Lebanon meanwhile remains a potential Israeli target for expanding the war but unnamed sources claimed that the White House prevented an Israeli invasion of Lebanon early in the war. According to accounts described by the Wall Street Journal, Biden urged Netanyahu to halt a pre-emptive strike against Hezbollah forces in Lebanon days after the Oct. 7 Hamas attack.
Israel had intelligence—which the U.S. deemed unreliable—that Hezbollah attackers were preparing to cross the border as part of a multipronged attack, pushing some of Israel’s more hawkish officials to the brink, officials told the Journal. Israeli warplanes were in the air awaiting orders when Biden spoke to Netanyahu on Oct. 11 and told the Israeli prime minister to stand down and think through the consequences of such an action, according to people familiar with the call.
The Israeli attack didn’t go ahead. And the conversation between Biden and other U.S. officials and Netanyahu and his war cabinet—the details of which haven’t been previously reported—set a pattern of White House efforts to guard against any expansion of the conflict that could draw in the U.S.
This account is being used to “show” that American diplomacy aimed at preventing the war from spreading into a larger regional conflagration is working. In other words, the US is successfully protecting Israeli genocide in Gaza. And after more than two months of strikes that have delivered a significant blow to Hezbollah forces in Lebanon, Israeli officials also expressed optimism that the militant group would agree to withdraw its forces from the Israel-Lebanon border, the Journal concludes. “The feeling is that this is doable now,” one of those officials said.
This is “doable” until the lid blows off, which it will do unless an enforceable cease fire is forced on the Israelis.