In a series of strategic political and military moves, Hezbollah is intensifying preparations for an imminent confrontation with Israel, drawing global attention and raising concerns about regional stability. Under the guise of the battle over an Israeli border barrier, the terror group aims to preserve its option of invading the Galilee, while also serving Iran’s interests in establishing a foothold in Syria.
Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, is reportedly promoting the deployment of his forces along the border, with over 30 outposts established for alerting and observation. Lebanese sources suggest that the group is readying itself for a prolonged conflict with Israel, which it believes is gradually accepting new rules of engagement set by Nasrallah.
Incidents include a tent manned by three-eight Hezbollah terrorists in an area south of the border but north of an Israeli security barrier near Mount Dov where the border converges with Syria. The tents are also a few hundred meters away from a Hezbollah border outpost on the Lebanese side of the border. The encampment is not in proximity to any Israeli communities but is in an area where the Israeli Defense Forces regularly operates to prevent infiltrations.
On Saturday, a group of around 18 Lebanese people, including one parliamentarian, crossed the border before being chased back by warning shots.
And in the past week, Hezbollah managed to steal surveillance equipment mounted on an Israeli tower along the border.
As tensions escalate on the border, Lebanon has backed Hezbollah’s claims, rejecting any negotiations with Israel over the border. Al Akhbar, a Lebanese daily close to Hezbollah, reported on Saturday that Beirut demands that Israel recognize the border established in 1923 and withdraw from the village of Ghajar. Nasrallah’s recent remarks further emphasized this stance, warning of an inevitable escalation if the situation is not resolved promptly.
Furthermore, Hezbollah continues to provoke the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and challenge Israel along the Blue Line, exacerbating border incidents and violating established orders. Nasrallah’s threats to resist any attempts to remove a tent erected in Israeli territory, signaling the terror group’s determination to assert its presence in the region.
The mounting tension has drawn the attention of the United States, which is attempting to mediate between Israel and Lebanon to prevent a full-scale confrontation. Amos Hochstein, the American special envoy, known for his involvement in previous mediation efforts on maritime border disputes, has been dispatched to the region.
Hezbollah’s military capabilities have also seen significant improvements, with the group maintaining 15 battalions, including the elite “Radwan Unit” of 8,000 highly trained fighters. This force has been redeployed from the Syrian conflicts to the Israeli border, bringing with it invaluable operational experience.
Additionally, there have been reports of a noteworthy enhancement in Hezbollah’s unmanned aerial and air defense capabilities, as well as anti-tank weaponry.
The Israel-Lebanon Border
The Blue Line demarcating the 120 km-long border was created in 2000 by UN cartographers to verify Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon, which the UN Security Council later certified as complete. The border runs from Rosh HaNikra on the Mediterranean coast to Mount Dov, where the Israeli-Lebanese border converges with Syria. Hezbollah says it does not recognize the Blue Line and disputes numerous points along the border.
Among those points is a strip of land on Mout Dov itself, which Israel captured from Syria. Hezbollah claims the area called Shebaa Farms belongs to Lebanon. Syria has not commented on the matter.
International peacekeepers from the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) have been deployed in southern Lebanon to monitor the border since 1978.
However, Israel and Lebanon reached a US-brokered agreement delineating their maritime borders in October 2022.
Hezbollah has in the past year constructed no fewer than 27 military posts along the border.
The posts were built under the guise of Green Without Borders, a Hezbollah-affiliated organization that poses as an environmental NGO. Hezbollah launched the project in parallel to Israel’s construction of a fortified perimeter fence along the entire border. Israel’s effort to fortify the border was prompted by the discovery of Hezbollah cross-border attack tunnels in 2018.
[Reader Mayer Ilovitz points out that green is the signature color of Islam, and green without borders refers to Islam without borders.]
According to United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War, the terror group is forbidden from operating near the border and Israeli officials have been critical of UNIFIL’s inability to stop Hezbollah.
Hezbollah is believed to be responsible for a roadside bombing inside Israel at the Megiddo junction in March. Its leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, is believed to have given a green light to Palestinian terror groups in Lebanon to fire a barrage of rockets in April during the beginning of the Passover holiday.
Hezbollah perceives Israeli social divisions over judicial reform as a sign of weakness.