How Israel Should Respond to Hizballah’s Most Recent Provocation

March 27 2023

Earlier this month, an operative working for, or in conjunction with, Hizballah snuck across the Israel-Lebanese border and planted a sophisticated explosive near the town of Megiddo, which killed a civilian when detonated. On Thursday, another Iranian proxy group launched a drone at a U.S. military base in Syria, killing a contractor and wounding five American soldiers. The former attack appears to be an attempt to change what Israeli officials and analysts call the “rules of the game”: the mutually understood redlines that keep the Jewish state and Hizballah from going to war. Nadav Pollak explains how he believes Jerusalem should respond:

Israel cannot stop at pointing fingers and issuing harsh statements. The Megiddo attack might have caused much more damage given the additional explosives and other weapons the terrorist was carrying; even the lone device detonated at Megiddo could have easily been used to destroy a larger target such as a bus. Moreover, Hizballah’s apparent effort to test (or shift) Jerusalem’s redlines on a dangerous frontier needs to be answered. If [the terrorist group’s leader Hassan] Nasrallah has misjudged Israel, then it is incumbent on Jerusalem to make this clear.

Unfortunately, the days of keeping the north quiet at any cost have passed, especially if Hizballah no longer believes Israel is willing to respond forcefully. The last time the organization perceived Israel to be weak was in 2006, and its resultant cross-border operations (e.g., kidnapping Israeli soldiers) led to a war that proved to be devastating, mostly to Lebanon. If Hizballah tries to challenge Israel again, Israel should be ready to take strong action such as targeting the group’s commanders and headquarters in Lebanon—even if this runs the risk of intense fire exchanges or war.

Relevant preparations for this option should include increased monitoring of Hizballah officials—overtly and covertly—and perhaps even the transfer of some military units to the north. Hizballah needs to know that Israel is no longer shying away from conflict, since this may be the only way of forcing the group to return to the old, accepted rules of the game and step down from the precipice of a war that it does not appear to want.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israeli Security

In the Aftermath of a Deadly Attack, President Sisi Should Visit Israel

On June 3, an Egyptian policeman crossed the border into Israel and killed three soldiers. Jonathan Schanzer and Natalie Ecanow urge President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to respond by visiting the Jewish state as a show of goodwill:

Such a dramatic gesture is not without precedent: in 1997, a Jordanian soldier opened fire on a group of Israeli schoolgirls visiting the “Isle of Peace,” a parcel of farmland previously under Israeli jurisdiction that Jordan leased back to Israel as part of the Oslo peace process. In a remarkable display of humanity, King Hussein of Jordan, who had only three years earlier signed a peace agreement with Israel, traveled to the Jewish state to mourn with the families of the seven girls who died in the massacre.

That massacre unfolded as a diplomatic cold front descended on Jerusalem and Amman. . . . Yet a week later, Hussein flipped the script. “I feel as if I have lost a child of my own,” Hussein lamented. He told the parents of one of the victims that the tragedy “affects us all as members of one family.”

While security cooperation [between Cairo and Jerusalem] remains strong, the bilateral relationship is still rather frosty outside the military domain. True normalization between the two nations is elusive. A survey in 2021 found that only 8 percent of Egyptians support “business or sports contacts” with Israel. With a visit to Israel, Sisi can move beyond the cold pragmatism that largely defines Egyptian-Israeli relations and recast himself as a world figure ready to embrace his diplomatic partners as human beings. At a personal level, the Egyptian leader can win international acclaim for such a move rather than criticism for his country’s poor human-rights record.

Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: General Sisi, Israeli Security, Jordan