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OpinionIsrael at War

Gaza today, Lebanon tomorrow

The international community could prevent all-out war, but it chooses not to.

Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Hezbollah, in Beirut on May 8, 2023. Credit: Mohammad Kassir/Shutterstock.
Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Hezbollah, in Beirut on May 8, 2023. Credit: Mohammad Kassir/Shutterstock.
Gregg Mashberg
Gregg Mashberg is a member of the board of directors of the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism. Follow him on X @gregg_mashberg

The international community has found its voice. Israel’s military operation in the Gaza Strip following Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre has resulted in a hallelujah chorus of international condemnation of the destruction and loss of life in Gaza. The barbaric attack on Israeli civilians is receding further and further into memory as the international community follows the Hamas gameplan to demonize Israel for the human suffering in Gaza that Hamas set in motion.

Each outbreak of violence between Gaza and Israel since Hamas seized power over Gaza from the Palestinian Authority in 2007 has resulted in international condemnations of Israel followed by ceasefire agreements. Those agreements have done nothing to rein in, let alone destroy Hamas. While Israel has periodically “mowed the grass” in response to rocket attacks, Hamas has diverted international funds meant for reconstruction to build underground fortresses.

Hamas’s massacre and use of its own people as human shields were not seen for what they were: Jihad against the Jews that can never be satisfied by diplomacy, border adjustments or money. Western minds proved incapable of understanding this religious drive to rid “Islamic lands” of “infidel” control.

Oct. 7 was, as Hamas planned, a red line. Israel finally acted like any other sovereign nation and set out to destroy Hamas’s ability to make war on the Jews. Enough kicking the can down the road. Despite the current pause in fighting, that road ended on Oct. 7.

Where we would be now if, when Israel left the Strip in 2005, the Palestinians had created a civil, proto-Palestinian state there rather than a terror enclave? And where we would be now if the international community had stood up to Hamas when it staged its 2007 coup against the P.A.? And what if, rather than romanticizing Hamas terrorists as “protestors” during the “great march of return” attacks on the Israeli border with Gaza, the international community supported Israel rather than demonizing it?

Today’s suffering on both sides of the border is the result of this betrayal of decency and reality.

Recent history is very likely about to repeat itself on Israel’s northern border. There, Lebanon is controlled by another major Iranian proxy—Hezbollah. It too is a proud death cult whose reason for being is to destroy the Jews. Hezbollah has accumulated an arsenal of 150,000 rockets aimed at Israel, an increasing number of which are precision-guided. When Hezbollah started a war against Israel in 2006, Israel conducted limited air and ground operations during which there were significant Lebanese civilian casualties because, like Hamas, Hezbollah embeds itself and its weapons in civilian areas.

That conflict ended with U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701 that, among other things, called for Hezbollah to be disarmed and barred it from southern Lebanon, which borders Israel. But while the international community castigated Israel for its conduct of the 2006 war, it was all but silent as Hezbollah ignored 1701’s essential provisions. As Iran flooded Hezbollah with ever more advanced offensive weapons, the international community was silent.

For years, the threat of all-out war between Hezbollah and Israel, fueled by Iran, has been increasing with barely a whisper of protest from the U.N. Now, in the aftermath of Oct. 7, Hezbollah is mounting limited attacks on Israel as Israel shows restraint. But if full-scale war erupts, either now or in the future, the consequences for Lebanon and the Lebanese will be catastrophic, as Israel has warned. The devastation in Gaza may pale in comparison.

Why isn’t the U.N. going all-out to prevent history from repeating itself in Lebanon? Why isn’t the world demanding Hezbollah comply with 1701? Why isn’t the U.N. threatening further sanctions against Iran? Why isn’t the U.N. debating sending a military force to enforce 1701?

Just as it was speechless in the face of the inevitable carnage in Gaza, only to find its voice when Hamas launched a full-scale war, the international community is again silent in the face of the human disaster that may soon engulf Lebanon. As with Gaza, the international community will only spring into action when the civilian death toll creates another media feeding frenzy, providing an excuse to hypocritically excoriate Israel.

This downward slide towards war can be stopped. The international community can stop it. But that means confronting Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran in order to crush these proud death cults. If the international community can’t or won’t do that, then it will be clear that its condemnation of Israel is merely part of the jihadist gameplan. It will be clear that the international community continues to validate that plan. And it will be clear that the plan by no means stops with Israel.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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