As the Israel-Hamas war advances, the clashes along the Lebanese-Israeli border indicate that Hezbollah does not want to engage beyond the implied rules of conflict that were set with Israel after the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war—at least, not yet.

The group wants to reap the benefits of the war without risking the loss of its strategic position in Lebanon. But this calculated engagement could shift at any moment, and become a full-scale Hezbollah-Israel war due to miscalculations or a change in the Hezbollah and Iranian leadership’s assessments.

In any case, the Hamas attack of Oct. 7 and the aggressive nature of the war that has followed might eventually lead to the end of the 17-year-old deterrence approach along the Lebanese-Israeli border and shift both Israeli and the U.S. policies toward Iran and Hezbollah in the Middle East.