columnIsrael at War

Hezbollah and the weakness of the West

Israel faces an existential battle and the West sleeps on.

A television in Beirut, Lebanon transmits a speech by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, Jan. 5, 2024. Credit: Marwan Tahtah/Getty Images.
A television in Beirut, Lebanon transmits a speech by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, Jan. 5, 2024. Credit: Marwan Tahtah/Getty Images.
Fiamma Nirenstein
Fiamma Nirenstein was a member of the Italian Parliament (2008-13), where she served as vice president of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the Chamber of Deputies.

The weakness of the Western world was conclusively demonstrated last week when the United States told its citizens to leave Lebanon due to the risk of war between Israel and Hezbollah. The preferred response to such a threat, the West seems to think, is to run away.

In this, the Biden administration followed in the footsteps of several other countries, including Germany, Canada and Holland. Rather than face down the bullying of a terrorist army directed by the terrorist state of Iran, the West chose to flee.

This is despite the fact that from the moment of the Oct. 7 massacre, Hezbollah has been attacking a Western ally—Israel. As a result, residents of Israel’s north have had to be evacuated. Israel’s soldiers found themselves defending their country tirelessly on two fronts.

Nor did the West appear to consider that a strong stance against Hezbollah might prevent the possible destruction of the beautiful land of Lebanon—now held hostage by the Hezbollah terrorists.

No one, in short, wanted to use the West’s still considerable power to face down pure evil. Everyone chose to cower in the face of Hezbollah’s hate and violence. They did not even dare to speak a word against the monstrous organization.

Ironically, this cowardice violates the very international law the West claims to revere. After the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, the United Nations approved Resolution 1701. It demanded that Hezbollah withdraw from the Israeli border area to the Litani River. Hezbollah’s odious presence was to be replaced by the Lebanese army and the peacekeeping force UNIFIL.

Needless to say, the cowering before the bullies began immediately. Hezbollah ignored the resolution and the world did nothing. The border continued to be the epicenter of the Hezbollah threat to Israel. Underground there are dense networks of tunnels. Missile launchers have been placed in numerous civilian areas. All in total violation of international law.

Yet the world is interested in its own laws only when they can be used to defame the Jewish state and exploited to “restrain” Israel’s military response to existential threats.

It is difficult to predict what will happen now. What is certain is that Israel cannot continue to tolerate the current situation. There are hundreds of thousands of evacuees. Cities like Kiryat Shmonah have been abandoned. Kibbutzim and numerous villages stand empty. So do houses, schools, offices, research centers and medical clinics. Local agriculture is in ruins.

Unlike Hezbollah, Israel values human life. The world does not understand that when Defense Minister Yoav Gallant says that Israel is ready for war and Lebanon will face terrible suffering if it happens, he does not do so lightly. But he also cannot do otherwise. If he does not, Israel is in existential danger from a monster far worse than Hamas.

This is the situation. Hezbollah has created it. It is a battle of life and death, us or them. Is this not enough to finally awaken a sleeping West?

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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