10 July 2024

Nothing Good Would Come of an Israeli War in Lebanon

Kim Ghattas

Hezbollah’s shelling of Israel has been less intense and damaging, but it has struck deeper into Israeli territory. Some 60,000 Israelis have been evacuated from their homes in the north. Twenty-five Israelis, including civilians and soldiers, have been killed. The conflict has remained at a steady simmer but is now threatening to boil over as both sides stockpile weapons and Israel masses troops on the border. U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has warned that full-blown war would be “catastrophic.”

The contours of a deal that would stop the fighting are already known. Israel wants Hezbollah to end cross-border attacks and withdraw its top fighters and heavy weapons from the border area, and the Lebanese army to deploy in larger numbers near the frontier. Hezbollah wants Israel to stop shelling Lebanon, withdraw from disputed border points, and stop overflights of Lebanon. And yet, diplomacy has stalled—in part because Hezbollah has tied Lebanon’s fate to the prospects for a cease-fire in Gaza, while Netanyahu’s political survival is linked to the continuation of that conflict.

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