Military Chief: Israel Preparing for an Offensive Against Lebanon

Halevi also vows Gaza Strip operations will continue

Touring the northern Israeli border with Lebanon, Israeli military chief of staff Herzi Halevi met with Northern Command for an assessment of the planned military operation against Lebanon, and told reservists they are “preparing for an offensive in the north.”

Halevi added, “Its objectives are both to restore security to the communities near the Gaza Strip and to bring the hostages back home securely.”

Halevi didn’t elaborate on the specifics or timing of the offensive, but Israeli military brass have made a big deal of planned operations against Lebanon. The military goal has been presented as both moving Hezbollah back from the border and allowing refugees to return to northern Israel.

Israel and Hezbollah have been trading fire since October, and huge numbers of civilians have been displaced on both sides of the border. If anything, the situation has been escalating in recent weeks.

The United States has joined in efforts to prevent an Israeli ground war in Lebanon, and Israeli officials say a deal would involve a “freeze of the situation” and the removal of Hezbollah several kilometers from the border, albeit short of the UN calls to move them north of the Litani River.

Previously Israeli officials have indicated that they were putting deadlines on negotiated settlements for Lebanon. The US has long warned that an offensive would be a mistake, as it would force Israel to fight on multiple fronts at the same time.

Hezbollah has expressed openness to negotiations but conditioned any ceasefire on a similar ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. Though efforts have been made toward such a deal, Israel seems determined to continue the Gaza War indefinitely.

In addition to the US, many in the international community are working to try to prevent a Lebanon war. French officials have been making the rounds to the two nations, trying to broker a settlement.

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.