, including anti-tank missiles and suicide drones, and the country remains silent. Once again, it’s proof that the north is not being counted.”

Meron Air Base, one of ‘Israel’s’ two main bases

Hezbollah of course, has counted the north. They have a list of Israeli military targets and they go through them one by one. Take, for example, the Mount Meron Air Surveillance Base, one of the two main bases in the occupation state. This is what a senior Israeli air force official says about the base, in a 2016 article by Maariv :

“The air control system is crucial for the operational capability of the Air Force. Its main duty is to protect the occupied airspace. Through the control system, we activate all capabilities to protect the sky, including helicopters, aircraft, missiles, and other classified systems.”

And this is what Hezbollah intelligence released, as they were bombing it:

Firstly, the Meron Air Surveillance Base is located on the summit of Mount Jarmaq [“Mount Meron”] in northern occupied Palestine, the highest peak in occupied Palestine. Meron Base is the sole center for administration, surveillance, and air control in the northern part of the usurping entity and there is no major alternative to it. It is one of two main bases in the entire usurping entity: “Meron” in the north, and the second being “Mitzpe Ramon” in the south.

The Meron Base is responsible for organizing, coordinating, and managing all air operations towards Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Cyprus, and the northern part of the eastern basin of the Mediterranean Sea. Additionally, this base is a main center for electronic jamming operations in the aforementioned directions and is staffed by a large number of elite officers and soldiers of the zionist forces.

Secondly, the fighters of the Islamic Resistance at 07:50 AM on Saturday, January 6, 2024, as a part of the preliminary response to the crime of assassinating the great leader Sheikh Saleh Al-Arouri and his martyr brothers in the southern suburb [Dahiyeh] of Beirut, targeted the Meron Air Surveillance Base with 62 missiles of various types, inflicting direct and confirmed hits.

Hezbollah has aired its attacks on Meron Air Base in countless videos now, and they have been relentless. It can get boring because the whole thing never fireballs, but each small hit adds up. Every time a hole in Israeli air defenses opens, the hole widens, because Hezbollah is damaging complex, interconnected systems.

Today, the Meron base can barely defend itself, let alone the region. Tel Aviv has responded by assassinating Hezbollah and allied leaders, but the resistance just name missiles after those martyrs and send more. 

This is a battle of attrition and Hezbollah is paying attention while Israel is mindlessly lashing out. Completely distracted by its brutal military assault on civilians in Gaza, in the south, Israel has lost the battle for the north.

After months of this boring de-administrative work, Hezbollah has finally arrived at the good stuff. The occupation state’s northern air defenses today are like a ragged old mosquito net that the dog chased the cat through. It’s full of holes, and big ones. Hezbollah can increasingly fire at will, with increasingly accurate weapons. For example, here is Hezbollah taking down a SKYSTAR 330 by drone-striking its Battalion 869 operator.

In this case, Hezbollah targeted not the spy balloon itself, but the balloon controllers, in three locations at the same timeWith the operators eliminated, the balloon drifted out of control, landing in Lebanon where some kids recovered it. This is the state of Israel’s eyes and ears in the north. They’re on the ground.

Iron ‘Done’

Israel has nothing worth calling an air-defense in the north anymore. The Iron Dome is done. Hezbollah can fire at will, and has for every single day for seven months now. Iraqi Resistance missiles are flying right over them, towards Haifa. Iran can overwhelm the entire national system whenever it wants. Israel can still offend the conscience, but they’re missile defenseless now. Even Hamas is hitting them, from within traumatized Gaza. It’s open season, and the settlers know it.

Israeli settlers openly bemoan their unsettled state all over the Hebrew press. Some were so pyrrhicly incensed they threatened to secede from the entire state and form the new State of Galilee. As The Jerusalem Post has said:

The straw that broke the camel’s back was the prime minister’s answer at the cabinet meeting to a question by Benny Gantz, as reported by N12. Gantz wondered if the residents would return to their homes on September 1, for the start of the school year, and Netanyahu replied, “What’s the worst that will happen if they return a few months after September 1?”

