Biden blocked pre-emptive Israel strike on Hezbollah

The White House rejected their ally’s intelligence that Hezbollah was going to join Hamas’ fight against Israel in the days following October 7.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The United States prevented Israel from making a pre-emptive strike on the Hezbollah terrorist organization in Lebanon in the days following Hamas’ October 7 invasion, the Wall Street Journal reported Saturday.

Early in the morning Washington time on October 11, the report said, Israeli officials called the White House to say their intelligence was telling them that Hezbollah would be joining its terror counterpart in the Gaza Strip in invading Israel from the north as Hamas had done from the southwest, massacring 1,200 people, the vast majority of them civilians. The officials said that the Israelis asked for American support in attacking Hezbollah first because they could not do it alone.

The paper said that the heads of the American intelligence agencies and national security, including the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Secretaries of Defense and of State discussed the urgent issue later in the morning, but came to the conclusion that the intelligence information was not reliable.

According to the WSJ sources, the Israeli government had already ordered its jets into the air to hit Iran’s main terror proxy when, after being briefed on his team’s thinking, President Joe Biden talked to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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He urged Israel’s leader to cancel the strike, worried that such an Israel action could cause the region to explode into a much wider war, the officials said. After 45 minutes of discussion, Netanyahu said he would consult his cabinet. According to the paper, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant wanted to go ahead with the attack because a more widespread war was “inevitable,” and a pre-emptive strike would greatly help Israel’s position.

After some six additional hours of U.S.-Israel consultations, Netanyahu ultimately acquiesced to Biden’s urging and no attack took place.

In the event, Hezbollah did not, and has not, gone all in to force Israel into a two-front war. It has launched some rockets and some unmanned drones at Israel’s north, fired anti-tank grenades and aimed small-arms fire at IDF forces on the border on an almost daily basis, and sent small teams to try and infiltrate the border, unsuccessfully due to IDF vigilance.

Considering that it is estimated in the West that the organization may have upward of 150,000 rockets, some of them precision-guided missiles that could wreak havoc on sensitive Israeli installations, and more than 25,000 full-time fighters with a backup of 20,000 to 30,000 “reservists,” these moves expose barely a fraction of Hezbollah’s offensive capabilities.

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Hezbollah is also considered a seasoned army, as its men fought in Syria for years to help President Bashar Assad in his civil war, which helped save his regime.

Fearing a massive attack when Hamas fighters broke through the border fence in multiple places eleven weeks ago, the IDF rushed tens of thousands of reservist troops to the north. Commanders have told their men that they have no doubt that if the army hadn’t done so, Hezbollah would have jumped in, even if they were initially caught by surprise at the Hamas attack.

The troops have stayed there ever since, as the hot war in Gaza continues, using artillery and calling in airstrikes on the sources of Hezbollah fire in South Lebanon every time the terrorists act, but not openly going on the offensive.

So far, seven IDF soldiers and four civilians have died in the various Hezbollah attacks, while the terrorists have lost over a hundred men.

The government has evacuated all the border communities, sending tens of thousands of families to hotels and guest houses further south to keep them safe, but knows that this is an untenable situation in the long run, as normal life must return to the region for Israel to be a viable state.

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Working on the diplomatic front, the prime minister and other top officials have demanded that UN Resolution 1701, which ended the Second Lebanon War in 2006, be finally implemented, which was supposed to push Hezbollah back several miles from the border.  They have also repeatedly threatened that the military option is still very much on the table. Even if it would not be optimal to fight on two fronts simultaneously, the IDF has been adamant that it is certainly capable of doing so.

The United States has also been working nonstop in the diplomatic arena in order to avert a regional war, warning Iran from Day One to keep its proxy on a tight leash, having its diplomats make the round of Arab countries to encourage them to lend their weight on the issue as well, and sending two American carrier groups and a nuclear submarine to the Mediterranean Sea to back up their words with military might.