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Gallant: Hostage Deal Would Not Tie IDF’s Hands against Hezbollah

July 8, 2024

by: Andrew Bernard ~ JNS

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sraeli Defense Minister Yoav

Monday, 8 July 2024 | Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said on Sunday that any cease-fire deal reached with Hamas in Gaza will have no bearing on Israel’s actions with regard to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

“Your goal is to ensure your readiness and to erode the enemy’s [Hezbollah’s] capabilities,” he told commanders and troops during a situation assessment in the Hermon region of the Golan Heights.

“Even if we reach an agreement for a hostage deal—and I very much hope that we will be able to achieve it—it does not bind us regarding what happens here [on the northern border],” he said.

“If there is a cease-fire there [in the south], here [in the north] we will continue fighting and doing everything necessary to bring about the desired result [of returning home tens of thousands of Israeli evacuees],” added the defense minister.

Late last month, Gallant met in Washington with White House senior adviser Amos Hochstein to discuss the “actions required to achieve a framework that enables the safe return of Israeli communities to their homes in the north.”

Hochstein has rejected Jerusalem’s demand that a diplomatic deal be based on the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701—which was adopted to end the Second Lebanon War in 2006 and calls for a demilitarized zone from the UN-demarcated Israel–Lebanon Blue Line border to the Litani River some 18 miles [28 km.] to the north.

Instead, he said it should include a range of options, including moving Hezbollah six miles [9.6 km.] from the border. He stressed that the US was concerned about further escalation and called for calm on both sides.

On Sunday afternoon, three Israelis were wounded, one seriously, when a Hezbollah anti-tank missile fired from Lebanon scored a direct hit in the area of Moshav Zarit in the Upper Galilee. Earlier, a 28-year-old man was seriously wounded by shrapnel in a Hezbollah rocket barrage on the Lower Galilee.

Dozens of launches were detected throughout northern Israel on Sunday, sparking fires in several areas near Tiberias and forcing the closure to visitors of Arbel National Park near the Sea of Galilee.

Hezbollah said that the barrage was a response to the killing of one of its senior terrorists by the Israel Defense Force on Saturday. Meitham Mustafa Altaar, a key operative in the Iranian terror proxy’s aerial defense unit, was killed in an Israeli drone strike in eastern Lebanon.

Hezbollah has attacked Israel’s north nearly every day since October 8, firing thousands of UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles], rockets and anti-tank missiles at Israeli towns, killing more than 20 people and causing widespread damage.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has vowed to continue the attacks until a “complete and permanent cease-fire” is reached in Gaza.

In this respect, mediators are working to revive US President Joe Biden’s phased proposal presented in May, which calls for an initial “full and complete” six-week cease-fire during which dozens of Israeli hostages still held by Hamas would be exchanged for hundreds of Palestinian terrorists held in Israeli prisons.

Mossad [Israeli intelligence agency] Director David Barnea traveled to Doha over the weekend to jump-start negotiations. Upon his return, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office announced that a team would be dispatched this week to continue the talks.

Posted on July 8, 2024

Source: (This article originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on July 8, 2024. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: US Secretary of Defense/Flickr/

Photo License: Wikimedia