Hezbollah’s chief Hassan Nassralah is expected to deliver a potentially pivotal speech in Beirut this afternoon, with speculation rife that he may declare war on Israel. Alternatively, he may cower and offer justifications as to why he is not joining the conflict, but will undoubtedly try to sustain or increase the current pressure on Israel’s northern border.
Regardless, Israel is now confronting multifaceted security threats: Hezbollah in the north, Hamas in Gaza, unrest in the West Bank, missiles from the Houthis in Yemen, and Iran’s overarching belligerence and funding of all of the above.
Even if Israel succeeds in neutralizing Hamas in Gaza, the residents who fled the northern communities due to tensions with Hezbollah will remain uneasy about returning home in light of the events of October 7th in the border communities.
Israel’s past preference for a policy of “quiet” and restraint was challenged on October 7th, underscoring the necessity for a more assertive stance not only with Hezbollah and Hamas but regionally. Ensuring citizen safety in the north requires preempting Hezbollah, taking the conflict into Lebanese territory and dismantling the groups capabilities of attacking border communities.
Furthermore, Israel must proactively counter Iran’s vow of destruction not by going at it alone but by fostering a regional Sunni coalition, supported by the US and aimed at destabilizing the Iranian regime and hopefully topple it.
The Middle East is a region which only understands strength, and interprets anything else as weakness. Historically, Israel’s preemptive strikes have proven successful, notably in ’67, in contrast with the costly outcomes of delayed responses in the Yom Kippur War and October 7th. The current situation demands that Israel adopt a strong preemptive policy in the region, both to defend its sovereignty and to protect its people from those that want to harm them.