Explosion in Beirut
Explosion in BeirutREUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

If Hezbollah doesn't remove the rockets and missiles it has embedded in Beirut and other populated areas of Lebanon, those areas will be turned into moonscapes, which will make Gaza, by comparison, seem like Paradise.

To be clear:

We won't turn those areas into a moonscape as punishment.

We will do this because the rockets and missiles are so deeply embedded inside the civilian population that even precision attacks will level the areas.

We have no choice.

The devastation we could suffer in a full-scale battle with Hezbollah is unprecedented.

The Israeli authorities are starting to provide a glimpse of what we are facing, and the public is reacting.

We are being warned to expect no electricity for days, and that some areas may have no power for many weeks.

The Ministry of Health is scrambling to arrange solutions for the many tens of thousands of Israelis who rely on oxygen concentrators to survive.

People are buying battery systems that include solar panels to recharge them.

And since the telephone system and mobile towers will crash in areas with extended blackout periods, many who must maintain constant contact with the world are buying telephones and modems that communicate via satellite.

It is finally sinking in that when this full-scale battle takes place, we will not have the resources to even attempt to intercept rockets and missiles on the way to hitting non-strategic targets.

Indeed, it is a nightmare scenario.

But a real one.

There is ultimately only one way to prevent the massive destruction of areas of major Lebanese cities, and that is for Hezbollah to remove the rockets and missiles embedded in those areas.

I say "ultimately" because even if there is some kind of deal that pulls back Hezbollah from our border, those rockets and missiles will continue to be a clear and present danger.

The only question is if on "judgment day," our leadership chooses to take the initiative in a surprise attack, which will save thousands of Israeli lives and a huge chunk of our economy.

Because that is the difference in the destruction we will endure between a surprise Israeli attack and an Israeli response.

And I will add an important note: if we are as clueless about Hezbollah as it turned out we were clueless about Hamas, then this makes weighing the options that much more difficult for our policymakers.

Dr. Aaron Lerner heads Independent Media Review Analysis., founded with his late father Joseph in 1982