No ceasefire in Gaza, a looming war in Lebanon. ‘Enabling’ is no strategy for success.

By Khaled Elgindy, Responsible Statecraft

As hopes for a Gaza ceasefire continue to fade, the threat of a full-blown war between Israel and Hezbollah is now greater than at any time since October 7.

Following the release of a Hezbollah video shot by surveillance drones over various targets in northern Israel, Israeli officials warned of “an all-out war” in which Hezbollah will be destroyed and Lebanon would be sent “back to the Stone Age.” Not to be outdone, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah is threatening a war with “no restraint and no rules and no ceilings.”

President Joe Biden visit to Israel March 2016 Meet with PM Benjamin Netanyahu

Such a war would be catastrophic for Lebanese and Israeli civilians alike, and risks drawing Iran into wider conflict that engulfs the entire region. It would also instantly unravel what had been one of the Biden administration’s few achievements since October 7 — preventing a full-blown regional war.

Even as the Israel-Lebanon front heats up, however, the most serious threats to de-escalation in Lebanon and to prospects for a Gaza ceasefire come from the Biden administration itself.

One need only look at realities in Gaza, where nearly nine months of war have cost the lives of more than 37,000 Palestinians, the vast majority of them women and children, and reduced most of Gaza to rubble. Despite putting forward a comprehensive ceasefire plan, which now has the backing of the United Nations Security Council, the Biden administration has done little to alter the basic cost-benefit calculations of either side — particularly Israel’s.

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