June 7, 2024 | Flash Brief

Biden Administration Warns Israel Against War With Hezbollah

June 7, 2024 | Flash Brief

Biden Administration Warns Israel Against War With Hezbollah

Latest Developments

The Biden administration told Israel not to respond to Iran-backed Hezbollah’s escalating attacks, warning that a ground invasion into Lebanon risks drawing in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Axios reported on June 6. Washington reportedly told Jerusalem that pursuing a “limited” or “small regional war” to defend against Hezbollah could compel “militants from pro-Iranian militias in Syria, Iraq, and even Yemen” to flood Lebanon, Axios said.

The administration’s apparent warning comes as the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) prepares for war in Lebanon. IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi said on June 4 that the IDF “is prepared after a very good process of training — up to the level of a military exercise — to move to an attack in the north.” Halevi said that the IDF is “approaching a decision point.” Israeli President Isaac Herzog emphasized on June 5 “that Israel has no choice but to protect its citizens, and it should come as no surprise when does so — strongly and ever more resolutely.”

Expert Analysis

“Americans would never surrender to a Hezbollah-like terror threat on our own border. President Biden should not demand that of Israel either.” — Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

“Hezbollah’s escalation over the past month ties directly to what it perceives as Washington’s constraints on Israel’s freedom of action. The group understands that it can intensify its attacks against Israel and, so long as the United States restrains the Israeli response, that it can do so with relative impunity.” — David Daoud, FDD Senior Fellow

Hezbollah Intensifies Cross-Border Attacks

Hezbollah drone and anti-tank missile attacks doubled in May, according to a report released by the Alma Research and Education Center on June 2. The report tracked 95 anti-tank missile attacks in May, compared to 50 attacks in April. “There were 85 UAV infiltration incidents in May 2024, up from 42 in April 2024,” the report added. On June 1, the Israeli military reported that 15 rockets targeting the Golan Heights were launched from Lebanon.

On June 3, Hezbollah rocket barrages ignited massive fires in northern Israel. Israeli firefighters battled the blazes overnight into June 4. Meanwhile, Hezbollah’s deputy chief, Naim Qassem, threatened Israel during an Al-Jazeera interview on June 4, claiming that Hezbollah is ready to battle Israel if the war expands. “Any Israeli expansion of the war on Lebanon will be met with devastation, destruction and displacement in Israel,” Qassem said.

Israel Prepares for War in the North

The IDF stated on June 2 that it completed a war simulation in northern Israel to increase readiness for possible escalation amid Hezbollah’s increasing attacks. The exercise included “many scenarios that simulate the expansion of the war in the northern arena, and multi-front war scenarios,” the IDF said. On June 3, Israeli Education Minister Yoav Kisch announced plans to spend $38 million building new school facilities out of rocket range in the event that students are unable to return to the north in time for the new school year on September 1. At least 60,000 Israelis have been displaced from their homes in northern Israel due to Hezbollah’s continued cross-border attacks.

As Hezbollah escalates attacks at Iran’s behest, Israel must stop an ‘unsustainable’ assault,” by Richard Goldberg

Hezbollah Hits Border Village as Israel Warns of War,” FDD Flash Brief

Hezbollah Rocket Attacks Spark Massive Fires in Northern Israel,” FDD Flash Brief

Issues:

Hezbollah Iran-backed Terrorism Israel Israel at War Lawfare