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Former Trump aide warned of 'existential' Hezbollah threat to Israel

 Israeli officials and defense contractors privately acknowledge that a war with Hezbollah would likely lead to an overwhelming and indefensible barrage of rocket fire deep into the country.
By Michael Wilner

A former senior adviser on Middle East policy to US President Donald Trump was preoccupied by the growth of Hezbollah and the threat it poses to Israel, according to Bob Woodward, a veteran journalist out with a new book this week on the Trump White House.

The official, Derek Harvey, reportedly brought his concerns to Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior adviser tasked with jump-starting the Middle East peace process.

“Harvey’s number-one worry in the Middle East was Hezbollah,” according to Woodward, who notes of Hezbollah's massive stockpile of precision-guided rockets amassed since its 2006 war with Israel and provided by Tehran. Should war break out, Harvey warned that Israel's airfields would be targeted, and that “Israel’s defenses of Iron Dome, David’s Sling and Arrow missiles would be inadequate” defenses.

Israeli officials and defense contractors, which provide batteries for the missile defense systems, privately acknowledge that a war with Hezbollah would likely lead to an overwhelming and indefensible barrage of rocket fire deep into the country. Such a war would therefore ramp up quickly, they say, so that Israel could destroy as much of Hezbollah's stockpile as quickly as possible.

Harvey was convinced that level of violence and destruction in such a conflict would existentially challenge Israel, potentially compelling US forces to intervene. “An Iranian-Israeli conflict would draw in the United States and unhinge efforts to bring regional stability,” Woodward writes.

Harvey left the White House in the summer of 2017.

Woodward's book, Fear: Trump in the White House, catalogues the first two chaotic years of the Trump administration.
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