U.S. Warns Hezbollah Amid Rising Tensions with Israel

Recent diplomatic efforts highlight increasing tensions between Hezbollah and Israel, as the U.S. attempts to prevent a broader regional conflict.

Published June 26, 2024 - 00:06am

4 minutes read
Lebanon
Israel
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The United States has issued a stern warning to Hezbollah, signaling that it cannot prevent an Israeli invasion should the militant group continue its cross-border attacks. This message, conveyed through diplomatic channels, underscores the volatile situation on the Israel-Lebanon border, amid fears of escalating into a broader regional conflict.

According to sources from an Axios report, American diplomat Amos Hochstein relayed to Lebanese officials that Hezbollah would be mistaken to assume that the U.S. could restrain Israel from a full-scale invasion if hostilities continue. During his visit to Beirut, Hochstein emphasized the urgency of de-escalation and highlighted that President Joe Biden's administration seeks to avoid further escalation leading to war.

The diplomatic efforts are part of broader attempts by U.S. and Israeli officials to find a resolution that does not necessitate a ceasefire but aims to mitigate the situation on the Israeli-Lebanese border. Hochstein's communication to Lebanese officials made it clear that ongoing attacks on Israel by Hezbollah could force Israel to shift its military focus from Gaza to its northern borders.

Reports from Shorouknews.com echoed these sentiments, stating that there are initial desires among the U.S., Hezbollah, and Israel to de-escalate tensions. Indirect messages exchanged among the three parties point to a preference for diplomatic solutions over military confrontations. However, the risk of miscalculation remains high, with both sides ramping up their military rhetoric and confrontations.

Meanwhile, Politico reported that U.S. officials have become resigned to the prospect of an Israeli strike on Hezbollah within the coming weeks, marking a significant shift in diplomatic tone. This development follows the Israeli military's approval of operational plans for a large-scale assault in Lebanon, reinforcing the seriousness of the threat.

The rising tensions were further complicated by recent statements made by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, who issued strong warnings to Israel. Nasrallah asserted that any part of Israel could be targeted by Hezbollah's rockets, emphasizing the group's preparedness for war. This came after Israel's recent violent operations in Gaza, which prompted Hezbollah to increase its mobilization along the border.

On the diplomatic front, American and Western officials have intensified their efforts to prevent an open conflict. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken also stressed to Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant the necessity of swiftly formulating a post-war plan for Gaza and ensuring that tensions with Hezbollah do not escalate. The United States is also exploring options to expedite diplomatic solutions, potentially leveraging the end of Israel's intense military operations in Gaza to ease the situation on the northern front.

In a move to reinforce this stance, European governments are urging their citizens to leave Lebanon, highlighting the growing international concern over the security situation. Germany's foreign minister expressed worries about the heightened danger and cautioned against allowing the conflict to spiral out of control.

However, in Washington, Israeli National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi and Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer communicated to U.S. officials that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prefers a non-military resolution with Hezbollah. Despite this, Israeli military readiness has been visibly increased, as evidenced by senior military commanders' inspections and strategy evaluations near the northern border with Lebanon.

As efforts to broker peace continue, the potential for a severe military confrontation remains. Diplomatic sources suggest that Hezbollah has conveyed through intermediaries that it seeks to avoid war but is confident in its capacity to deliver significant blows to Israel if provoked. This sentiment was also conveyed through indirect channels following Hochstein's visit to Beirut.

The ongoing border skirmishes have already led to significant casualties, with over 479 people killed in Lebanon, including Hezbollah fighters and civilians, and additional deaths on the Israeli side. This uptick in violence, coupled with daily exchanges of fire, has heightened fears of a full-blown regional conflict, drawing in other powers such as Iran and the United States.

In summary, the diplomatic landscape reflects a precarious balance of threats and negotiations, with the U.S. striving to prevent an escalation while both Hezbollah and Israel prepare for potential military clashes. The coming weeks will be critical in determining whether these diplomatic efforts can succeed in averting a wider war.

Sources

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