Hezbollah Israel Tension: Will they back down or face IDF retaliation?

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told local northern authorities from evacuated communities on Wednesday that Hezbollah must choose between negotiation to withdraw its forces from Israel’s border or facing action by the IDF. “There is one possibility that we will reach a different deal with international negotiators… the second possibility is that we will be forced to do it by force,” he said. Gallant emphasized that Israel does not seek a larger conflict with Hezbollah but will not hesitate to act if necessary. He also mentioned that the military focus will shift to the North after the fighting in Gaza. “Wherever before there was a battalion, there will be a brigade,” he added.

Furthermore, Gallant stated that Hezbollah has suffered significant losses, including over 100 fighters and substantial weapons stores and command facilities. He assured that there will be no threats or gunfire in areas close to the Israeli border. Despite Gallant’s promises, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu overruled him at the start of the war about confronting Hezbollah. Key war ministers Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot also opposed a larger confrontation with Hezbollah. There is a hope among Israeli officials that Hezbollah will comply with a voluntary demilitarized security zone in southern Lebanon. However, it remains uncertain how Israel will respond if no such deal is reached.

During Wednesday afternoon, there were two rounds of exchanges of fire between Hezbollah and the IDF. Additionally, Lebanon complained against Israel over an incident in which Israeli forces accidentally killed Lebanese forces while attacking Hezbollah. The IDF is investigating the incident but has not yet shared details.