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News & Analysis

Hizbullah Decolonized South Lebanon, Northern Palestine Is A Work In Progress

Omar Ahmed

Image Source - Pixbay Free Content

“What is happening on the Lebanese front today is very crucial, impactful, and unprecedented in the history of the entity,” declared Hizbullah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on November 3, 2023.

As part of the wider regional war centered on Israel’s ongoing genocidal campaign in the Gaza Strip, one of the fronts that has undoubtedly taken the limelight is the Yemeni front. It has garnered increasing international attention. More specifically, the Ansarallah-aligned armed forces’ naval operations against Israeli-linked vessels have expanded. They are not just operating in the Red Sea, but have now ambitiously expanded to the Indian Ocean as well.

Another front in the multi-front conflict, however, which has been escalating in recent weeks. Though somewhat overshadowed by activities off the Yemeni coast, it is the one in northern occupied Palestine. It involves Lebanon’s Hizbullah movement and its armed wing, the Islamic Resistance.

In fact, this front had been the first to be opened by the Axis of Resistance, the day after the launch of Hamas-led Al-Aqsa Flood resistance operation on October 7, 2023. On October 8, the Lebanese resistance movement launched guided rockets and artillery against three Israeli posts in the occupied Shebaa Farms. This was “in solidarity” with the Palestinian people, prompting cross border exchanges with the occupation army.

Wary of being coaxed into a multi-front conflict, amid an unprecedented Palestinian resistance operation, now in its sixth month, Israel had initially been careful not to significantly escalate skirmishes on the northern front. Instead, it primarily pursued targeted assassinations and strikes against Hizbullah infrastructure in the south, refraining from attacking into Lebanon’s strategic depth.

Similarly, Hizbullah in a calculated display, concentrated on disrupting Israel’s surveillance systems along the border. It refrained from actions that could provide Israel with justification for another devastating and costly war. This was based on Hizbullah’s calculation that Lebanon is faced with economic crisis and political uncertainty. Under such circumstances, a full-blown war would prove detrimental to Lebanon’s well-being.

Inevitably, though Israel ramped up its ethnic cleansing campaign in Gaza, launching a much-delayed ground invasion in late October. It has committed war crimes amounting to genocide. As a consequence, cross-border action also intensified between Hizbullah and the occupation army. By November, Hizbullah introduced “new” heavy arms into the conflict, including the Burkan, a powerful medium-range mobile ballistic missile against Israeli outposts and barracks.

The situation escalated dangerously when Israel carried out a targeted drone strike against Hamas deputy leader, Saleh Al-Arouri and six others in the Hizbullah stronghold of Dahiyeh, a southern suburb in Beirut. There have also been continuous assaults on Southern Lebanon which have claimed the lives of many Lebanese civilians.

Despite the absence of a lasting ceasefire in Gaza, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has vowed to step up attacks on Hizbullah. He indicated that Israel will continue its aggression independently from the south until its genocidal goals are achieved. Indeed, some observers have speculated that should a ceasefire be imposed in the Gaza war—which itself would represent a strategic defeat for the occupation entity—Israel will shift its focus to the northern front.

Sami Nader, director of the Middle East Institute for Strategic Affairs, was quoted by Asharq Al-Awsat as saying that: “Israel would focus more on the northern front if a ceasefire was reached in Gaza.”

For Hizbullah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, even the planned invasion of Rafah in Gaza would be indicative of a loss for the zionist entity. In a speech addressing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he said: “You have failed to achieve any of Gaza war’s targets, even Rafah operation will not offer you an image of victory.”

The reality is that any serious escalation on the northern front would accelerate the current decolonization efforts taking place in occupied-Palestine. Hizbullah has proved in previous decades that liberation can be achieved through armed resistance, as was seen in the Israeli defeat in southern Lebanon in 1985 and comprehensively in 2000 resulting in the zionists fleeing in disgrace.

Even the Israeli media has acknowledged the “tactical challenges” imposed by Hizbullah in the Galilee region that has left the occupation military unsure how to confront the resistance movement. This development comes as the area has been significantly depopulated (or more accurately decolonized) of zionist settlers over the past six months. There are now many “ghost cities” along the border with Lebanon.

One high-ranking occupation army officer was quoted by Yedioth Ahronot as saying “Indeed, I am committed to safeguarding the north and fulfilling my duty, but without residents, one cannot help but question the purpose.”

The outlet elaborates: “The stark reality is that Galilee no longer resembles its once flourishing state, but rather resembles a war-torn zone, with uncertainty surrounding who truly holds control,” and that “Those with experience fighting in southern Lebanon during the 1990s will be instantly reminded of those days.”

In late October, the Israeli army had announced plans to evacuate 28 settlements on the northern territories. Despite the military’s request for settlers to return to their settlements, many of the 60,000 “residents” are refusing to head back to the border regions amid near-daily attacks by Hizbullah.

In an interview with Haaretz, leader of the Kibbutz movement, Nir Meir warned that “If Hizbullah’s [elite] Radwan Force is not expelled to north of the Litani River, there will be no Jewish settlement along the north[ern border], and that includes the 28 kibbutzim that were evacuated.”

Crucially, according to a recent survey among Israelis living abroad, conducted by the Hebrew University at the initiative of the World Zionist Organization, 80 percent of respondents said they do not intend to return to Israel. This is despite feeling unsafe in their current countries of residence.

Amidst a horrendous civilian death toll in Gaza and escalating pressure from both the US and the international community, as well as growing isolation and economic strain on the occupation regime, Tel Aviv will inevitably face the necessity of a ceasefire.

Driven by the imperative to secure his political career and that of his extremist coalition government, Netanyahu may find himself reluctantly compelled to escalate tensions with Hizbullah in the north. Such a decision could prove fateful, hastening the demise of the military occupation of northern Palestine, as the momentum toward dismantling settler-occupation is already in full swing.

Article from

Crescent International Vol. 54, No. 2

Ramadan 22, 14452024-04-01

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