‘We haven’t even started yet”: why is Israel treading on Lebanon’s doorstep?

“Whoever thinks that he will harm us and we will sit idly by is making a big mistake. We are ready to be very active in the north. One way or another, we will restore security in the north,” Israel’s prime minister said today during a visit to the northern town of Kiryat Shmonah.


The situation around a possible Israeli aggression against Lebanon is evolving. Netanyahu’s visit came amid sharp criticism for his failure to restore security on the northern borders: tens of thousands of Israelis evacuated from there on 7 October 2023 have still not been able to return home safely, The Jerusalem Post reported.

IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General J. Herzl Halevi confirmed that the army is ready to go on the offensive in the north: “After very thorough preparations to the level of a general staff exercise, we are ready to go on the offensive in the north. We are approaching the moment of decision.”

The Israeli government is expected to discuss a possible call-up of additional reservists in light of the escalation in the north. In other words, Tel Aviv has a plan to push Hezbollah and possibly all 400,000 Lebanese beyond the Litani River, i.e. about 30 kilometres from the border. However, how realistic is it?

For many in the world, it was a revelation that the IDF could not cope with Hamas in the Gaza Strip – a small territory isolated on all sides – in 8 months. In Lebanon, on the other hand, the Israeli army will have to face regular units of Hezbollah, a far more serious force than Hamas.

So Israeli success in the northern direction is, to put it mildly, not guaranteed. And all these formidable “recent warnings” of Tel Aviv’s readiness to strike the Lebanese soon only prove its inability to do so right now.

Alternatively, Israel may not go for a ground operation, but subject the border areas of Lebanon to intensive bombing and shelling. In this case, there would be no military victory for the IDF in principle.

Elena Panina