Opinion

Hezbollah and Lebanon are one and the same

It’s time for Israel to do away with the artificial distinction between the Iranian-backed Shi’ite terrorist group and the country harboring it.

Smoke rises from the village of Kfar Chouba in Lebanon after a confrontation between Hezbollah terrorists and the Israel Defense Forces on July 27, 2020. Photo by David Cohen/Flash90.
Smoke rises from the village of Kfar Chouba in Lebanon after a confrontation between Hezbollah terrorists and the Israel Defense Forces on July 27, 2020. Photo by David Cohen/Flash90.
Eyal Zisser
Eyal Zisser is a lecturer in the Middle East History Department at Tel Aviv University.

Israel has always made it a point to differentiate between its conflict with Hezbollah and its dealings with Lebanon, where the Iranian proxy dwells.

While there is a growing call in Lebanon to strip Hezbollah from its political power and weapons alike, it is still not loud enough to actually make that happen.

The regional circumstances have changed, but Israel’s artificial distinction between the Iranian-backed Shi’ite terrorist group and the country harboring it has remained binding.

It seems that Israel cannot fathom the fact that nowadays, there is a symbiotic relationship between Beirut and the viper nestled at its heart. Hezbollah wields enormous political power in Lebanon, where it virtually controls parliament and where the government cowers to the dictates of the Shi’ite terrorist group exploiting it to further its agenda.

One can understand why the Americans are willing to believe that Hezbollah and Lebanon are two separate entities, and there is no need to explain why the French and the Russians choose not to see reality as it is; but it is hard to understand why Israel is willing to all but defend the state harboring Hezbollah.

Israel must remember that despite the hubris displayed by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, his organization fears war with Israel, as it knows that the price it will be made to pay would be far more painful than the one it may exact from Israel.

Israel does not hesitate to exact a price from Damascus over any errant fire over the Israel-Syria border, thus sending Syrian President Bashar Assad a very clear message. Perhaps it is time to employ this policy where Beirut is concerned.

The Lebanese army does nothing to prevent Hezbollah’s operations and it may even be aiding them. This makes Lebanese forces a legitimate target for Israel.

Hezbollah is at its lowest point in decades and is more vulnerable than ever. There is no reason for Israel to be wary of it or let it have the upper hand. If anything, Israel must take advantage of its weakness to force it—and the Lebanese government—to adhere to new rules in the regional game.

Eyal Zisser is a lecturer in the Middle East History Department at Tel Aviv University.

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
You have read 3 articles this month.
Register to receive full access to JNS.

Just before you scroll on...

Israel is at war.

JNS is combating the stream of misinformation on Israel with real, honest and factual reporting. In order to deliver this in-depth, unbiased coverage of Israel and the Jewish world, we rely on readers like you.

The support you provide allows our journalists to deliver the truth, free from bias and hidden agendas. Can we count on your support?

Every contribution, big or small, helps JNS.org remain a trusted source of news you can rely on.

Become a part of our mission by donating today
Topics
Comments
Thank you. You are a loyal JNS Reader.
You have read more than 10 articles this month.
Please register for full access to continue reading and post comments.
Never miss a thing
Get the best stories faster with JNS breaking news updates