Photo Credit: Ayal Margolin / Flash 90
Israeli soldiers patrol near the Israeli border with Lebanon, northern Israel, November 1, 2023.

Eyal Ozen was a 54-year-old farmer from Kibbutz Gesher Haziv in the Upper Galilee. He was killed by an anti-tank missile fired by Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon last Thursday while tending to his apple orchard.

Ozen was the fifth Israeli civilian killed along the border with Lebanon since Oct. 7. His death is further proof that Israelis evacuated from their communities along the border with Lebanon cannot return home until the balance of forces between Israel and Hezbollah is radically transformed in Israel’s favor.


Early last week, Lebanon’s Al Akhbar newspaper reported that Amos Hochstein, President Joe Biden’s senior adviser and point man for dealing with Hezbollah, presented the Lebanese government with a proposal to avoid such a war. Hochstein’s proposal entails Israel surrendering sovereign territory from Nahariya in the west to the Syrian border in the east in exchange for symbolic concessions from Hezbollah.

Since Oct. 7, Hezbollah has gradually escalated its missile and drone assaults against Israeli civilian and military targets in northern Israel. So far, Iran’s Lebanese legion has opted not to launch either a major ground offensive into the Galilee or to expand its missile and drone offensive to areas of Israel further removed from the border.

From the outset, the Biden administration has worked energetically to prevent the expansion of the war in Gaza to the northern front. Biden’s decision to send the USS Eisenhower carrier group to the eastern Mediterranean was informed by this determination.

Israel was initially deeply appreciative of the deployment. In the immediate aftermath of Hamas’s Oct. 7 invasion, Biden’s announcement that he was sending the aircraft carrier group was a life saver. It took Israel several days to mobilize its reserves and remove its civilians from the border with Lebanon. If Hezbollah had attacked before Israel was mobilized and its civilians a safe distance from the border, the holocaust Israel suffered in the south on Oct. 7, would have looked like a walk in the park by comparison.

Hezbollah’s terror army comprises a combination of 150,000 missiles of all ranges and a terror army consisting of fanatical, armed-to-the-teeth veterans of the wars in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. This combined force is capable of invading and occupying large swaths of the Western and Upper Galilee and destroying strategic installations throughout Israel while causing tens of thousands of civilian and military casualties. A Hezbollah assault against an unprepared Israel has the potential to effectively destroy the Jewish state. Which is why the U.S. deployment was a godsend.

Now, however, Israel is in position to block a Hezbollah invasion. And the question of U.S. aims is cause for concern. It is one thing to prevent a war Israel would lose, and perhaps be destroyed fighting. It is another to prevent a war that Israel needs to fight and win to prevent Hezbollah from attacking it in the future. No war means no return of civilians to their homes. It means Israeli farmers permanently unable to return to their orchards and fields, and IDF forces being sitting ducks at the border for as long as they remain deployed. No war, in short, means Israel loses.

This would be true under all conditions, but Hochstein’s offer makes clear that the United States is willing to empower Hezbollah still more and give it an Israeli defeat. In other words, the U.S. policy of avoiding war is actually a policy of standing with Hezbollah against Israel.

The current U.S. position—standing with Hezbollah against Israel in time of war—is a long time in coming. It’s important to understand its origins.

Since at least 2006, under both Republican and Democratic administrations, the United States’ consistent policy has been to ignore the most essential fact about Lebanon: It is not a state. It is Iran’s forward terror base in its war to annihilate Israel, with people living on it.

One of the most important components of the United States’ Lebanon delusion is that the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and Lebanon’s intelligence service, the Internal Security Force (ISF), are independent institutions, when in fact they are controlled by Hezbollah. Other aspects of the U.S. delusion involve insisting that the Lebanese government, parliament and Supreme Court are independent state institutions that control the country, rather than straw organizations whose members live at Hassan Nasrallah’s pleasure, and as a matter of course, do what he tells them to. The final, and arguably most essential component of the U.S. delusion of Lebanon is that the LAF, the ISF, the government, parliament and the courts are able and willing to restrain Hezbollah, or even dismantle it, when they feel that they must, to protect the country.

The first U.S. leader to make this fairytale the basis for U.S. policy was then-secretary of state Condoleezza Rice. During the 2006 Hezbollah war with Israel, Rice opposed an Israeli victory over Hezbollah. She insisted that the best way to push Hezbollah forces away from the border with Israel was by empowering the LAF to stand up to Hezbollah.

The position was absurd on its face. As Rice was singing its praises at the Security Council, the LAF was acting as Hezbollah’s Signals Corps on the battlefield. Its units provided targeting information for the terror army’s missile crews. But reality was no match for Rice’s delusion.

Rice’s brainchild, U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701, which set the conditions for a ceasefire, called for the LAF—with the assistance of UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon)—to prevent Hezbollah from operating in south Lebanon. It was a joke from the very beginning. Hezbollah never left south Lebanon. Under the cover of the LAF, which it controls, and UNIFIL, which Hezbollah has intimidated into silence, Hezbollah rebuilt the war-damaged south as one big missile base.

Rice began a U.S. policy of “strengthening” the LAF and ISF. Billions in U.S. arms began flowing into the arsenals of Hezbollah’s auxiliary forces, which were quick to use them—at Hezbollah’s direction—against Israel. U.S. special forces were deployed to Lebanon to train them.

When Barack Obama came into office, he built on Rice’s delusion with his policy of realigning the U.S. away from Israel and the Sunnis in favor of Iran and its proxies. Obama insisted that the reason the Middle East was unstable was because Israel and the Sunnis were too powerful. The United States would be able to depart the Middle East, Obama argued, if it balanced Israel and the Sunnis by empowering Iran and its proxies against them.


{Reposted from JNS}


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Caroline Glick is an award-winning columnist and author of “The Israeli Solution: A One-State Plan for Peace in the Middle East.”