In Change of Strategy, Hizbullah Takes Responsibility

YERUSHALAYIM -

Hizbullah, as we noted here recently, has decided on a change in strategy, opting to ramp up the level of confrontation with the IDF, at least a degree or two.

Opportunities have not been lacking and, according to its leaders, Israel’s killing of one of its members two months ago ­— when he went to examine an Israeli listening device and it was detonated remotely — precipitated Tuesday’s attack at Har Dov.

Hizbullah did not hide behind some renegade faction; it came out and claimed responsibility openly and brazenly, as if to say, “We did it, and we are ready to deal with the consequences.”

This definitely indicates a serious turn of events, after almost eight years of Hizbullah avoiding any armed confrontation with Israeli forces.

Perhaps Israel’s deterrent power has eroded. Perhaps they came to different conclusions about the recent war with Hamas than Israeli claims of victory. Or there might be a connection with its situation in Lebanon and its involvement in the Syrian civil war on Assad’s side.

What is the seriousness of this incident — of their decision to send men into Israeli territory to plant bombs on a well-known IDF patrol route with the intention of wounding or killing Israeli soldiers? That is why a second bomb was detonated nearby just a short time later: they aimed to harm soldiers who came to the aid of the wounded.

Hizbullah is setting out to demonstrate to the Lebanese that it is continuing its campaign to regain the Sheba Farms area from Israeli hands. This is territory that even the Europeans say does not belong to Israel, which makes it easy politically for Hizbullah to act there without running afoul of the U.N. or the Lebanese government.

Does this mean that Hizbullah will seek to widen the confrontation, with the risk of war? No. But its leaders are also ill at ease hearing time and again from Israeli officials that Hizbullah is too embroiled in local Lebanese struggles to take on Israel. So it suits them to ramp up the tensions periodically, but not more than that.