August 8, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israel Sharpens Warning to Lebanon Over Hezbollah Provocations 

August 8, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israel Sharpens Warning to Lebanon Over Hezbollah Provocations 

Latest Developments 

Israel will “send Lebanon back to the stone age” if provoked into war by Hezbollah, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said on August 8 in a sharpened warning as friction with the Iranian-backed terrorist group at the border mounts. Since the March roadside bombing at Megiddo junction that Israel attributed to Hezbollah, the group has been sending operatives to the border on an almost weekly basis to sabotage the fortified fence, threaten Israeli civilians, and test the response of IDF troops. 

The newspaper Israel Hayom on August 7 carried a front-page report on military projections that, in any future war with Hezbollah, missiles launched from Lebanon — and possibly also from Gaza — would inflict thousands of Israeli casualties and extensively disrupt national infrastructure. “I warn Hezbollah and its leader — don’t make a mistake,” Gallant said during a tour of the border. He added: “We do not want war. But we are ready to protect our citizenry, our soldiers, and our sovereignty.” 

In a potentially related development, the Shin Bet said it had cracked a Palestinian terrorist cell in the West Bank receiving instruction from a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) operative in Lebanon. The operative, Alaam Kabhi, is a Palestinian from Nablus who was deported to Lebanon as part of a 2011 exchange for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, the Shin Bet said. Kabhi instructed several Palestinians detained in the case, in which two assault rifles were also seized, to carry out shooting attacks against Israelis, the Shin Bet said in the statement. 

Expert Analysis 

“Hezbollah has been escalating tensions with Israel through terrorist surrogates meant to provide it with deniability. We saw this with the Megiddo bombing, on which Hezbollah has declined all comment, and we may also be seeing this with the PFLP operative in Lebanon, who is extremely unlikely to be working without Hezbollah encouragement. Hezbollah’s provocations could lead to a severe and justified Israeli response.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO 

“Remarkably, Hezbollah secretary general Hassan Nasrallah has been daring Israel in recent weeks to respond to his terror group’s many provocations along the border. Israel has been the responsible party until now. But Gallant is now making it clear that the costs could be extremely high for the Iran-backed terrorist group. The same can be said for Lebanon, which has been held hostage by Hezbollah for decades.” — Jonathan Schanzer, FDD Senior Vice President for Research 

Hezbollah Uses Human Shields 

In prior conflicts with Israel, Hezbollah has used civilians as human shields to deter the Jewish state from attacking the terrorist group. In 2018, Congress passed the Sanctioning the Use of Civilians as Defenseless Shields Act, which requires the president to submit to Congress annually a list of — and impose financial sanctions on — each foreign person involved in the use of human shields by Hezbollah as well as Hamas. 

In Lebanon, Israel and America Are on Opposite Sides,” by Tony Badran 

IDF Intelligence Warns of Growing Threat at Israel-Lebanon Border,” FDD Flash Brief 

Israel Repels Hezbollah Sabotage of Lebanese Border Fence,” FDD Flash Brief 

Iran’s Multifront Strategy Against Israel,” by Jonathan Schanzer 

Time to Act on Human Shields,” by Orde Kittrie 


Hezbollah Iran Iran Global Threat Network Israel Lebanon Sanctions and Illicit Finance