Israel is a country tragically all too familiar with violence and warfare. But even in the bloody annals of the Jewish state, October 7, 2023 is, and will likely remain, a unique wound. The images of murdered civilians strewn in the streets of the towns surrounding the Gaza Strip intertwining with the cries of abducted children being carted off into the dark abyss of the Hamas-controlled enclave to haunt the Israeli national psyche – and all people of conscience –  for decades.

The U.S.-mediated Lebanon-Israel maritime border agreement was hailed as a diplomatic accomplishment upon its signing two years ago. In each of the three countries, officials declared that their national objectives had been accomplished, and that a regional war had been narrowly avoided.  Some pro Lebanon analysts even hailed the agreement as a major victory over Hezbollah, which they claimed has recognized  Israel’s existence.

Lebanon suffers from a sovereignty deficiency, most obviously highlighted by Hezbollah’s existence and its usurpation of several state prerogatives. Nevertheless, it is important to recognize that Hezbollah exploited a pre-existing vacuum of state power within Lebanon’s fabric as a country rather than creating it.

A deceptive calm has prevailed along the Blue Line since the end of the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war. Since then, the pastoral beauty of south Lebanon and the northern Galilee has obscured Israel and Hezbollah’s obsessive preparations for the future conflict that both parties believe is inevitable. At Iran’s behest, the Shiite organization has laid the groundwork to establish frontlines in south Lebanon, the Gaza Strip, and Syria – from which it can menace the Jewish state.

Tensions have been unusually high along the Lebanese-Israeli border.

Last week, Hezbollah and the Free Patriotic Movement quietly ended their seventeen-year alliance that began with the signing of the Mar Mikhael Memorandum of Understanding in February 2006. The rupture occurred quietly and would have gone unnoticed had FPM’s Jimmy Jabbour not announced it in an interview on Al-Jadeed. Jabbour naturally laid the blame on Hezbollah, saying the Shiite group had initiated the break.

This week brought news that Hezbollah is briefing the United Nations on Lebanon’s political landscape.  Joanna Wronecka, a Polish diplomat who has been serving as the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Lebanon since 2021, publicly thanked the head of Hezbollah’s Foreign Relations unit, Ammar Al-Mousawi, for giving her a “tour d’horizon on issues of priority for Lebanon.” Almost as if to stress the point, she expressed her appreciation to al-Mousawi in both Arabic and Engli

It would appear that the latest rumors of Hassan Nasrallah’s demise are, once again, greatly exaggerated. The Hezbollah Secretary-General suffered no stroke, is alive and well, and even gave a scheduled speech on Tuesday marking the third anniversary of the death of former IRGC-Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani, and former Popular Mobilization Forces deputy commander Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis.

“UNIFIL Blames Hezbollah for Inciting Citizens!” screamed a headline in Nidaa al-Watan, one week after residents of the south Lebanon town of Al-Aqbiyeh killed an Irish UNIFIL peacekeeper last Wednesday. The headline this week quotes a reported tense exchange between UNIFIL’s Commander, Maj. Gen.