This is of course the worst that can happen. The entire premise of Israel’s decades of grooming international actors to accept and expect bad behavior from Tel Aviv is that they can do whatever they want. If the Iron Dome doesn’t work, Israel doesn’t work, and now the Iron Dome doesn’t work. It’s the Iron Sieve now. Holy warriors have poked it full of holes.

An Iron Dome batter targeted by Hezbollah

This is a huge problem because the Iron Dome is not just Israel’s physical defense mechanism, it’s their psychological defense mechanism. It’s what makes the whole colonial project believable, that they can bully everyone in the region and suffer no consequences. Belief in the ‘Iron Dome’ is belief in ‘Israel’ and neither is believable anymore. Thus the northern Jewish settlements have emptied out and they’re not coming back anytime soon. As the Resistance News Network (RNN) said (on May 29th):

930 settler houses in northern occupied Palestine have been damaged by Hezbollah rockets in 86 settlements since October 7th, according to the zionist Ministry of War.

In Al-Manara for example, 130 out of 155 houses were destroyed. Metulla has just 34 residents left in the settlement, at most. Kiryat Shmona, one of the largest (northern) settlements, has seen its population plummet from 24,000 to under 4,000, and 124 houses have been damaged within it.

This comes as over 200,000 settlers in the north are displaced by the resistance, having built their own refugee camp. Some want to secede from “Israel” and build their own state, while others, such as the settlement of “Margaliot” have severed their ties with the entity as of yesterday.

Perplexingly, the IOF reportedly plans to significantly cut down the number of soldiers it has on the northern border and nearby settlements, citing funding reasons, or perhaps to lessen the number of targets available to Hezbollah.

Let’s look at one example of Hezbollah eliminating one target, an Iron Dome battery. They systematically do this over and over. This report describes how Hezbollah first gets the battery to reveal itself by firing rubbish at it, then hits it with drones.

The exclusive footage reveals the monitoring and reconnaissance operations that enabled Hezbollah to uncover the positions of “Iron Dome” batteries stations near the settlement of “Kfar Blum” using a tactic called “fire luring.” 

The footage shows Hezbollah launching munitions toward the sites and documenting the interception process carried out by the Iron Dome, which enabled Hezbollah to execute a high-precision qualitative operation.
The scenes at 4:25 show a successful targeting of the Iron Dome batteries, without them being able to detect, track, or thwart the attack. Published photos also reveal Hezbollah’s intelligence penetration of the Israeli soldiers in these newly established sites, and their ability to document the geographical details and size of the fortifications used.

Hezbollah has done this over and over, methodically hunting and seeking Iron Dome batteries one by one. Given that the rest of their surveillance equipment is decimated and they can’t see what’s coming, Israel is forced to then draw its military assets even further from the border. Otherwise this is what happens:

This is the moment Hezbollah hits the garrison unit of Barkat Risha with an Iranian Almas top-attack ATGM [Anti-Tank Guided Missile]. ‘Unlike Hezbollah and Hamas, Israel has not spent the past 20 years tunneling underground, so their troops are all exposed without the Iron Dome. Take also, for example, the IOF’s 769th Brigade Headquarters, or what’s left of it.


The colonial project will shrink rapidly without air defenses. When the soldiers leave, the settlers have to leave. This is not a strategic retreat, it’s strategic defeat. This is not a solution, just dissolution. But it’s all Israel can do. It hasn’t simply lost control of the north, it has lost control of the tempo of this war. Hezbollah can keep turning the heat up until Israel is cooked. Behold Kiryat Shmona (occupied al-Khalisa), which was literally in flames a few days ago:

This is directly because the Iron Dome is not intercepting drones and Hezbollah has fire control of the whole region. Hence it burns. Settlers now see a “welcome” board that has literally melted. 

As Israel retreats further and further from its border with Lebanon, the collapse of the northern front also opens up the occupation state to attacks from Syria and Iraq, which can fly straight through. This is all causing massive psychological damage to Israel because the Iron Dome was their primary safety blanket. 

Hezbollah has reportedly destroying over 1,650 pieces of intelligence, surveillance and target acquisition (ISR) equipment since 8 October, 2023. The Lebanese resistance had an actual strategy while Israel was wildly bombing ambulances and homes with no military value. Now Israel has lost northern Palestine and it’s not coming back. 

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