Oh, he's a sly one, that Netanyahu!
When the IDF took out that Hezbollah convoy in Syria on 18 January, we thought, "here we go!" It's Netanyahu with his predictable pre-election escalation. It's the time-tested Netanyahu strategy of shaping the landscape in such a way that he makes himself look like the indispensable "strong hand."
Even Israelis who loathe Netanyahu fall for that one again and again.
But the wily fox seems to be taking a different tack. After the 100% predictable Hezbollah retaliation of the past week, we expected Southern Lebanon to be consumed in fire and brimstone. Instead, we get some vaguely conciliatory verbiage about how back-channel messages from Nasrallah indicate that Hezbollah is not wanting an escalation...
What the hell is that all about? Has the Greatest Leader Since Moses gone soft?
So aside from the immediate bombardment of a few Lebanese border villages, there has been no retaliation for the Hezbollah attack, and for the moment at least, it appears that the PM is treating this as a balanced ledger.
Not only that, but today we learn that Israel is cooperating in an investigation into the death of that Spanish peace-keeper who died in that initial retaliation.
Bibi cooperating in an international investigation of Israel?
There you have it! Bibi the "strong hand" is yesterday's man...
He has remade himself as a man of peace, moderation, and reconciliation, just in time for the election!