A member of the Israeli war government says the chance for a diplomatic settlement with Hezbollah is getting low. The fighting along the Israel-Lebanon border is intensifying between the IDF and Hezbollah. The Lebanese militant group conducted its heaviest barrage of northern Israel on Wednesday.
Senior Israeli minister Benny Gantz indicated that Tel Aviv is preparing for a war with Hezbollah. “The situation on Israel’s northern border demands change,” Gantz said. “The stopwatch for a diplomatic solution is running out, if the world and the Lebanese government don’t act in order to prevent the firing on Israel’s northern residents, and to distance Hezbollah from the border, the [Israeli military] will do it.”
Fighting along the border broke out after Israel began its historically brutal military operations in Gaza. Hezbollah says its attacks on Israel are to force the IDF to split its army between Gaza in the south and its northern border with Lebanon.
On both sides of the war, civilians have been killed. The IDF is alleged to have committed a war crime by using US-supplied white phosphorus in southern Lebanon and intentionally killing a Reuters reporter.
Gantz’s remarks follow other Israeli officials’ comments explaining that Hezbollah must withdraw several miles from the border, or Tel Aviv will escalate its bombing of southern Lebanon. The US is pressuring Hezbollah to accept the Israeli demands. And earlier this month:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on a visit to troops near the border that Israel would “single-handedly turn Beirut and South Lebanon, not far from here, into Gaza and Khan Yunis” if Hezbollah started an all-out war.
Washington has also threatened to directly intervene if Israel is attacked over its genocidal war against Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip. However, the White House has applied pressure on Tel Aviv not to escalate the conflict with Hezbollah. The Joe Biden administration has steadfastly opposed using the $3.8 billion in military aid the US provides to Israel every year to get Tel Aviv to curtail its attacks on Gaza, Syria, or Lebanon.
The IDF conducted an airstrike on the home of a Hezbollah member on Tuesday night, killing two of his relatives. On Wednesday, Hezbollah responded by two large attacks on cities in northern Israel.
The Times of Israel reported, “Rockets fired from Lebanon pummeled the towns of Rosh Hanikra and the city of Kiryat Shmona.” The outlet said there were no other injuries.
Hezbollah fired more rockets and drones at Israel than it has in any previous day, according to a security source, which Israel’s army said it shot down. Meanwhile, Palestinian authorities reported dozens more deaths as Israel continued to pound Gaza https://t.co/9o36SQapZL pic.twitter.com/U73EUhI9B7
— Reuters (@Reuters) December 28, 2023
The Israeli war on Gaza has provoked groups across the Middle East to attempt to apply pressure on Tel Aviv and Washington to end the campaign to ethnically cleanse the Strip. The Houthis have stifled Red Sea shipping, Shia groups in Iraq and Syria have targeted American forces over 100 times, and Hezbollah has traded fire with Israel on a near-daily basis since October 7.
Thu, 12/28/2023 – 21:45