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OpinionIsrael at War

It’s us or them: We can’t let Nasrallah determine our future

"Operation Focus 2024" should entail a massive surprise assault on Lebanon's state infrastructure and Hezbollah's military infrastructure.

An IAF helicopter evacuates Galilee residents wounded by a Hezbollah missile fired from Lebanon, Feb. 14, 2024. Photo by Ayal Margolin/Flash90.
An IAF helicopter evacuates Galilee residents wounded by a Hezbollah missile fired from Lebanon, Feb. 14, 2024. Photo by Ayal Margolin/Flash90.
Micha Lakin Avni. Credit: Dror Dray via Wikimedia Commons.
Micah Lakin Avni
Micah Lakin Avni is an Israeli attorney, businessman and activist.

Israel stands at a pivotal moment, with its actions against Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shi’ite terrorist organization, on the northern front poised to shape its geopolitical destiny and identity within the Middle East. The question looms large: Are we a sovereign regional force, or have we become a U.S. protectorate, navigating from one tactical operation to the next in search of fleeting peace?

Recent discussions have touched on the notion of “absolute victory,” a term that seems almost archaic, reminiscent of the Six-Day War some six decades ago—a landmark in military strategy that continues to be a subject of study worldwide. The decisive “Operation Focus,” which saw a surprise airstrike destroying the majority of Egypt’s, Syria’s and Jordan’s combat aircraft on the war’s first day, is a testament to the power of bold leadership and strategic foresight.

This victory was the product of the visionary planning and execution by Israeli Air Force commanders Motti Hod and Ezer Weizman, supportive oversight by IDF Chief of Staff Yitzhak Rabin, and courageous approval by Prime Minister Levi Eshkol. Such leadership dared to make a pivotal, risky choice, securing a deterrent triumph.

Yet, today’s leadership appears hesitant, particularly in formulating a decisive strategy against Hezbollah and its leader Hassan Nasrallah. A third Lebanon war, if it comes to pass, must be swift, devastating and conclusive, leveraging the element of surprise to unequivocally underscore Israel’s military prowess. It must be remembered as the last Lebanon war.

“Operation Focus 2024” should entail a massive surprise assault on Lebanon’s state infrastructure together with Hezbollah’s military infrastructure. Without delving into specifics, the operation should aim to comprehensively incapacitate Hezbollah’s civilian and military capabilities, including electricity, telecommunications and water systems, as well as missile arsenals, launch sites, and command and control centers.

The stark reality post-Oct. 7 underscores a chilling binary—it’s either us or them. The persistent violations by Hezbollah of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701 that ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War and the explicit threats against Israel’s existence reveal an adversary with which negotiation or agreement is futile.

Five key considerations underscore the urgency of a proactive, strategic military and political stance:

  1. Pre-emption vs. reaction: Failing to act leaves Israel vulnerable to surprise attacks that could wreak havoc on our infrastructure and disrupt our society, especially when least expected. Initiating action would afford us a critical advantage.
  2. Persistent conflict since Oct. 8: With daily assaults on communities and bases, northern Israel has descended into war, displacing approximately 100,000 residents and rendering the term “low-intensity conflict” obsolete.
  3. Economic and social fallout: The conflict’s toll on our economy and daily life in the north is escalating, casting the inevitability of escalation from a matter of “if” to “when.”
  4. U.S.-Israel relations: “Biden won’t allow us to attack,” “We need more munitions.” While concerns about U.S. approval and armament supply persist, true leadership transcends excuses. As someone who grew up and was educated in the United States, I know that Americans (and most of the world, for that matter) respect bold, principles-based leadership. An assertive move in the north, despite unavoidable international scrutiny and initial American dissatisfaction with the timing, will ultimately garner support absolute support. The Biden administration understands regional dynamics and is committed to countering Iran’s influence. While we may differ on the tactics and timing, the United States will have our back.
  5. A clear stand against Iran: With Iran edging closer to nuclear capability, targeting its primary proxy in Lebanon aligns with American interests. Despite the politicking of a U.S. election year, Israel must prioritize its sovereignty and regional deterrence.

The Israeli populace is acutely aware of the grave costs of a full-scale northern conflict but also recognizes the strategic benefit of pre-emptive action to mitigate damage. More than five months of inaction due to indecision and fear is unacceptable. An Israeli offensive is not only dictated by circumstance but also crucial in conveying a resolute message to our adversaries, surpassing any political calculus.

Israeli citizens have awoken to the new reality. Now, it is up to our decision-makers to act decisively.

Originally published by 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.
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