Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a simple, straightforward message this week when he toured Israel’s border with Syria and Lebanon with top security officials. “Our face is turned toward peace, we are ready for any eventuality, and I don’t suggest anyone test us,” he said Tuesday in a video message he posted on Twitter, the sound of helicopter blades whirring in the background.
The mixed message signaled Israel’s ambivalence about taking on the terrorist group Hezbollah 12 years after Lebanon and Israel were left gutted by a summer war. The 2006 war was costly for both sides: Hezbollah, the preeminent militia in Lebanon, lost political capital for inviting a devastating response to its provocations along Israel’s border. Israel’s military and political class at the time paid a price for not decisively winning a war that precipitated a mass internal movement of civilians southward. READ MORE