He leads an army of more than 100,000 dedicated and battle-hardened fighters equipped with thousands of missiles, rockets, and armed drones that can hit targets deep inside Israel with pinpoint accuracy. He inspires and commands the loyalty of Iran-backed militias across the Arab world.

So when Hassan Nasrallah, the head of the Lebanese Hezbollah and the most powerful non-state actor in the world, says that he doesn’t wish to broaden the war in Gaza to help his Palestinian ally Hamas, the region should breathe a sigh of relief – because his words matter.

But Nasrallah’s intentions alone are hardly sufficient to prevent regional escalation. Israel’s willingness to avoid another catastrophic war with Hezbollah, like the one in 2006, is critical, too. Yet it is not known what the Israeli war cabinet is thinking or what it wants to do.

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