Why Israel-Hezbollah tensions risk boiling over now
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Why Israel-Hezbollah tensions risk boiling over now

There has been a rise of jewishtelegraph.co of the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah, the Iran-backed Islamist group in Lebanon after months of low-intensity clashes. This escalation has prompted the Israel Defense Forces to caution about a “big war” at its northern front.

According to over eight months of exchanges, the Israeli side may feel the necessity to respond to the developments on the Northern front without delay. While both parties’ decline to commit to a total war, the experts agree that the chances of full-scale conflict have risen.

Here’s what we know:

Why are Israel and Hezbollah fighting?

Lebanon and Israel have had a standing conflict that can be considered as a state of warfare for almost three decades. In 1982 Israel embarked on a major incursion into Lebanon and got as far as Beirut because of aggressive acts by Palestinian guerrillas based in the country. Israel then remained in the south of Lebanon for 22 years before they were forced out by Hezbollah which had emerged from the debris of the invasion.

Hezbollah is a Lebanese political-military faction backed by Iran, famous for possessing efficient military wings. This “resistance” group is committed to fighting against Israel, which in turn is known as an enemy by Lebanon. Numerous countries of the West consider Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

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After then the two sides have been firing at each other occasionally, however in 2006 the situation became much worse when Israel began a war in southern Lebanon resulting from Hezbollah’s action of kidnapping two Israeli soldiers. More than a thousand persons died in Lebanon, primarily non-combatants, whereas 49 Israelis – both civilians and soldiers – and 121 soldiers perished in the strife. Two years later, it got the remains of the kidnapped soldiers in exchange for Lebanese and Palestinian detainees in Israel and bodies of militants in the custody of the Israeli authorities.

The previous fighting between Israel and Hezbollah emerged after Hamas attacked Israel on the 7th of October, leading to the killing of 1,200 Israelis and abducting 250 citizens, as claimed by Israel. The unbearable situation led Israel to declare war in the Hamas-controlled Gaza strip: most of the buildings in the area were destroyed, and more than 37,000 Palestinians perished. As it has been mentioned earlier, the group recently was fighting against the Israelis to support Palestinian brethrens in Gaza.

Hezbollah’s rockets’ accuracy for the last several years were rather outdated Soviet made Katyusha rockets which were used during the 2006 Lebanon War. The current Hezbollah leader Seyed Hassan Nasrallah boasts the organization possesses more than one hundred and ten thousand full-time and reserve fighters, and Hezbollah possesses approximately one hundred and fifty thousand rockets, which could bury the Israelis in an extensive, all-out war.

Why are tensions flaring up now?

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He stated that the tension along the Israel–Hezbollah frontier has gradually been escalating since October 7 The source Heiko Wimmen, Project Director for Iraq, Syria, & Lebanon, at the International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based think tank. He only has to depict it as gradual where things steadily grow worse, which may be signified by the phrase ‘slow-motion escalation,’ which means that a process ascends, however minutely, at a slow pace.

More recently, it has escalated to near overt hostilities by the reporting of battles across the border, which are frequent and growing in intensity. Wimmen [acknowledges] an increase in intensity, particularly in terms of fatalities and Hezbollah’s use of newfangled weapons and ammunition.

In the recent week there was a strike from Hezbollah on a village in the northern part of Israel in which a reservist was killed, making up to 19 reservists killed. Hezbollah answered this aggression by eliminating one of its most important leaders, Talib Sami Abdulla, in southern Lebanon. In a statement about the incident, the IDF claimed that Abdulla was guilty of numerous strikes on Israeli citizens in the course of numerous years. Hezbollah responded to the attack by firing over 200 rockets towards Israel on Wednesday, and another lesser scale rocket attack on Thursday.

Hezbollah expert and lecturer at Cardiff University Amal Saad said more about the fact that the Hezbollah increase in fighting has dramatically shifted from previous skirmishes since October 8. During the State of the Nation Address, LoZeta pointed out that this stage is not only for repl;y to Israelis’ attacks and reversing the situation of deterrence but it is also for delivering new messages and tactics, which she explained in X on June 5.

