Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Hezbollah lashes out, but what comes next?

One of my most memorable experiences in Israel was spending the summer of 2006 in Jerusalem while war raged in the north of the country. A small nation to begin with, it was almost as if one could feel the country shrinking as tour groups and summer youth programs changed their itineraries to avoid the Golan. In addition to the geographic limitations, many tourists either left once the fighting had lasted a week, or didn't come at all.

For me, it was a stark and searing reminder of the persistent threats that face this small outpost of Democracy on the Mediterranean. What the war with Hezbollah demonstrated was that while Israel may be technically superior and have one of the best militaries in the world, that  its civilians are still deeply vulnerable to attacks from terrorist organizations like Hezbollah, who have the capability not only to launch individual terror attacks, but to drag the IDF into an actual war. In my opinion, Israel was the "winner" in the 2006 war in the short term - as various media outlets have documented, while Hezbollah's leadership has been very willing to target Israelis traveling abroad, has been reticent to invite another open conflict with IDF on its doorstep.

But to be clear,  this reluctance to engage in another war has not stopped the terror group from carrying out occasional provocations, and the potential for one of these probing actions to escalate is ever present.

Whatever the reason Hezbollah might have given for this most recent violence this week, the fact remains that this group exists to facilitate the the murder of Israelis and Jews across the globe. Whether causing murder and mayhem in Buenos Aires or Burgas or inside Israel, their mission and intent remains the same.  At this point, it's hard to know what will follow the latest border incident, in which Hezbollah injured 7 Israeli soldiers and killed two - so far the IDF has responded with artillery fire, but it's anyone's guess what may happen next. Those of us who care about peace in the region are hoping that this clash does not lead to a third Lebanon War, but if it does, Hezbollah will once again have the blood of innocent civilians (on both sides of the border) on its hands. 

Copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2015.

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