December 27, 2023 | Flash Brief

Hezbollah’s Provocations Wear Israel’s Patience Thin

December 27, 2023 | Flash Brief

Hezbollah’s Provocations Wear Israel’s Patience Thin

Latest Developments

Israel signaled on December 27 that it was poised to escalate military countermeasures against Hezbollah if diplomatic efforts fail to distance the terrorist group from its border with Lebanon. The situation there “must change,” Israeli war cabinet minister Benny Gantz told reporters. “The stopwatch for a diplomatic solution is running out. If the world, and the Lebanese government, won’t stop the shooting towards the northern communities from Lebanon, and won’t act to remove Hezbollah from the border — the IDF will.”

Separately, the IDF chief of staff, Lt.-Gen. Herzi Halevi, visited the Northern Command to approve new operational plans. “Our first task is to return residents securely, and it will take time,” he said. “We approved today a variety of plans for continuation, and we need to be ready to attack, if required. The IDF and within it, the Northern Command, are in very high readiness.”

Expert Analysis

“There are initial signs of a shifting of gears in Gaza. Most of the formerly Hamas-held territory has been taken by Israeli forces, which will switch their attention to a more focused hunt for the terrorists’ below-ground bunkers, tunnel system, and leadership. Some residents of villages on the Gaza periphery are talking about repairing and returning to their ravaged homes. But the situation in northern Israel is different. Between 80,000 and 100,000 residents of northern border communities are internally displaced, with no prospect of coming back so long as Hezbollah remains a visible and imminent menace. De facto, the land on which they live has become a ‘security zone’ within Israeli territory — and that is intolerable. The Israelis have every intent on turning the tables — if not through peaceful means, then through force of arms.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“Hezbollah’s strategy is to tie up Israeli military resources to hinder the elimination of Hamas in Gaza. Nevertheless, the effectiveness of this strategy is gradually diminishing and approaching its threshold. As a result, Hezbollah faces a crucial juncture where it must choose between ceasing its attacks on Israel and relocating its forces north, or having Israel compel this decision upon the group.” — Joe Truzman, Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

Increased Border Clashes

Within hours of the October 7 cross-border killing and kidnapping spree by Hamas that triggered the Gaza war, the Iran-backed Hezbollah has been carrying out its own attacks against northern Israel in solidarity with the Palestinian terrorist group. These have included attempts at infiltrations, rocket and drone salvoes, and direct guided-missile attacks on Israeli northern communities.

Hezbollah has lost more than 100 fighters to Israeli counterstrikes, while killing nine Israeli soldiers and four civilians in Israel. But it has pressed the attacks, ignoring Israel’s outreach to the United States, France, and Arab states, which aim to prevail upon Beirut to pull the terrorist group back several miles from the border.

Hezbollah Fires Anti-Tank Missile at Church in Northern Israel,” FDD Flash Brief

Hezbollah Launches More Rockets at Northern Israel,” FDD Flash Brief

Israel Strikes Hezbollah Terror Targets in Lebanon,” FDD Flash Brief


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