Photo Credit: US Institute of Peace
US envoy Amos Hochstein, February 22, 2023.

Special US Middle East envoy Amos Hochstein is expected to arrive in Israel on Monday on a mission to stop the rapidly escalating war with Iran’s Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah.

Hochstein is expected to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, as the Israeli government mulls a limited ground invasion of southern Lebanon.


Hochstein is also likely to travel to Beirut for talks with Lebanese officials in hopes of preventing Israel from moving ahead to eliminate the threat to its population.

Hezbollah Escalating Attacks
The terrorist army has been attacking northern Israel since October 8, the day after Gaza’s Iranian proxy, Hamas, invaded southern Israel, slaughtering 1,200 people, wounding thousands more and abducting some 250 others.

Eight months later, the conflict with Hezbollah has continued to escalate as has the likelihood of all-out war with the Lebanese terror army.

Since the start of the war, Hezbollah has fired more than 5,000 rockets, anti-tank missiles and explosive suicide drones from Lebanon at Israelis and their communities.

IDF Warns Conflict Could Expand
“Hezbollah’s increasing aggression is bringing us to the brink of what could be a wider escalation – one that could have devastating consequences for Lebanon and the entire region,” IDF Spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari warned Sunday in a briefing.

“Because of Hezbollah’s refusal to comply with UN Security Council Resolution 1701 — because of Hezbollah’s military infrastructure; weapons and fire at Israel from the area south of the Litani River in southern Lebanon — and because of Lebanon’s failure to enforce 1701 on Hezbollah — Israel will take the necessary measures to protect its civilians — until security along our border with Lebanon is restored.

“One way or another we will ensure the safe and secure return of Israelis to their homes in Northern Israel; that is not up for negotiation,” Hagari emphasized.

Hochstein’s Track Record
A seasoned diplomat, Hochstein is no stranger to the myriad challenges facing Lebanon, not the least of which is the integration of Iran’s proxy within the Beirut government.

UPDATE: Lebanon, Israel Happy with Final Gas Deal Draft from Hochstein

In October 2022, Hochstein negotiated a maritime boundary agreement between Israel and Lebanon determining which country owns which Mediterranean natural gas field – of which there are several – off the coasts of northern Israel and southern Lebanon.

The American envoy has met several times with Israeli and Lebanese officials since the start of the October 7th war.

More Shuttle Diplomacy
This past March, Hochstein met with Lebanon’s pro-Hezbollah Parliamentary Speaker Nabih Berri.

Speaking with reporters following that meeting, Hochstein said the US remains committed to resolving the conflict between Hezbollah and Israel.

Hezbollah has repeatedly insisted it will continue its attacks on Israel until a permanent ceasefire is reached between the Jewish State and Hamas.

Hochstein cautioned, however, that a ceasefire in Gaza would not necessarily end the hostilities between Hezbollah and Israel.

The envoy also noted that Hezbollah’s attacks on Israel were not at all helpful to Lebanon.

“An escalation will certainly not help Lebanon rebuild and advance forward at this critical time in Lebanon’s history,” Hochstein said.

Gallant Warns Hochstein Israel Demands ‘New Reality’ on Northern Border with Lebanon

In January (2024), Hochstein met with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, who warned him there must be a “new reality” that allows Israelis to return to living SAFELY in their homes along the northern border.

More than 80,000 residents of the region were forced to evacuate due to the life-threatening risk posed by Hezbollah’s incessant rocket, missile and suicide drone attacks launched from across the border.

“We will not tolerate the threats posed by the Iranian proxy, Hezbollah, and we will ensure the security of our citizens,” Gallant said following the meeting.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.