Hezbollah Leader Hassan Nasrallah ‘Failed to Deliver’ for Palestinians | NEWSWEEK

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Avi Melamed’s insights quoted in “Hezbollah Leader Hassan Nasrallah ‘Failed to Deliver’ for Palestinians”, an article by Jason Lemon for NEWSWEEK.

Avi Melamed, a former Israeli intelligence official who also served as an Arab affairs adviser to Jerusalem mayors, told Newsweek that Nasrallah’s speech “firmed up Hezbollah’s position and strategy that his group will continue as it has done since October, but his comments seemingly indicate Hezbollah will not be expanding the conflict and will not fully activate the second front.”

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah disappointed many Palestinians and their more militant supporters on Friday as he gave his much anticipated first public remarks since Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel.

The unexpected assault by Hamas, a militant Palestinian group that controls Gaza and is backed by Iran, left more than 1,400 dead, according to the Associated Press. Israel subsequently declared “war” on the group and launched a heavy bombardment of Gaza, while simultaneously cutting off fuel, food and electricity to the densely populated area. As of Friday, more than 9,000 Palestinians have been killed, the AP reported.

In the weeks since the initial Hamas attack, Hezbollah, a Lebanese militant group backed by Iran, has exchanged near-daily artillery fire with Israel, resulting in casualties on both sides. Throughout the escalating tensions, Nasrallah remained conspicuously absent from the public eye, with lower-level officials addressing the press and rallies of supporters.

When it was announced on Sunday that Nasrallah would finally address the public, many expected the Hezbollah leader would announce additional actions or a major escalation.

Instead, Nasrallah touted Hezbollah’s current involvement in the conflict, saying his group had joined the war on October 8. He largely renewed warnings to the United States and Israel that the group’s lower-level leaders had already made. He also called for a ceasefire in Gaza and reiterated Hezbollah’s support for Hamas and the Palestinian people.

“The depth of the disappointment for those who want Hezbollah to do more against Israel is a reflection of the height of anticipation leading up to Nasrallah’s speech. For them, Nasrallah’s speech failed to deliver,” said Firas Maksad, a senior fellow and director of outreach at the Middle East Institute.

Maksad told Newsweek that Nasrallah simply outlined what the group was already doing to divert Israel’s military resources away from Gaza and toward Lebanon. The Lebanese group’s leader also said that Hezbollah and Iran had no role in planning or foreknowledge of Hamas’ attack on Israel, as Iran and lower-level Hezbollah leaders have previously said.

“Nasrallah’s speech demonstrates that mutual deterrence continues to hold on the Lebanon-Israel front and that, for now, the tacit rule of engagement will remain in place unless there is an unforeseen major development,” Maksad said.

Lebanese, Palestinians and many others across the Middle East had been anxiously awaiting the speech, with some speculating that Nasrallah would announce that Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed groups would be declaring full-out war on Israel. Instead, the Hezbollah leader suggested the current level of involvement would continue unless Israel takes steps to escalate.

Hilal Khashan, a professor of political science at the American University of Beirut, told Newsweek that Nasrallah’s remarks came across as “defensive and apologetic.”

“Nasrallah’s ambiguity hinted that Hezbollah would not go to war against Israel, predicting Israel’s failure to achieve its war objectives and heralding Hamas’ divine victory,” Khashan said.

Newsweek reached out by email to the U.S. State Department and the Israeli military for comment.

On Friday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a warning to Hezbollah. “Regarding the North—I want to repeat to our enemies: do not underestimate us. A mistake on your part will come at a high cost. A cost you cannot even imagine,” Netanyahu said, according to The Jerusalem Post.

The State Department previously told Newsweek that Hezbollah should refrain from getting involved in the conflict. “Any decision by Hezbollah or other actors to drag Lebanon into this conflict would have terrible consequences for the Lebanese people. They deserve better,” a spokesperson said.

Avi Melamed, a former Israeli intelligence official who also served as an Arab affairs adviser to Jerusalem mayors, told Newsweek that Nasrallah’s speech “firmed up Hezbollah’s position and strategy that his group will continue as it has done since October, but his comments seemingly indicate Hezbollah will not be expanding the conflict and will not fully activate the second front.”

Nasrallah said his group was involved in the war, according to Melamed, but he assessed that “given Hezbollah’s military capacity, what we’ve seen over the last few weeks is far from its full committed military capabilities.”

Hezbollah remains popular among large factions of Lebanese society but has suffered politically in recent years as the country has fallen into a deep economic crisis. More than half of Lebanon’s population lives below the poverty line, according to the World Bank.

Although many Lebanese are sympathetic to the Palestinian cause and view Israel as an aggressor in the region, few would be eager for a full-scale war with their neighbor to the south. Lebanon officially views Israel as an enemy state. In 2006, Hezbollah and Israel fought a 34-day war that is estimated to have killed 165 Israelis and more than 1,100 Lebanese.


Avi Melamed’s insights quoted in “Hezbollah Leader Hassan Nasrallah ‘Failed to Deliver’ for Palestinians”, an article by Jason Lemon for NEWSWEEK.

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Avi Melamed
Avi Melamedhttps://insidethemiddle-east.com
Avi Melamed is an expert on current affairs in the Arab & Muslim World and their impact on Israel & the Middle East. A former Israeli Intelligence Official & Senior Official on Arab Affairs, Fluent in Arabic, English, and Hebrew, he has held high-risk Government, Senior Advisory, Intelligence & Counter-Terrorist intelligence positions in Arab cities & communities - often in very sensitive times - on behalf of Israeli Government agencies. He is the Founder & CEO of Inside the Middle East | Intelligence Perspectives - an apolitical non-partisan curriculum using intelligence methodology to examine the Middle East. As an Author, Educator, Expert, and Strategic Intelligence Analyst, Avi provides Intelligence Analysis, Briefings, and Geopolitical Tours to diplomats, Israeli and foreign policymakers, global media outlets, and a wide variety of international businesses, organizations, and private clients on a range of Israel and Middle East Affairs.

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