This article is in continuation of our previous article
A couple of days ago, I asked you on this channel what you thought about the offer Israeli Defense Minister Gantz made to aid the Lebanese army?
An analysis of the results shows that 61% thought it was good that Israeli Defense Minister Gantz offered assistance to the Lebanese army. 14% did not express an opinion, and only 25% thought it was a mistake.
Among those who supported Gantz for the offer to assist the Lebanese army, there were different opinions on whether the offer should have been made public or kept a secret.
Due Diligence: I think it’s good that the Israeli Defense Minister offered Israel’s assistance, and even better that he made it public.
Before we dive a little deeper, it’s important to address the main dilemma in my opinion in offering such assistance to a Lebanese military/government entity:
If a war breaks out with Hezbollah, according to its previous threats Israel will also attack infrastructure and military targets belonging to the State of Lebanon, and not just Hezbollah.
If so, why would Israel offer assistance to the same organization that it intends to attack in a future possible war? Why would Israel aid the Lebanese army when it considers that same army as responsible for any attacks coming out from actions from Lebanese territory at Israel (such as Hezbollah firing rockets at Israel or digging tunnels under its border fence)?
Well, as was in previous similar offers from Israel to Lebanon, and as was with the projection of the Lebanese flag on the Tel Aviv Municipality building after the explosion in the port of Beirut, one has to look at the “bigger picture” here.
To me, the “bigger picture” is the public opinion of Lebanese citizens. Those thinking that all Lebanese citizens hate Israel are wrong. Many in Lebanon are hoping for a different kind of relationship between Lebanon and Israel. Many despise Hezbollah, many more are afraid to say it in public. Many Lebanese citizens are much closer to “Western values” than to “Arab values”.
With each public statement coming from senior Israeli officials in support of the Lebanese people (like Gantz’s recent announcement), another layer in the narrative that Israel is the enemy is being slowly peeled away. It’s not something that will suddenly happen in a single day. It’s a long process. But the timing is key here.
The reason is: On May 15, general elections are scheduled to take place in Lebanon. If Hezbollah’s electoral power weakens, it could change the balance of power in Lebanon.
The United States, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf states have been working hard for several months now to make this happen.
When Israel offers aid, even if rejected by Lebanese officials (not surprising), the message that it’s sending is being heard and is impacting the diverse Lebanese public (“The people of Lebanon are not our enemy”).
Maybe this message will even cross the minds of Lebanese voters when they make their way to the ballots this May.