Israel Says It’s On “Brink” Of Wider War With Hezbollah

Anadolu/Getty Images: A plane tries to extinguish a fire after Hezbollah missile attacks on Safed city.

There’s been obvious escalation for several weeks at the Israel-Lebanon border, as we’ve been documenting. But on Sunday Israel’s military issued one of the most dire alarms yet, saying it is on the brink of a full-scale war with Hezbollah.

“Hezbollah’s increasing aggression is bringing us to the brink of what could be a wider escalation,” the Israeli military’s chief spokesman, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, warned. “We are committed to the diplomatic process, however Hezbollah’s aggression is bringing us closer to a critical point in the decision-making regarding our military activities in Lebanon.”

The statement was tailored largely in response to ongoing pressure from the Biden administration to avoid launching a bigger war at all costs.

The White House has repeatedly warned that escalation in Lebanon would neither be good for Israel nor for the region, and would risk a broader major war with Iran. There is also widespread acknowledgement that Hezbollah, the Shia paramilitary group backed by Iran, is much more powerful and better armed force than Hamas:

“Hezbollah is the crown jewel in the Iranian empire of terror and evil and is by far the most powerful Iranian proxy, equipped with nation state capabilities and even more firepower than several European countries have today,” former IDF spokesman Jonathan Conricus told Fox News.

“In a military comparison, Hezbollah is far more powerful than Hamas,” he added.

Earlier this month Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “Whoever thinks he can hurt us and we will respond by sitting on our hands is making a big mistake.” He had added at a time when massive fires were spreading in the north due to constant Hezbollah drone and missile attacks, “We are prepared for very intense action in the north.”

The past several days have seen hundreds more missiles and drones launched by Hezbollah onto northern Israeli bases and settlements.

White House adviser Amos Hochstein has been meeting with Netanyahu in Jerusalem Monday to talk about the escalating crisis. The NY Times described the backdrop as follows: “Hezbollah’s attacks have gradually intensified, with the group using larger and more sophisticated weapons to strike more often and deeper beyond the border. Both sides have refrained from engaging in full-blown war, but the tension has increased in the past week.”

Below is an interesting perspective on what’s really happening from Middle East researcher and historian Ori Goldberg

* * *

The Israeli military is the main force behind the public push towards a war with Lebanon. There are three reasons for this state of affairs. The first is the growing realization in the IDF that there will be no “victory” in Gaza. The “war” is an abysmal failure. …Israel convinced itself it could “eradicate” Hamas exclusively. Israel failed. Israelis don’t care about the death of Palestinian civilians.

So the lack of “victory” necessitates an alternative form of ״redemption”. This, the IDF believes, can be found in a “real” war. It will be difficult and costly, they say, but it will provide a clear sense of achievement. That is how you snap out of an existential funk.

The second reason for wanting war has to do with Israel’s strategic error – the decision to evacuate more than a 100000 civilians from our Northern border. They were evacuated under the false pretenses that Hizballah was about to invade and start a two-front war.

The IDF is now stuck. The civilians were told there was an impending invasion. How will they return home? How will the IDF fulfill its most basic duty in its own perception- defending Israeli civilians? The IDF can recommend negotiations with Lebanon. Not really.

The IDF does not believe in negotiations. It assumes Israel will, ultimately, have to go to war against Lebanon (remember, they all want to destroy us). The IDF can deploy more troops at the border to calm the civilians down. That is seen as expensive and impractical.

War is the only “option” on the table. It is “inevitable” (to be clear, I think Israel will not start a war). It is the only “resolution”. The third reason the IDF wants war is because the Israeli political system is beginning to break down across the board.

The citizens may agree with government policy (support for the genocide) but they don’t trust the government. The government itself is torn between settlers (pining for empire) and generals (focused on “military dominance), and is soing very little governing.

PM Netanyahu never accepts responsibility for his actions. He is a world class outsourcer of blame. The IDF knows that Netanyahu will blame the military leadership for the only “mistake” Israelis care about- the very occurrence of the October 7th massacre.

Nobody in Israel cares about the genocide. This is as astounding as it is true. Israeli want a scapegoat to “take responsibility” for what they perceive as the initial failure (no context or history preceding the massacre). Netanyahu wants to indict the military brass.

A war in Lebanon will vindicate the military there as well. As Israel implodes, they will be able to present a success. Lessons will have been learned and “order” restored. This is Israel now, so consumed with itself it thinks nothing of consuming everyone else.


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