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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