The U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration has reportedly been discreetly advising Israel against initiating a military campaign against the Iran-backed Lebanese militia, Hezbollah. This advice is aimed at preventing the escalation of the Israeli conflict with the Palestinian militant group Hamas beyond the Gaza Strip. This information was reported by the Times of Israel on Thursday
“The US recognizes that Israel must respond to the increased targeting of its northern border by Hezbollah since the October 7 Hamas onslaught,” two Israeli officials familiar with the matter told the Times of Israel.
“But the repeated attacks by the Lebanese group and the fact that Israel failed to anticipate the assault by Hamas from Gaza have led to the intensification of discussions about whether Israel must be the one to initiate a battle against Hezbollah in order to maintain the upper hand,” the Israeli news outlet reported.
The Israeli officials said: “The US has cautioned Israel to be careful in its military responses to Hezbollah fire, explaining that an IDF mistake in Lebanon could spark a much larger war.”
They stated: “Biden officials have indicated to Israel in recent days that if Hezbollah initiates a war against Israel, the US military will join the IDF in fighting the terror group.”
Tel Aviv has said that Hezbollah has fired dozens of anti-tank guided missiles, rockets, and mortars at Israeli military positions and Israeli towns since the Hamas attack on October 7, while also sending gunmen to infiltrate into Israel.
On Monday, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) warned Hezbollah of a “deadly” response if it continued to carry out attacks against Israel.
The White House said last week it was concerned Hezbollah could be taking part in the Israel-Hamas war as the militia continued its operations against Israeli targets at the Lebanese-Israeli border. White House national security spokesman John Kirby said: “They are a potent terrorist group, no question about it. We watch them closely. The Israelis watch them closely. We don’t want to see this conflict widened. We don’t want to see Hezbollah make that kind of a decision.”
Kirby added: “I would remind, again, that we take our national security interests very seriously in the region. And the reason why we moved a carrier strike group to the Eastern Med was to act as a deterrent for any other actor, including Hezbollah, that might think that widening this conflict is a good idea.”