Hezbollah has announced compliance with the four-day truce between Israel and Hamas for a prisoner exchange, reaffirming its direct involvement in the Gaza conflict.
While Hezbollah is currently observing the ceasefire with minor violations, it remains a formidable threat to Israel, surpassing even Hamas in its potential danger.
The “Radwan” force did not attack Israeli settlements on the Lebanese border directly.
Still, it prompted 60 thousand Israeli citizens to evacuate, and their return is uncertain until the Israeli government ensures the removal of the “Radwan” force beyond the Litani River and Lebanon’s adherence to UN Resolution 1701.
A decisive victory over Hamas in the Gaza Strip is crucial for Israel to destroy its military infrastructure and eliminate its leaders, thereby enhancing deterrence against Hezbollah.
Despite the U.S. advising against opening a new front with Lebanon, Israel has deployed approximately 100,000 soldiers on the Lebanese border, with two-thirds of the Israeli Air Force ready for potential action against Hezbollah, pending political guidance.
Recently, Israel urged the UN Security Council to fully implement UN Resolution 1701, warning that failure to do so and allowing Hezbollah’s “Radwan” force to remain on the border could escalate into a regional war.
Israel is initiating political efforts to prepare the international community for the possibility of a conflict on its northern border with Hezbollah once the Gaza Strip situation is resolved.
Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, has not responded to Israel’s demands yet, possibly waiting to assess Israel’s post-ceasefire actions.
If Hamas’s rule in Gaza appears threatened, Nasrallah might escalate hostilities to thwart Israel’s expected victory over Hamas.
Israel will need to act politically and militarily to achieve specific goals:
- Prevent the return of Hezbollah’s “Radwan” force to its previous positions in southern Lebanon.
- Expand UNIFIL’s mandate and deploy forces in sensitive areas along the border, granting them authority to enter villages in southern Lebanon.
- Move “Radwan” forces beyond the Litani River to eliminate the threat to Israeli citizens on the border.
- Distance armed Palestinian factions from southern Lebanon.
Post-Gaza conflict, Israel is unwilling to return to the precarious security situation along the Lebanese border and must devise a strategy to persuade the U.S. that a change is imperative, aligning with American plans towards the Palestinian Authority.
The U.S. aims to maintain calm on the Israel-Lebanon border, supporting the election of a Lebanese president.
Hezbollah sources claim the U.S. is endorsing the candidacy of General Joseph Aoun, the Lebanese army commander, in collaboration with France.
In the coming weeks, Israel faces a substantial challenge that necessitates a comprehensive solution to secure its borders and maintain stability in the region.