OpinionIsrael at War

The US must support Israeli retaliation against Hezbollah

Actions that weaken Hezbollah also weaken Iran, which is in America's and the world's interest.

Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah in Beirut on May 8, 2023. Credit: Mohammad Kassir/Shutterstock.
Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah in Beirut on May 8, 2023. Credit: Mohammad Kassir/Shutterstock.
Jason Shvili
Jason Shvili
Jason Shvili is a contributing editor at Facts and Logic About the Middle East (FLAME), which publishes educational messages to correct lies and misperceptions about Israel and its relationship to the United States.

As Israel fights to destroy Hamas in the south, a far greater nightmare for the Jewish state looms on its northern border. Hezbollah, a heavily armed Iranian proxy terror group, has been raining rockets and other munitions into Israel from Lebanon on a near daily basis since Oct. 7. Hezbollah has made a huge section of Israel’s north unliveable—forcing more than 80,000 citizens from their homes—and effectively shrinking the size of the Jewish state.

These terrorists, claiming a force of 100,000 fighters, have already killed more than two dozen Israeli civilians and soldiers, damaged hundreds of homes and burned thousands of acres of land.

Hezbollah, like Hamas and other Iran proxies, is committed to the destruction of Israel. Hamas actually based its Oct. 7 attack on Israel on plans Hezbollah drew up to invade the Jewish state from the north.

Hezbollah, however, possesses military capabilities superior by an order of magnitude to Hamas. In fact, Hezbollah is arguably the best armed non-state group in the world. According to an assessment by the Israel Defense Force (IDF), it has the potential, if unchecked, to overrun northern Israel, which could result in atrocities far worse than those of Oct. 7.

To prevent such a catastrophe and ensure that Israeli refugees from the north can finally return to their homes, Israel will soon be forced to launch a major offensive against the terrorist group, similar to its operation against Hamas in Gaza. As with Gaza, it behooves the U.S. to support Israel’s defensive actions robustly in order to deter Iran from further aggression and restore America’s credibility as a reliable Middle East ally and global leader.

Hezbollah is a far more dangerous enemy than Hamas. Its leader, Hassan Nasrallah, has repeatedly vowed to destroy the Jewish state. In 2005, for example, he said of Israel, “It is an aggressive, illegal and illegitimate entity, which has no future on our land. Its destination is manifested in our motto, ‘Death to Israel.’” According to the Wilson Center, Hezbollah has also threatened to destroy U.S. “hegemony” in the Middle East. These threats, of course, are similar to those made by Hamas, Iran and other Iranian proxies.

Unlike Hamas, however, Hezbollah’s arsenal is larger and deadlier. While Hezbollah’s claim of 100,000 fighters may be an exaggeration, think-tank estimates put it at 60,000, which is still formidable and far larger than Hamas’s approximately 40,000 terrorists pre-Oct. 7.

In terms of armaments, while Hamas and Islamic Jihad were thought to have 15,000 to 20,000 rockets before the current war, Hezbollah is estimated to have between 100,000 and 200,000 rockets and missiles, including projectiles that can reach anywhere in Israel and can be precisely targeted at Israeli military bases, power plants, airports and hospitals.

While Israel’s anti-missile defense systems, such as Iron Dome, can shoot down most of these projectiles, some would inevitably get through to their targets. The IDF estimates that even with its anti-missile defenses, Israel may sustain 1,500 “effective” attacks per day—meaning attacks that strike its populated areas and vital infrastructure targets.

Hezbollah also boasts an elite force of commandos, the Radwan Force, composed of 2,500 or more fighters. This unit was specifically designed to launch a full-scale invasion of Israel.

Hezbollah presents an immediate existential threat to the Jewish state. One month before the Oct. 7 massacre, during an internal seminar at the IDF’s Northern Command, the commander of the 300th Brigade warned that Hezbollah could overrun many villages and army bases in the north.

To invade Israel, Hezbollah would likely use its vast tunnel system, which IDF Brig. Gen. (res.) Ronen Manelis described as “ten levels above anything we have come across in Gaza.”

Eric Mandel, senior security editor for The Jerusalem Report, who has visited some of Hezbollah’s tunnels, wrote last December that the group likely has undetected tunnels that would allow hundreds of terrorists to enter Israel within minutes in a surprise attack at multiple locations, which would cause terror on a much greater scale than what took place on Oct. 7.

Full U.S. support for Israel’s fight against Hezbollah weakens Iran, which is a mortal enemy of America and Israel. Israel is America’s—and the world’s—only ally that stands up to Iran and its proxies directly. The U.S. should fully support Israel if it launches a major assault against Hezbollah, as it most surely will. Unfortunately, however, Team Biden seems to be pressuring Israel not to harm Iran and its proxies just as they have discouraged Israel from destroying Hamas in Gaza.

In fact, if not for the Biden administration, Israel may have already launched a full-scale assault on Hezbollah. There are reports that immediately after the Oct. 7 massacre, Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the U.S. would not support a major assault against Hezbollah. As a result, the IDF shelved its plans to attack the terrorist group.

By defeating Hezbollah, Israel helps the U.S. check Iran’s drive for nuclear weapons. Iran clearly sees Hezbollah as its main deterrent to prevent Israel from attacking the Islamic Republic and its nuclear program. Thus, defeating Hezbollah would bolster the efforts of the U.S. and Western nations to halt Iran’s growth as a nuclear power. Furthermore, U.S. support of Israel against Hezbollah would enhance America’s standing as a reliable ally.

Iran, through its puppet Hezbollah, is forcing Israel into another war it doesn’t want and didn’t choose.

Israel’s war against Iran is also America’s war since Israel is the only ally that militarily protects U.S. Middle East interests.

This means President Joe Biden’s often equivocal support of Israel—despite claims it is “ironclad”—will soon be tested again. It will serve the U.S. to give Israel 100% support when the Jewish state is forced to launch a more rigorous defense against Hezbollah. Remember: Actions that weaken Hezbollah also weaken Iran, strengthening the U.S. and the world.

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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