It was only a few hours after verbal threats by Benny Gantz, the Israeli Defense Minister, against Hezbollah, until an Israeli gunboat announced that it had penetrated Lebanese waters off Naqoura in the south of the country, later confirmed by a statement issued by the Lebanese Army Command.
Gantz has threatened Hezbollah with a harsh response that would affect all Lebanese territory in the event that the party launches any attacks against Israel, stressing that Israel’s response will not be limited to Hezbollah controlled territory.
And according to what Lebanese official data confirms that the breach did not stop at the territorial waters border, but rather coincided with an air breach, carried out by an Israeli aircraft, which flew at medium altitude in the airspace of the Nabatiyeh and Iqlim al-Tuffah regions of Sidon.
Message with words and indications
The Israeli army’s steps within Lebanon’s waters and airspace relates to one of two possibilities, according to Muhammad Hajj Ali, a researcher in Middle East affairs. The first is Israeli information about unusual activities practiced by Hezbollah near the southern border, and the second, which is more likely, is that Israel is trying demonstrate its seriousness in responding to any moves by the party, confirming the statements of Defense Minister Gantz.
Hajj Ali also notes that the issuance of these statements by Gantz indicates the existence of intelligence information or a real sense of danger by Israel.
“Gantz is less inclined to the language of war, threats and fiery statements from the Israeli prime minister, Netanyahu, and he is more inclined to the political language, and the meaning of his use of that language means that Israel is actually monitoring the presence of suspicious movements, and this reflects a greater step on Lebanon than any adventure that Hezbollah may commit during the coming period,” this is what Hajj Ali clarified.
Hassan Nasrallah, the Secretary General of the Lebanese Hezbollah Militia, has threatened Israel with an unprecedented war, stressing at the same time that he is not looking for a confrontation with Israel. “In any future war, the Israeli home front will face what it has not known since the establishment of Israel,” this is what Nasrallah added in a televised speech.
Although Lebanon and even Hezbollah are not in a position to bear the consequences of a war with Israel, Michel Bou Saab, political analyst, points out that the Iranian decision is the one who has the final say in the possibility of the party heading towards a war against Israel.
He also indicated that Iran’s and the world’s willingness to enter into negotiations on the Iranian nuclear file and missile capabilities, may push Iran to incite the party to launch a war against Israel, with the aim of improving the terms of negotiations with Washington and the European Troika.
Bou Saab ruled out that Israel would initiate war against Hezbollah, stressing that the war decision would be hostage to Hezbollah’s moves and decisions, and that if war broke out, it would be the last blow to the last screw in Lebanon’s troubled coffin.
It is noteworthy that Lebanon is witnessing a comprehensive economic, living and political crisis, with high rates of hunger, poverty and unemployment, as the United Nations indicates that more than a quarter of the Lebanese are in extreme poverty and are unable to secure the costs of the basic necessities of life such as food, clothing, housing and health, while the other quarter live under Poverty line, with unemployment rates reaching 35 percent.
The hard choice
In the context of determining the party’s position on the Israeli threats, Bou Saab is considered that the inclusion of the threat to all of Lebanon and its people will not hinder the party from taking the decision to go to war, regardless of the consequences.
“The difficulty of taking the party’s war decision lies in its difficult financial and numerical situation, during the past years, hundreds of members of the elite forces were lost during its involvement in the Syrian crisis, and the blockade on Iran and the sanctions policy that affected it affected the party’s financial budget, which will affect its ability to continue Any war for more than two weeks at the latest,” this is what Bou Saab added.
In the same context, Bou Saab explains that the decision will not be easy for Hezbollah and its leadership, but in the end the Iranian word will be the final word on this decision.
He also considered that Israel would target the Lebanese infrastructure in a major way to increase popular pressure on Hezbollah.
For his part, Tawfiq Hindi the Lebanese politician, comments on the state of tension with Israel, by considering that the Lebanese have become hostages in the hands of Hezbollah and that the tension between Iran and Israel will inevitably end with the destruction of Lebanon and the extermination of the Lebanese.
“The solution is for Hezbollah to surrender its weapons, and to demand that resolutions 1559 and 1701 be placed under Chapter Seven, and to abide by the Taif Agreement and international resolutions, especially Resolution 1701, which provides for a return to the implementation of the 1949 armistice agreement between Lebanon and Israel,” Hindi added.
It is noteworthy that the past year witnessed an escalation in the demands of the Lebanese political parties, Hezbollah to drop its weapons and close the illegal border crossings that it runs on the borders with Syria, especially with the international community linking the provision of aid to the Lebanese state to limiting Hezbollah’s influence on Lebanese government institutions.