Implementation of Resolution 1701: Illustrating the Israeli Misconception Against Hezbollah

Minister of defense Gallant and the US envoy Hochstein
Minister of Defense Gallant and the US Envoy Hochstein (Photo credit: Ariel Hermoni/Ministry of Defense)

Since the beginning of the war against Hamas, almost 100,000 Israeli residents who live near the northern border have been evacuated from their homes following Hezbollah attacks from Lebanon, and senior officials in Israel repeatedly stated that the security situation in the north will change ‘the day after’, either through political or military means. So far, Israel’s moves show that it’s still captured in a deep misconception, and that it has learned next to nothing from the October 7th massacre.

In the meantime, with Israel’s approval, the American mediator Amos Hochstein is making frantic efforts (with French assistance) to re-implement Security Council Resolution 1701 from 2006, which obliges Hezbollah to push its forces northward, across the Litani River. Beyond the slim chance of the success of this diplomatic move, I believe that striving towards implementation of resolution 1701 is destructive that will cause enormous damage to the security of the State of Israel, and that a proactive Israeli military action is a necessary and inevitable move.

Indeed, pushing Hezbollah 30 kilometers back from the Israel-Lebanese border will neutralize the direct firing of anti-tank missiles at villages near the fence and may prevent a massive raid by the elite force (Redwan) of the terror organization. However, this is only a “band-aid”, which is based on the outdated naive assumption of before October 7th, and not a sustainable solution to the problem. First, Resolution 1701 does not provide a real solution to counter the organization’s military capabilities that threaten the entire State of Israel and not just the northern villages – 180,000 rockets, who’s range spans the entire length of the country, precision missiles capable of threatening strategic assets such as gas rigs and air force bases, and hundreds of explosive suicide drones. Second, implementing the resolution through diplomatic means will deny Israel the international legitimacy to initiate a military operation that will significantly harm the organization’s capabilities. Thirdly, past experience proves that there is no reason to believe to Hezbollah – Resolution 1701 has never been implemented, as well as Resolution 1559 of the Security Council which requires the terrorist organization to completely disarm. Fourthly, in the event that Hezbollah were to temporarily withdraw beyond the Litani River (although the likelihood of such an occurrence is minimal), it will be able to easily return to southern Lebanon since UNIFIL’s forces are not functioning properly and will not prevent its presence in the area.

Opting for a diplomatic resolution is consistently preferable over a military course of action. However, abandoning the misconception can only be expressed through diplomatic initiatives that would require the organization’s full disarmament, or at very least most of the territory south of Beirut. Since this is not even on the agenda, especially after Hezbollah stated that it would agree to withdraw from southern Lebanon only on the condition that Israel withdraws south from Haifa, a proactive military move is an Israeli necessity. Undoubtedly, A war against Hezbollah will have extremely serious consequences for the home front – the Israeli addiction to “calm” and the belief in fake appeasement led Hezbollah to strengthen significantly. The monster is too big and too strong, and it is hard to believe that the IDF has the ability to destroy all of the organization’s infrastructure. However, a surprise attack could neutralize the leadership and cause very heavy damage to the organization, which will lead to stability for years to come.

The main challenge that Israel is facing is time. On one hand, it is more prudent to until the elections in the U.S in order to gain stronger American backing. On the other hand, there is an urgent need to return the residents evacuated from the north, who will not agree to return to their homes without a believable promise of safety. In any case, it is a challenge and a complex balance that the decision-makers in Israel have to manage.

Re-implementation of 1701 resolution is a temporary solution that testifies the dangerous mindset that is still capturing the Israeli decision makers. Hamas proved to Israel that temporary solutions that don’t deal with the root of the problem are dangerous for our future, and that the enemy must be treated according to its capabilities and not only according to intentions. Israel shouldn’t settle for a resolution, whether military or political, that merely temporarily safeguards the northern villages, and Israel cannot rely on naive considerations that don’t provide security as has been proven in recent decades. Israel needs to take control of its own destiny, and therefore war is an unfortunate, essential and unavoidable necessity. The conflict in Lebanon may exact a significant toll, but as a nation that cherishes life, Israel must ensure that the nation lives on for generations to come.

Hassan Nasrallah, Secretary-General of Hezbollah (Photo credit: AP/Hassan Ammar)
About the Author
The writer has nearly a decade of experience as an Intelligence Analyst. Currently in his fourth and final year of pursuing a degree in Law (LL.B) & Government (B.A) at Reichman University, he is a Fellow of the Argov Fellowship in Leadership and Diplomacy. His practical experience extends to his internship at the Israeli Mission to the UN in New York during the 77th General Assembly.
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