Understanding Israel’s Threats of War with Hezbollah – Qassam Muaddi 6/21/24

Source; Mondoweiss.net

Hezbollah spent the past decade accumulating military and political power to deter Israel from attacking Lebanon. But recent escalations threaten to start a war no one wants because the U.S. won’t force Israel to stop the genocide in Gaza.

The southern Lebanese border has reached its highest point of tension since October 7. Both Hezbollah and Israel have escalated threats of all-out war, and now it seems that it might be an actual possibility.

On Thursday, June 20, CNN quoted unnamed U.S. officials saying that Israel had informed Washington of its plans to transfer military equipment to the northern border ahead of a war with Lebanon. The reports came a day after Hezbollah’s secretary general, Hasan Nasrallah, delivered a speech threatening that the Lebanese group would “fight without limits or restraints in the event that a war is imposed on Lebanon.”

Nasrallah gave his speech during a ceremony marking a week since the killing of Taleb Abdallah, a Hezbollah senior commander. Abdallah was assassinated in an Israeli airstrike on a southern Lebanese town, to which Hezbollah responded by launching the largest yet series of rocket attacks from Lebanon since October when hostilities between both parties began. Over 250 rockets and dozens of guided drones struck Israeli positions in the Galilee, causing widespread fires over thousands of miles in the area.

As Israeli officials called for a war against Hezbollah, the Lebanese group released ten-minute-long drone footage on Monday, June 17, showcasing strategic Israeli facilities in the Haifa area, including arms factories, oil and chemical warehouses, power plants, warships, the Haifa seaport, and crowded residential areas.

This latest escalation followed a visit of U.S. special envoy Amos Hockstein, who met Lebanese and Israeli officials in an attempt to defuse the situation on the southern Lebanese border. Hockstein proposed a plan that includes a withdrawal of Hezbollah’s forces to the north of the Litani River and a definitive drawing of borders between Israel and Lebanon.

Hochstein’s proposal is, in essence, an attempt to dissociate the hostilities on the Lebanese border from the ongoing genocide in Gaza, to which Hezbollah is fundamentally opposed. This has led Hezbollah to tie the cessation of hostilities to Israel’s reaching of a ceasefire with Hamas. Hockstein’s plan, in contrast, would have Israel relieved from Lebanese pressure by tackling Lebanon’s own unresolved issues with Israel, especially the issue of borders.

Israel’s unresolved problems with Lebanon

Hezbollah is the main force leading the larger Lebanese resistance movement, which officially started after the withdrawal of PLO forces from Beirut and the entry of Israeli forces to the Lebanese capital in September 1982. At the time, the “Lebanese National Resistance Front” was formed, comprised of leftist and pan-Arab parties who began an armed campaign against Israeli forces. Hezbollah’s name wasn’t known to the public yet.

After the Lebanese Civil War ended in 1990, all Lebanese forces who took part in it agreed to disarm, including those forming the resistance front. While some communist and nationalist guerrilla units remained active in the occupied Lebanese south, the force that began to receive major support from both Syria and Iran was the Shiite Islamic Resistance of Lebanon and its political wing, Hezbollah. By 1992, Hezbollah was basically the only force fighting Israeli occupation south of the Litani….

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