PM: Israel Will Hold Lebanon Responsible for Attacks, Hezbollah Or Not

Hezbollah vows to respond to any Israeli attacks

Tensions between Israel and Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement are rising this weekend, with both sides threatening to retaliate against the other, and Israel’s Prime Minister suggesting he would treat Lebanon as responsible for any attack, whether it was Hezbollah or not.

Israel tends to be either at war with Lebanon, on the brink of war with Lebanon, or preparing for a next war while promising to hit Lebanon even harder next time. Lebanon has a very small military, but Hezbollah’s militia forces are substantial, and gives them capacity to retaliate, if attacked.

This started with Israel striking southern Lebanon on Thursday, and retaliatory fire being attributed to Hezbollah the next day. Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah has since promised a “suitable and proportionate” response to any further Israeli attacks.

That’s where the situation can quickly escalate, as Israel has grown quite comfortable with the idea that there should be no response to an Israeli attack on a neighboring nation, and that any retaliation is itself a new escalation that justifies further attacks.

At the same time, Israel conceded that Hezbollah had deliberately fired only in open areas on Friday, showing a capacity for retaliation without specifically trying to start anything by going after populated areas. Israel is also saying they don’t want to escalate the situation, which is unusual compared to other recent governments, which seemed eager to parlay any tensions into a serious exchange.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.