Photo Credit: Ariel Hermoni / Israel Ministry of Defense
US envoy Amos Hochstein and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in Tel Aviv on Jan. 4, 2024

US special envoy Amos Hochstein announced Wednesday that his efforts to prevent an all-out war between Lebanon’s Iranian proxy, Hezbollah, and the State of Israel, have failed.

Hochstein, a top adviser to President Joe Biden, arrived in the region on Monday for talks in Israel and Lebanon.


The US envoy met first with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, President Isaac Herzog and other tops Israeli officials.

Hochstein then traveled to Beirut, where he met with caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Hezbollah-linked Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, before returning to Jerusalem to convey the results of his efforts.

Israel has repeatedly warned that its military forces will push Hezbollah’s terrorist army back across the Litani River if diplomatic efforts fail to do so.

Resolution 1701 and the Litani River
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 – the ceasefire agreement that ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War between Israel and Hezbollah – called for “a full cessation of hostilities based upon, in particular, the immediate cessation by Hezbollah of all attacks and the immediate cessation by Israel of all offensive military operations.”

The resolution also called for the establishment of a demilitarized zone between the Blue Line and the Litani River (meaning Hezbollah was to withdraw north of the Litani River); deployment of Lebanon Army forces to southern Lebanon; strengthening of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL “peacekeepers”) to enforce the agreement; and the withdrawal of Israeli forces to the Israeli side of the Blue Line – an international line marking the border between Israel and Lebanon.

Hezbollah has never complied with the directives in the agreement, nor has the Lebanese Army, which was tasked with enforcing it together with UNIFIL.

Upon the outbreak of the war against Israel launched on October 7 by Hamas-led terrorists from Gaza, Hezbollah began its own attacks the next day, forcing the evacuation of some 80,000 Israelis from their homes in the north.

Those evacuees are still internal refugees, with no end to the conflict in sight.

IDF Brass Approves Operational Plans for Lebanon
The daily rocket, missile and explosive suicide drone attacks on northern Israeli communities and military bases meanwhile have escalated in frequency and intensity, prompting Israeli leaders to warn a decision on how to proceed is imminent.

This past Tuesday (June 18), Commanding Officer of the Northern Command, MG Ori Gordin, and the Head of the Operations Directorate (J3), MG Oded Basiuk, approved operational plans for an offensive in Lebanon during a joint situational assessment in the Northern Command.

“We have been in a state of war for over eight months,” IDF Chief of Staff LTG Herzi Halevi said Wednesday during a visit to an aerial defense system on the northern border.

Israel Warns of All-Out War in Response to Hezbollah Propaganda Film with Drone Footage of Sensitive Sites in Haifa

“Hezbollah released a video showcasing a capability that we knew about, and we are preparing and creating solutions to deal with such capabilities and others that in due course you will see them implemented when needed,” Halevi said, referring to surveillance footage of Haifa and surrounds released earlier this week by the terrorist group.

“We of course have infinitely greater capabilities, of which I think the enemy is only familiar with a few of them. We will confront them at the right time.

“Our test is to see that today we defend, tomorrow we win, the day after tomorrow we return the residents to a much safer reality, and with them, we also build and restore and make this beautiful area stronger than it was before the war.”

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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.