Hezbollah's Global Reach

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I'm going to assume for the moment that the attacks on Israeli diplomatic vehicles in India and Georgia are the work of Hezbollah, which has promised attacks; which has recently been active in plotting attacks in Thailand, and which can reach into the rain forests of Latin America. It could be another group, of course, but Hezbollah is the obvious suspect. So: Does this mean war? No, not necessarily. This was not a fatal rocket attack across the Lebanese border. No one was killed in these attacks, and only one person was injured -- the wife of a diplomat who had just dropped her children off at school in New Delhi. Yaacov Katz in The Jerusalem Post lays out the choices before the Israeli government:

Until the attacks on Monday, a debate had been raging within the Israeli defense establishment what the appropriate response should be to an overseas attack, if and when one took place.

Hezbollah is understood to prefer such an attack - against an embassy, an El Al plane or a consulate - rather than one along the northern border since this would allow it a level of deniability.

Nevertheless, there are some officials within the defense establishment who believe that such an attack needs to be met by a fierce response.

Just last month, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz warned Hezbollah not to test Israel's resolve by perpetrating a terror attack against an Israeli target overseas. If Israel does not respond, it could be perceived as a paper tiger.

Other officials believe that Israel should not go to war over any attack and that the country's reaction would need to depend on the chosen target and of course the outcome, i.e. the number of casualties.
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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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