For someone who never misses a chance to threaten Israel with eternal destruction, Hassan Nasrallah and his Iran-sponsored militia have stood idle as Israel launched its full-scale military campaign against the Palestinian people under the pretext of the systematic eradication of Hamas, Iran’s Palestinian proxy.
Rather than taking any military action to support his allies in Palestine by joining the ongoing fight and opening a second front against Israel’s northern border with Lebanon, Nasrallah and the so-called “axis of resistance” did nothing to turn their famous slogan “we will pray in Jerusalem” into a reality.
The start of the Israeli settler attacks on the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem coincided with “International Jerusalem Day,” which falls on the last Friday of the month of Ramadan, a day declared by the leader of the Iranian revolution Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to support the people of Palestine, or so he claimed. Ironically, Nasrallah used to the occasion this year declare that “the Axis of Resistance is serious, honest, and true, unlike all previous words of Arab regimes,” and that, “we can feel that al-Quds is nearer.” Quds is the Arabic name for Jerusalem.
Be that as it may, the events which unfolded in Palestine, and the violence that ensued, did nothing for Nasrallah and his Iranian patrons, save to increase their march towards utter embarrassment, as it further exposed Hezbollah and Iran as the hypocrites they really are – something they tried to hide by becoming more vocal and devising gimmicks to overcompensate.
One of their most theatrical exploits came when Hezbollah a few days prior to Eid, the holiday that celebrates the end of the holy month of Ramadan, requested that all mosques and his supporters launch a synchronized call for prayer from their balcony, which many ridiculed over social media, branding their neutrality as nothing but a blatant cowardly act.
Hezbollah was further exposed when its Palestinian version, Hamas, put up a decent fight against Israel by unleashing thousands of missiles into Israel, and while the Israeli Iron Dome defense system was able to shoot down almost 90 percent of those projectiles, Hamas was nevertheless able to terrorize its Israeli enemies and paralyze many of its city and towns. More damaging to the image of Nasrallah and Hezbollah was the fact that they were replaced as the supposed face of the “Axis of Resistance” by the masked Hamas spokesperson Abou Obeida, whose regular media appearances soon gave him a following across the Arab world.
Simply put, the war on Gaza reconfirmed the obvious: That Hezbollah is nothing but a satellite of Iran that takes its orders from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps – which funds and oversees its activity on the Mediterranean and beyond. Hezbollah might have felt intimidated to join the battle, especially given that its forces have been thinned out by various deployments in Syria, Iraq and Yemen in support of Iran’s expansionist project.
However, the real reason why it could not turn its apocalyptic desire to destroy Israel into reality is simply its Iranian patrons do not wish to affect the ongoing nuclear talks in Vienna with the Biden administration. Iran’s ambitions for sanctions relief evidently trump any of its claims for resistance across the region, as when a real conflict strikes, its proxies fail to provide support.
Locally, Hezbollah scrambled to try to convince its power base that its inaction was in fact an act of resistance, and that its potential involvement in the ongoing struggle might hurt its Palestinian allies, rather than help them, as it would cause wider western and American support to Israel. While Hezbollah did nothing serious to disturb the tranquility on the Lebanese border with Israel, which its carefully patrols, it nevertheless allowed, or even carried out, the firing of some rockets to be fired into Israel, the majority of which ended up falling inside Lebanese territories.
These unprofessional rocket attacks were in fact a clear message to Israel that Hezbollah was far removed from any military action, and that it has decided to step aside and refrain from causing any trouble on Israel’s northern border both in Lebanon and in the south of Syria, where its troops are active. Consequently, Hezbollah fell back on what it does best which is use the populism and rhetoric to divert attention from that fact that its “weapons of resistances” have not been used for this purpose since ever. Thus, Hezbollah mobilizes and instigated huge demonstrations in support of Gaza and directed its supporters to try to cross the Lebanese borders, something which led to the death of one of its supporters who was fatally shoot as he tried to climb over the fence separating the two borders.
A famous Arab proverb underscores that “when a man is tested, they are either honored or shamed.” When it came time for Hezbollah’s test, it became clear that the Iran-sponsored Lebanese militia has no interest in pursuing the liberation of Palestine, but rather its single item agenda is to wait out the Vienna talks, which if successful will give Iran a much-needed push to continue its regional expansion and thus would allow Hezbollah to further dominate Lebanon and its Arab neighboring countries.
The Middle East is in urgent need of liberation from the corruption and military hegemony of Iran and its violent, hypocritical proxies. Should such a day pass, then perhaps all people regardless of their religion could pray in Jerusalem.