Israel Allows the Biden Administration to Pursue a Political Settlement in Southern Lebanon

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) recommend that the political leadership conclude the military operation in Rafah promptly and refocus on the confrontation with Hezbollah on the northern border. Israel is acting cautiously, intending to let the Biden administration exhaust all political avenues with Lebanon. The administration is also keen on achieving a political settlement in southern Lebanon to avert a war that could significantly impact President Biden's election campaign.

Senior security officials indicate that the IDF advises the political leadership to end the Rafah area military operation soon and shift additional forces to the northern border, anticipating a large-scale military clash with Hezbollah.

They assert that Hezbollah only responds to force, necessitating increased military action to ensure the safe return of the tens of thousands of Israeli citizens evacuated from the northern border.

Conversely, political figures in Jerusalem argue that the IDF must fulfill its objectives in Rafah and should not halt the operation prematurely.

It appears that the IDF will intensify its actions in Rafah in response to Hezbollah’s escalation.

Security sources believe Hezbollah’s increased activity on the northern border is a reaction to the assassination of senior Hezbollah leader Taleb Abdullah, with Iran’s approval, aimed at disrupting the IDF’s Rafah operations and aiding Hamas.

Political sources in Jerusalem suggest that Israel prefers to achieve the removal of Hezbollah’s “Radwan” forces from the northern border and the implementation of UN Resolution 1701 through a political agreement mediated by the US, rather than through a significant military campaign.

Such a military operation would require occupying all of southern Lebanon, a move the IDF is prepared for but which the political leadership seeks to avoid.

The military operation against Hamas in Rafah is expected to continue for another month, according to the IDF.

Afterward, the political and security cabinet will convene to approve operational plans for southern Lebanon.

Prime Minister Netanyahu is exercising caution, wanting to allow the Biden administration to explore all political solutions with Lebanon. The administration also has a vested interest in a political settlement to prevent a war that could negatively affect President Biden’s election campaign.

Meanwhile, Israel will persist in its strategy of targeting Hezbollah’s senior commanders. Although this has not yet deterred Hezbollah or altered its strategy, security sources believe it is damaging the morale of Hezbollah fighters and the image of Hassan Nasrallah in the Arab world.

Security sources assert that after the IDF’s operation in Rafah concludes, Israel will establish a new stance against Hezbollah, hoping to secure stronger support from the Biden administration.

Yoni Ben Menachem Senior Middle East Analyst

About Yoni Ben Menachem

Yoni Ben Menachem is a Middle East senior analyst ,a journalist and
the former CEO of the Israel Broadcasting Authority(IBA). He has
decades of experience in written and video journalism. Ben
Menachem’s path in the media world began as a producer for
Japanese television in the Middle East. After that, he held many key
positions in the media The Israeli: CEO of the Israel Broadcasting
Authority, director of “Kol Israel” Radio, reporter on West Bank and
Gaza Strip affairs, political reporter and commentator, commentator
on Middle East affairs and editor-in-chief and presenter of the
program “Middle East Magazine”. 

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