The conflict has become obvious and hard to overlook according to Wimmen, However, the conflict has slowly moved topside and cannot be overlooked anymore. For this reason, Israeli officials are compelled to react primarily owing to the calls issued by the far-right members within Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s administration. I was interviewed by CNN’s Clara Chafin, and among others, Ronni Shaked of the Truman Institute at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem said that there are circles in the government and the Israeli army that want to act in the north because people cannot continue living like this.

New players have joined the fight and armed confrontation exists between two nations across the border. Hezbollah first fired a Falaq 2 rocket at an army installation in northern Israel on June 8th, as part of a limited missile strike.An upgraded variant of the Falaq 1, the Falaq 2 is an entirely novel, longer-range Iranian rocket with a larger warhead.

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Compared to its predecessor, the Iranian-made Falaq 2 rocket has a larger warhead and a longer range. Meanwhile, Israeli soldiers on the border with Lebanon have employed a catapult, a rare military tool since the 16th century. This trebuchet, featuring a rotating arm with a sling for launching projectiles, has been used to hurl fireballs into Lebanese territory, likely to burn shrubbery and aid in identifying militants. According to Israeli public broadcaster and CNN affiliate Kan, the IDF described the catapult as “a local initiative” not widely adopted.

Statements from Both Sides

Both sides have issued fiery rhetoric, but experts believe neither wants a full-scale war. In December, Netanyahu warned that Beirut would become like Gaza if Hezbollah initiated a total war. However, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich recently downplayed the likelihood of a broader conflict, stating that the IDF does not wish to escalate the situation to eliminate Hezbollah. The military, he said, does not currently want to launch a northern attack, defeat Hezbollah, and create a security zone.

Netanyahu declared that Israel was prepared for “very intense action” in the north last week while on a visit to the northern city of Kiryat Shmona, which is close to the Lebanese border. “Whoever thinks they can hurt us so badly that we will sit idly by has committed a big mistake,” he said. “One way or another, we will get back security to the north.”

Naim Qassem, the second-in-command of Hezbollah, told Al Jazeera that the organization did not consider Israel’s recent threats to be very serious. We have made the decision to avoid expanding the conflict and to avoid a full-scale war.. But if it is imposed on us, we are ready and won’t retreat,” Qassem said, adding that Hezbollah would cease its attacks on Israel once the Gaza war ends.

Likelihood of Full-Scale War

Experts caution that while neither side may intentionally start an all-out war, escalating actions could inadvertently trigger one. According to Joost Hiltermann of the International Crisis Group, it seems improbable that Israel and Hezbollah will deliberately want to initiate hostilities. However, the likelihood of an unintentional escalation increases with the intensity of the battle, the depth to which each side attacks, and the weight of the weapons deployed.

Netanyahu faces significant pressure from both the opposition and coalition members to take action in the north, especially given the displacement of many Israelis. The IDF reported that more than 53,000 Israelis have been forced to leave their homes in the north. Additional evacuations occurred this week in the Galilee region following rocket attacks from Lebanon, Israeli police said.

In Lebanon, over 94,000 people have been displaced from areas near the Israeli border since the conflict began, according to the Lebanese Ministry of Public Health.

Israeli far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir called for the destruction of all Hezbollah strongholds, stating, “War!” Opposition leader Yair Lapid criticized the government, saying: “The north goes up in flames and Israeli deterrence burns with it. The government has no plan for the day after in Gaza, no plan to return the residents to the north, no management, no strategy. A government of total abandonment.”

The US has warned against escalation, concerned it could spiral out of control. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller expressed the United States’ “incredible concern” about the risk of escalation and noted ongoing diplomatic efforts to prevent the conflict from escalating beyond control.

Shaked, a scholar from the Truman Institute, suggested that despite Hezbollah’s claims of supporting Gaza, its actions are likely closely coordinated with its ally Iran, given the high stakes. Hezbollah, Iran’s most effective non-state partner, could draw both the Islamic Republic and the United States into a wider conflict. Israel and Iran nearly went to war in April after unprecedented direct attacks on each other’s soil.

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