Targeted Strikes Are Not Enough to Save Northern Israel from Hizballah

Observing Hizballah’s increasingly effective use of rockets, drones, and anti-tank missiles against not only the Israeli civilian population but also strategically sensitive targets, Yaakov Lappin argues that the IDF’s campaign of limited strikes and the killing of key commanders is insufficient:

Hizballah’s widespread attack on the north on Wednesday demonstrates that the core threat lies not in any individual commanders but in the substantial firepower array that is entrenched deeply throughout 200 southern Lebanese Shiite villages, as well as in Beirut and in the Bekaa Valley.

Hizballah’s military-terrorist infrastructure and expansive manpower pose the largest conventional threat to Israel. The limitations of targeted strikes as an approach are becoming increasingly evident, as [are those of] IAF’s ongoing campaign to strike at Hizballah weapons-storage centers and command posts in a limited fashion, in line with the Israeli war cabinet’s directive.

Yet, short of invading southern Lebanon, Jerusalem has few other options. Lazar Berman argues that the time is far from ripe for an all-out war:

The challenges the IDF would face in Lebanon would be orders of magnitude greater [than in Gaza]. Hizballah has far more advanced anti-tank weapons and attack drones. Fighting in prepared defenses in open territory, they would be able to target IDF forces from kilometers away.

The IDF could take every square inch of territory ten—even twenty—kilometers from the border, and Hizballah would still be able to rain rockets down across Israel. . . . And it would end in a ceasefire agreement, one that residents of the north are unlikely to put much stock in.

Read more at JNS

More about: Hizballah, Israeli Security

As Hamas’s Power Collapses, Old Feuds Are Resurfacing

In May, Mahmoud Nashabat, a high-ranking military figure in the Fatah party (which controls the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority), was gunned down in central Gaza. Nashabat was an officer in the Gaza wing of the Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, a terrorist outfit that served as Fatah’s vanguard during the second intifada, and now sometimes collaborates with Hamas. But his killers were Hamas members, and he was one of at least 35 Palestinians murdered in Gaza in the past two months as various terrorist and criminal groups go about settling old scores, some of which date back to the 1980s. Einav Halabi writes:

Security sources familiar with the situation told the London-based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat that Gaza is now also beleaguered by the resurgence of old conflicts. “Many people have been killed in incidents related to the first intifada in 1987, while others have died in family disputes,” they said.

The “first-intifada portfolio” in Gaza is considered complex and convoluted, as it is filled with hatred among residents who accuse others of killing relatives for various reasons, including collaboration with Israel. . . . According to reports from Gaza, there are vigorous efforts on the ground to contain these developments, but the chances of success remain unclear. Hamas, for its part, is trying to project governance and control, recently releasing several videos showcasing how its operatives brutally beat residents accused of looting.

These incidents, gruesome as they are, suggest that Hamas’s control over the territory is slipping, and it no longer holds a monopoly on violence or commands the fear necessary to keep the population in line. The murders and beatings also dimension the grim reality that would ensue if the war ends precipitously: a re-empowered Hamas setting about getting vengeance on its enemies and reimposing its reign of terror.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Fatah, Gaza War 2023, Hamas