Hezbollah refuses US advances but willing to engage in diplomacy to prevent escalation of conflict

Hezbollah, backed by Iran, has rejected Washington’s initial suggestions for reducing tit-for-tat fighting with Israel, according to Lebanese officials. The group is, however, open to US diplomacy in order to avoid a disastrous war.

US envoy Amos Hochstein has been leading efforts to restore security at the Israel-Lebanon border as the region edges closer to a major escalation of the conflict sparked by the Gaza war. The urgency has increased subsequent to attacks by Iran-aligned Houthi rebels in Yemen on ships in the Red Sea, US counterstrikes, and fighting elsewhere in the Middle East.

Hezbollah is willing to entertain diplomatic talks, yet it has found the ideas presented by Hochstein unrealistic. The group has emphasized that it will continue to fire rockets at Israel until there is a full ceasefire in Gaza. This rejection of Hochstein’s proposals has not previously been reported.

Despite the rejection and Hezbollah’s rocket attacks in support of Gaza, the group’s willingness to engage in diplomatic discussions suggests a desire to avoid a broader conflict. Israeli Prime Minister’s office did not respond to questions about diplomatic discussions, and representatives for Hezbollah and the Lebanese government did not offer immediate comments.

Hezbollah has indicated that following the conclusion of the Gaza war, it may be open to Lebanon negotiating a mediated deal regarding disputed border areas. Hochstein, known for successful mediation between Lebanon and Israel, brokered an agreement delineating the countries’ disputed maritime boundary in 2022.

Hezbollah’s engagement in diplomatic talks reflects a desire to avoid a full-scale conflict, as it would be ruinous for Lebanon, a country already destabilized by financial and political crises. The group has expressed a willingness to support Lebanon as it negotiates for de-escalation. Despite threats and the risk of escalation, the group is seeking diplomatic possibilities through a mediated deal settling the status of disputed border areas.