Israeli DM: Ceasefire in Gaza Would Mean Escalation in Lebanon

Suspected Israeli airstrikes kill three Hezbollah in attack on Syria-Lebanon border

Ongoing fighting on the Lebanon-Israel border may well get much worse, according to Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. Commenting on the ongoing ceasefire talks looking to at least temporarily stop the open-ended offensive against the Gaza Strip, Gallant says that Israel will “increase the fire in the north independently” if there was a pause.

Interestingly, the only thing that was holding up Hezbollah in supporting their own ceasefire with Israel was the ongoing war in Gaza. If somehow that war came to an end, a deal in the north should be much more possible even if Israel sees it as a license to escalate.

Gallant says the fighting will continue until Hezbollah is forced from the border and displaced Israelis are able to return home to the north. He also said Hezbollah isn’t able to replace commanders that Israel has killed.

This comes after an explosion on the Syrian side of the Syria-Lebanon border left at least three Hezbollah members killed, and it is widely expected it was the result of Israeli airstrikes against a pair of trucks in the area.

As is so often the case with daytime strikes, Israel issued no statement on the matter and is yet to take credit for it. Despite this, it is being reported the trucks were targeted on suspicion of smuggling weapons to Hezbollah.

Saturday saw a flurry of Hezbollah missile strikes against northern Israel, and reports from Hezbollah said the attacks targeted at least six military bases and other gatherings of Israeli military personnel.

The Saturday missiles were near several Israeli towns along the border, though the Israeli military reported that most of the missiles fired had been intercepted. Either way, there was no report of damage or injuries.

Israel responded with fire against southern Lebanon, claiming again to attack a “weapons depot” belonging to Hezbollah. There was similarly no report of any such damage or casualties inside Lebanon.

Retaliatory strikes by both sides have been how the fighting in Lebanon has continued to rage for months. If Hezbollah believes Israel was responsible for today’s attack on the Syrian border, which seems likely given the reports, they will probably retaliate against Israel on that basis, provoking yet more Israeli retaliation against southern Lebanon and talk of a new offensive.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.