Biden Reportedly Convinced Israel To Not Launch Preemptive Attack Against Hezbollah Terrorists

(Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Reagan Reese White House Correspondent
Font Size:

President Joe Biden reportedly convinced Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to launch a preemptive attack against Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon just days after Hamas’ Oct. 7 terrorist attack on Israel, sources familiar with the conversation told the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

Israeli warplanes were in the air Oct. 11 waiting for orders to strike Hezbollah after the country received intelligence that the terrorist group was planning to cross into Israel to attack, officials told the WSJ. As the planes prepared their attack, Biden’s pushback to the planned strike convinced Netanyahu and the Israeli war cabinet to stand down and consider the potential repercussions of the attack, people familiar with the phone call told the outlet.

Israel alerted the United States of its plans to strike Hezbollah after receiving pertinent intelligence reports Oct. 11 at 6:30 a.m., U.S. officials told the WSJ. The country asked for the United States’ support in the attack, the outlet reported.

Several top U.S. officials, including CIA Director William Burns, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Charles Brown, deemed the intelligence Israel received was unreliable as it did not correspond with the United States’, the WSJ reported.

Biden called Netanyahu to express his concerns; the prime minister told the president he would discuss the president’s warning with the Israeli war cabinet, according to the WSJ. Biden warned that such an attack would lead to wider conflict which could be avoided, the WSJ reported.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) hugs US President Joe Biden upon his arrival at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport on October 18, 2023, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. Biden landed in Israel on October 18, on a solidarity visit following Hamas attacks that have led to major Israeli reprisals. (Photo by Brendan SMIALOWSKI / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) hugs US President Joe Biden upon his arrival at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport on October 18, 2023, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Following Biden’s call with Netanyahu, everyone in the northern part of Israel was ordered to go into bomb shelters while the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) prepared to fight Hezbollah as they expected an air and ground attack, according to the WSJ. Six hours later, Israel decided to not attack Hezbollah, the WSJ reported.

President Biden is reportedly pushing Israel to not attack Hezbollah following its war with Hamas, the Washington Post reported. It was previously reported by the Washington Post in October that the United States was urging Israel to not try to take on both groups at once; now, the WSJ offers previously unreported details of the internal conversations.

Whether or not to attack Hezbollah is not the only thing Netanyahu and Biden are at odds about. The two leaders continue to disagree over how to handle the aftermath of Israel’s war with Hamas, as Biden continues to push for a two-state solution, according to the outlet.

The prime minister disagrees with Biden’s proposed two-state solution and the differing in solutions has caused frustration between the two, a source familiar with the president’s thinking told the Washington Post.

Though the United States has committed its unwavering support to Israel, Biden has unusually criticized the country and its war against Hamas throughout the month. During a December campaign reception, Biden told donors Israel was losing global support because of its “indiscriminate bombing” of Gaza, while going on to criticize the Israeli war cabinet. (RELATED: ‘You’re Not Gonna Get A Different Answer Out Of Me’: Kirby Forced Onto Defense By Biden’s Latest Flub)

The president’s criticism comes as he faces growing backlash from within his administration and close allies over his pro-Israel stance.

“Israel’s security can rest on the United States, but right now it has more than the United States. It has the European Union. It has Europe. It has most of the world supporting them,” Biden said at the campaign reception.

“They’re starting to lose that support by indiscriminate bombing that takes place,” the president continued.