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Israel’s Signals About Taking War to Lebanon Have Biden Scrambling: Report

Israel’s Signals About Taking War to Lebanon Have Biden Scrambling: Report

As President Joe Biden faces internal political pressure to rein in Israel’s attack against Hamas in Gaza, he is putting forth an intense diplomatic push to head off an Israeli assault against the terrorist group Hezbollah, according to a new report.

For three months, since Israel declared war against the terrorist group Hamas for its massacre of Israeli civilians on Oct. 7, Lebanon-based Hezbollah and Israel have exchanged fire across the border separating Israel from Lebanon.

Israel has grown increasingly restive as multiple northern Israeli communities are targeted, according to The Washington Post.

“We prefer the path of an agreed-upon diplomatic settlement,” Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Friday, according to the Post. “But we are getting close to the point where the hourglass will turn over.”

A post on X from Israeli Cabinet minister Benny Gantz indicated Israel will make northern Israel safe for its citizens  — one way or another.

“The reality where the citizens of Northern Israel cannot return to their homes – requires an urgent solution,” Gantz wrote.

“The world must remember that it was the terrorist organisation Hezbollah that initiated the escalation. Israel is interested in a diplomatic solution, but if one cannot be found – Israel and the IDF will remove the threat.

“All of the War Cabinet’s members share this view. The only consideration here is Israel’s security, and nothing else. That is our duty to our country and our citizens.”

But Biden’s administration is hoping to contain the fighting, not watch it expand at a time when at least two administration officials have quit in protest of the Biden administration’s support for Israel.

“It’s pretty extraordinary levels of dissent. I am hearing in recent weeks from people who are thinking more seriously about resigning,” Josh Paul, a State Department official who quit in October said, according to the U.K. Guardian. Last week, now-former policy adviser Tariq Habash quit his Department of Education post, citing Biden’s Middle East policy.

As the administration navigates political headwinds, the Post report said administration officials fear Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu might use an invasion of Lebanon as a political prop for his embattled government and want any invasion plan stopped.

The Post report said that a U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency report claimed that invading Lebanon to deal with Hezbollah while grinding through Gaza to wipe out Hamas may be more than the Israel Defense Forces can handle.

The Post claimed that Hezbollah is seeking to avoid escalation, citing sources it did not name.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will be preaching restraint when he arrives in Israel on Monday, the Post reported.

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“It is in no one’s interest — not Israel’s, not the region’s, not the world’s — for this conflict to spread beyond Gaza,” Blinken spokesman Matt Miller said, according to the Post.

Fears exist that if Israel attacks Hezbollah, the casualty list would be long with the possibility of even hundreds of thousands dead and wounded, according to at least one specialist in the region.

“The number of casualties in Lebanon could be anywhere from 300,000 to 500,000 and entail a massive evacuation of all of northern Israel,” Bilal Saab, a Lebanon expert at the Middle East Institute, told the Post, noting that Hezbollah could use its weapons stash to attack far into Israel. “I don’t think it would be limited to these two antagonists.”

On Thursday, U.S. envoy Amos Hochstein arrived in Israel in an effort to defuse tensions, according to Axios.

Gallant told him there “a short window of time” to find a solution that does not involve an expanded war.

“We will not tolerate the threats posed by Hezbollah and we will ensure the security of our citizens,” Gallant said, according to Axios.


This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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