Over the years, it has become de rigueur and increasingly predictable to state that "there is no military solution to the conflict" regarding Israel's long-standing conflict with its enemies. Nonetheless, the Hamas massacre of October 7 has demonstrated that, regardless of the frequency of its usage, it is increasingly understood not to be untrue.
Regarding Gaza, Israel has tried any number of other solutions, whether diplomacy during the Gaza-First phase of Oslo: autonomy, disengagement, and enfranchisement. None of them worked to end Hamas's irredentist and extremist beliefs and goals. In fact, its leadership has gone on record claiming that it was precisely these policies and the attempted enrichment of Gaza by Israel that were used to lull the Jewish State into the widely-held belief that the Islamist terror group's military ambitions had been contained and constrained.
The State of Israel has been forced into the military solution to destroy Hamas because it seems that nothing short of this goal will end the threat to Israel.
Israel-Hezbollah: The Crisis on the Northern Border
On Israel's northern border, the situation is even more complex.
Since the IDF's retreat from southern Lebanon in 2000, the Islamic Republic of Iran's proxy Hezbollah has entrenched itself on Israel's northern border, threatening the Jewish State's civilian communities.
After the Second Lebanon War, United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 called for the disarmament of Hezbollah and no "armed forces other than UNIFIL [UN Interim Force in Lebanon]" to be based south of the Litani River" in southern Lebanon. Lebanon and Israel accepted the conditions and the Jewish state fully implemented its part of the deal – following the conflict that had been instigated by Hezbollah's unprovoked attack. Hezbollah, however, did not disarm and instead strengthened its presence on Israel's border – with a reported 100,000 trained fighters and a missile arsenal of around 150,000 which can reach every inch of Israeli territory with impressive accuracy. Thus, the attempted diplomatic solution to this conflict failed.
NOW THAT Hezbollah has decided to unilaterally attack the Jewish state once again, forcing Israel into evacuating around 100,000 of its citizens from the North, it is clear that this problem requires a military solution.
At the moment, US envoy Amos Hochstein is trying to find a non-military solution to this conflict, but he will likely fail.
The emphasis by the international community has been on Resolution 1701, thus aiming to adopt a strategy that has already shown its uselessness. There will be attempts to buttress UNIFIL – a peacekeeping mission established in 1978 that has singularly failed in its mission to keep the peace. UNIFIL soldiers have been constantly threatened and humiliated by Hezbollah and its only role appears to be to ensure that its own soldiers don't get killed.
Even if negotiations yield some type of show of a retreat by Hezbollah to beyond the Litani River, it will only be a matter of time before the global focus recedes, before the Shi'ite terrorist group returns. The major problem is that Hezbollah has no ambition – and every interest to remain exactly where it is and provide a strong deterrent for its paymasters in Tehran, should Israeli leaders decide to act against Iran's nuclear weapons capability, which is an existential threat to the Jewish State.
The ayatollahs require Hezbollah's threat against Israel to deepen and not weaken, so there is no possibility that it will divest its genocidal intentions and rid itself of its massive military capabilities.
This really only leads us to consider a military solution to the problem with Hezbollah. Simply put, the IDF will have to fight and defeat them.
Even though their goal is to eliminate Israel, Hezbollah clearly doesn't want an escalation or a war specifically at this time, and its leader Hassan Nasrallah has made this abundantly clear in his long rants against the Jewish State. So, perhaps now is precisely the time to strike. Israel cannot return its citizens to the border until it does.
Hezbollah has the capability to dwarf the massacres of October 7 and cause many times the number of deaths. It must eventually be dealt with, especially if Israel seeks to deal a devastating blow to the Iran-led "Axis of Resistance," which is attacking the Jewish State on seven fronts. In addition, if Israel is serious about ensuring that the Islamic Republic never acquires nuclear weapons capability, it will need to remove Iran's most vicious and powerful proxy in the region.
It is certainly a difficult task and not one to be taken lightly, but it is clear that all other options have been tried and have failed. Entering into war is not an enjoyable or enviable task, but throughout history, wars have led to enduring peaceful solutions. It is not a matter of if Israel has to go to war with Hezbollah, but when. Eventually, it will have to forcefully defeat the Shi'ite Islamist army – the question is whether it will do so after a massive invasion and attack on Israel, with unprecedented bloodshed, or before.
It is unfortunately clear what the inevitable answer must be.
Nave Dromi is director of the Middle East Forum's office in Israel and head of the Israel Victory Project. She is the author of a new book, Rifle Full of Roses, which examines how radical agendas have influenced the IDF in recent decades.