But the US has privately warned Israel that it would face significant challenges and costs if it launched a large-scale military operation against the Iranian-backed group, according to the Washington Post.
The Post reported on Thursday that US officials have conveyed to their Israeli counterparts that they are concerned about the potential for a regional war that could destabilize the area and endanger the US interests and allies.
The Post cited unnamed sources who said that the US officials have told the Israelis that Hezbollah has improved its capabilities and preparedness since the 2006 war, when the two sides fought a 34-day conflict that killed more than 1,000 people, mostly Lebanese civilians.
The sources said that the US officials have warned the Israelis that Hezbollah has amassed an arsenal of more than 100,000 rockets and missiles, some of which can reach deep into Israel and target its strategic and civilian sites.
The sources also said that the US officials have cautioned the Israelis that Hezbollah has gained valuable experience and confidence from its involvement in the Syrian civil war, where it has fought alongside the regime of Bashar al-Assad against the rebels and the Islamic State.
The sources also said that the US officials have reminded the Israelis that Hezbollah has the support and the backing of Iran, which is Israel’s arch-enemy and a regional rival of the US and its allies, such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The sources also said that the US officials have advised the Israelis to pursue a diplomatic and political solution to the conflict, and to avoid any unnecessary provocation or escalation that could trigger a war.
The Post’s report came amid a series of incidents and statements that have raised the temperature and the tension along the Israel-Lebanon border, where the UN peacekeeping force, UNIFIL, has been trying to maintain calm and stability.
On Saturday, Hezbollah said that it fired 62 rockets at an Israeli observation post in the occupied Shebaa Farms area, as a “preliminary response” to the killing of Hamas’s deputy chief in Beirut earlier this week, which it blamed on Israel.
Israel said that it responded by striking a “terrorist cell” that took part in the attacks, and that it also hit “additional targets” belonging to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
On Sunday, Israeli President Isaac Herzog said that the rocket attack was “a serious violation” of the UN resolution that ended the 2006 war, and that Israel would “respond with force” to any further aggression.
On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel was “ready for any scenario” and that it would “not allow any harm to its sovereignty or its citizens”.
On Tuesday, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said that the rocket attack was “a message of deterrence and a warning” to Israel, and that Hezbollah was “ready and prepared” to confront any further Israeli aggression.
On Wednesday, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said that Israel was “not interested in escalation, but we are ready for it”, and that Israel would “act forcefully and decisively” against any threat.
On Thursday, Hezbollah deputy leader Naim Qassem said that Hezbollah was “not afraid of war” and that it would “defend Lebanon and the resistance” against any Israeli attack.
The escalation of the Israel-Hezbollah conflict comes amid a raging war in Gaza, where Israel has been bombing the Palestinian enclave for nearly three months, killing more than 20,000 people, mostly civilians, and displacing nearly 90 percent of its population.
The war in Gaza was sparked by a Hamas rocket attack on Oct. 7, which killed more than 1,200 Israelis, the worst massacre of Jews since the Holocaust.
The war in Gaza has also triggered a wave of solidarity and support for the Palestinian cause across the Arab and Muslim world, as well as among many countries and people around the world, who have condemned Israel’s violations of human rights and international law, and called for an end to the occupation and the siege, and for the recognition of the Palestinian right to self-determination and statehood.