Israeli Mayor Calls for Preemptive Strike Against Hezbollah

A mayor of a northern Israeli city near the border with Lebanon has urged his government to launch a preemptive strike against the Iranian-backed militia Hezbollah, saying that war is inevitable and waiting would only increase the casualties.

Kiryat Shmona is a city of about 23,000 people, located close to the border with Lebanon. It has been a frequent target of rocket attacks from Hezbollah, which has an estimated 150,000 rockets and missiles that can reach deep into Israel. The city has been under constant alert since the outbreak of the latest round of violence between Israel and Hamas in Gaza on October 7, which has killed more than 1,000 Israelis and 28,000 Palestinians.

The mayor of Kiryat Shmona, Avichai Stern, told The Daily Beast that he believes war with Hezbollah is unavoidable, and that Israel should launch a preemptive attack to destroy the group’s arsenal and infrastructure. He said that waiting for Hezbollah to strike first would put more Israeli lives at risk, and that Israel has the right and the duty to defend itself.

Stern said that he has witnessed the devastation caused by Hezbollah’s rockets, which have killed and injured dozens of civilians and soldiers in his city and nearby towns. He said that he has also seen the resilience and courage of his people, who have refused to leave their homes despite the danger. He said that he is proud of the strong historical and brotherly ties between Israel and the Jewish diaspora, and that he appreciates the support and solidarity of the international community.

The Militia in Lebanon

Hezbollah is a Shiite Islamist political and military organization that controls large parts of southern Lebanon, where it has built a network of tunnels, bunkers, and missile launch sites. The group is backed by Iran and Syria, and is considered the world’s most heavily-armed non-state actor. The group also has a presence in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and other countries, where it fights alongside Iran and its allies.

Hezbollah and Israel have been enemies since the 1980s, when Israel invaded Lebanon to counter the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). Hezbollah emerged as a resistance movement against the Israeli occupation, and later fought a bloody 34-day war with Israel in 2006, which ended with a UN-brokered ceasefire. Since then, the two sides have maintained a fragile calm, but have occasionally exchanged fire and threats.

Hezbollah has vowed to support Hamas in its fight against Israel, and has condemned the Israeli aggression and blockade on Gaza. The group has also accused Israel of assassinating its top commanders and attacking its positions in Syria and Lebanon. Israel, in turn, has accused Hezbollah of smuggling weapons and fighters from Iran and Syria, and of preparing for a large-scale attack on Israel. Israel has also warned that it will hold the Lebanese government and army responsible for any aggression from Hezbollah, and that it will respond with overwhelming force.

The Regional and International Implications

The conflict between Israel and Hezbollah is not only a bilateral issue, but also a regional and international one. It involves the interests and interventions of various actors, such as Iran, Syria, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United States, Russia, and the European Union. The conflict also has implications for the stability and security of the Middle East and the world, as it could trigger a wider war or a humanitarian crisis.

Iran is the main patron and ally of Hezbollah, and provides it with financial, military, and political support. Iran views Hezbollah as a strategic asset and a deterrent against Israel and the US, and as a tool to spread its influence and ideology in the region. Iran also seeks to establish a land corridor from Tehran to Beirut, through Iraq and Syria, where it has deployed its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and various proxy militias.

Syria is another key ally of Hezbollah, and hosts its headquarters and training camps. Syria has been embroiled in a civil war since 2011, which has killed more than 500,000 people and displaced millions. Hezbollah has intervened in the war on behalf of the Syrian regime, led by Bashar al-Assad, and has helped it regain control of most of the country. Syria also serves as a transit point for Iranian weapons and fighters to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Turkey is a regional rival of Iran and Syria, and a supporter of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. Turkey has condemned the Israeli attacks on Gaza, and has offered to mediate a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. Turkey has also sent humanitarian aid and medical supplies to Gaza, and has called for an end to the Israeli blockade and occupation. Turkey has also been involved in the Syrian war, where it backs some of the rebel groups and opposes the Kurdish forces.

Egypt is a traditional leader of the Arab world, and a peace partner of Israel. Egypt has played a key role in brokering previous ceasefires between Israel and Hamas, and has hosted several rounds of talks between the two sides in Cairo. Egypt has also coordinated with Israel to open its border crossing with Gaza, and to allow the passage of humanitarian aid and relief materials. Egypt has also been a vocal advocate for the Palestinian cause in international forums, and has mobilized the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to support the Palestinians.

Saudi Arabia is a regional powerhouse and a rival of Iran. Saudi Arabia has expressed its concern over the situation in Gaza, and has called for a political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Saudi Arabia has also donated $50 million to the UN relief agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), and has urged other countries to do the same. Saudi Arabia has also been engaged in a proxy war with Iran in Yemen, where it leads a coalition of Arab states against the Houthi rebels, who are backed by Iran and Hezbollah.

The United States is the closest ally and the main arms supplier of Israel, and the leader of the Western world. The US has supported Israel’s right to self-defense, and has vetoed several UN resolutions that criticized Israel’s actions in Gaza. The US has also provided Israel with diplomatic and military assistance, such as replenishing its Iron Dome missile defense system, and sending its Secretary of State Antony Blinken to the region to facilitate a ceasefire. The US has also expressed its commitment to the two-state solution, and has pledged to reopen its consulate in Jerusalem and resume aid to the Palestinians.

Russia is a global rival of the US, and a key player in the Middle East. Russia has maintained good relations with both Israel and Syria, and has intervened in the Syrian war on behalf of the Assad regime. Russia has also called for a de-escalation of the violence in Gaza, and has offered to host a meeting between the Israeli and Palestinian leaders. Russia has also been involved in the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, and has opposed the US withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal.

The European Union is a major donor and a trade partner of both Israel and the Palestinians, and a supporter of the international law and human rights. The EU has condemned the Israeli attacks on Gaza, and has called for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire. The EU has also provided humanitarian aid and medical supplies to Gaza, and has urged Israel to lift its blockade and allow access to the UN and other agencies. The EU has also reaffirmed its support for the two-state solution, and has urged both sides to resume peace talks.

Category: World News

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