For how long can we afford not to war with Hezbollah?

How Netanyahu's Gaza policies emboldened Hezbollah, leading us straight into the path of war.

Israeli reserve soldiers take part in a military drill in the northern Israeli city of Kiryat Shmona, June 18, 2024. (Photo by Ayal Margolin/Flash90)

In an Instagram post yesterday, Arab-Israeli Israel advocate Yoseph Haddad expressed his dismay after Hezbollah launched a video of one of its surveillance drones flying freely over Israeli skies.

He said, "This video is a provocation and also intended for psychological warfare. Even if these are just drones for filming and propaganda and not explosives, the incident is equally serious! I'm not even talking about the failure itself that we failed to shoot them down - but how after this do we allow them to keep pushing the red line further and further... What's the next stage we'll ignore?"

As reported by Swissinfo, Haifa mayor Yona Yahav called Hezbollah’s video “psychological terror on residents of Haifa and the north," with Israeli government spokesman David Mencer adding, "Whether diplomatically or militarily one way or another, we will ensure the safe and secure return of Israelis to their homes in northern Israel. That is not up for negotiation. Oct. 7 cannot happen again anywhere in Israel or on any of Israel’s borders.”

To understand what Netanyahu might be thinking regarding Hezbollah, we have to go back to his dangerously misguided strategy of empowering the terrorist group Hamas at the expense of the Palestinian Authority.

As reported by the Times of Israel, under successive Netanyahu governments, Israel deliberately weakened Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas while bolstering Hamas's position as the de facto ruler of Gaza. The flawed thinking was that a hobbled Palestinian Authority unable to make progress toward statehood was preferable to engaging with Abbas's government.

So while stifling the PA in the West Bank, Israel opened indirect negotiations with Hamas and facilitated the terror group's access to funds, workers' permits, and other economic lifelines in Gaza. The rationale was that throwing Hamas an occasional bone would somehow "preserve calm."

But rewarding terrorists rarely pacifies them. Netanyahu's policy of keeping Hamas 'happy' to prevent its continued terror attacks has been an unmitigated disaster. True, we didn't need to go into Gaza and lose precious soldiers in unknown terrain, fighting in narrow alleyways against an enemy who cynically embeds itself into the local population. But after Hamas' cruel massacres of October 7th, it is now blatantly obvious that appeasement was actually a fatal error, which cost (and is continuing to cost) Israel dearly.

Just witness the events of the past week: Iran-backed Hezbollah firing its largest rocket barrages yet into Israel in sync with Hamas, empowered to implicitly threaten harm to key Israeli cities and infrastructure with newly released drone footage over strategic sites. And if this wasn't bad enough, Hezbollah's leader Hassan Nasrallah also explicitly threatened to target and damage Israel's ports in Haifa.

Although our Foreign Minister warned Israel is "getting very close" to needing to "change the rules of the game" and deliver a heavy blow to Hezbollah and Lebanon to restore deterrence, it remains to be seen what Israel will do.


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