Opinion

Israel Hayom

Israel faces complex decisions on Lebanon

The tunnel in question was supposed to allow ‎Hezbollah to realize Hassan Nasrallah's pledge to “liberate the ‎Galilee.”

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah (left) and Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in 2005. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah (left) and Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in 2005. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Yoav Limor
Yoav Limor
Yoav Limor is a veteran Israeli journalist and columnist for Israel Hayom.

The Hezbollah cross-border tunnel exposed on Tuesday ‎near the northern town of Metula is likely to become ‎a pilgrimage site in the next few weeks as ‎lawmakers, as well as foreign diplomats and ‎journalists, will all flock to see it. ‎

This is a golden opportunity for Israel to call out ‎Hezbollah on the international stage, and the powers ‎that be have no intention of letting this unique ‎public diplomacy asset go to waste—not when it can ‎illustrate so clearly what Israel has been saying ‎about Hezbollah’s extensive web of lies, its ‎operational plans and its ties to Iran. ‎

The tunnel in question was supposed to allow ‎Hezbollah to realize Hassan Nasrallah’s pledge to “liberate the ‎Galilee.”

Hezbollah lacks the operational prowess to do so, ‎and Israel was aware of plans by Hezbollah special ‎forces—the Raduan Brigades—to rush Israel Defense Forces’ posts or a ‎small border-adjacent community. But it seems the ‎tunnel was meant to help a Hezbollah contingent ‎sneak under the border and seize control of a part ‎of Highway 90 linking Metula to the rest of the ‎country, as other forces rush the Israeli town.‎

Hezbollah operates systematically, and most likely ‎managed its secret tunnel project in the same way, ‎ensuring any information about it within the ‎organization was on a need-to-know basis. This was a ‎highly compartmentalized endeavor, and as one ‎Israeli defense official said on Wednesday, “More ‎people on our side knew about it than on their ‎side.”‎

Hezbollah officials have remained mum since Tuesday. ‎The extensive evidence Israel has and is now ‎distributing to governments and media outlets ‎worldwide is indisputable, and is very embarrassing ‎not only for Hezbollah, but also for the Lebanese ‎government and the U.N. Interim Force in ‎Lebanon, as both were adamant that the group was not ‎operating near the Israeli border.‎

Still, Israel would be wise not to expect the United Nations ‎to revise Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 ‎Second Lebanon War and imposed various restrictions ‎on all parties involved. ‎

The United States will likely support such revisions, but ‎Russia will veto such a move. Israeli Prime Minister ‎Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to brief Russian ‎President Vladimir Putin on the issue soon.‎

Alongside the public diplomacy efforts, military ‎efforts on the ground will continue as well. Chances ‎for a potential border flare-up had significantly ‎diminished after the first day, but the IDF will ‎remain on high alert on the border for as long as ‎“Operation Northern Shield” is in play.‎

The real potential for a flare-up will surface after ‎all the tunnels are exposed and the IDF gears up to ‎destroy them, as Israel will have to decide whether ‎to destroy only the parts of the tunnels that are ‎Israeli territory or whether to step over the border ‎and eliminate their origins on Lebanese soil.‎

This is less important operationally because it is ‎doubtful whether Hezbollah will refocus its ‎attention on the tunnels anytime in the near future. ‎The main issue here is deterrence, or what risk ‎would Israel be willing to take given the near-certain need for military action against Hezbollah’s ‎precision-missiles facilities.

Yoav Limor is a veteran Israeli journalist and columnist for 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