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Lebanon ‘Will Not Allow’ Flare-up Along Southern Front with Israel

Lebanon ‘Will Not Allow’ Flare-up Along Southern Front with Israel

Sunday, 16 May, 2021 - 09:45
Lebanese soldiers near the Israeli border after people attempted to approach the crossing. (dpa)

A senior political source ruled out an escalation along the southern Lebanese border that could be an extension to the open military confrontation between the Gaza Strip and Israel.

In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, the source said that Hezbollah had no interest in expanding the confrontation to the South, which has been witnessing marches near the borders in solidarity with the Palestinians.

The prominent politician confirmed ongoing coordination between the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) command, Lebanese Army and the ruling forces in the South, represented by Hezbollah and the Amal movement.

The Eid al-Fitr celebrations in the southern villages were not affected by the tensions witnessed in some border areas. Those areas witnessed limited confrontations between demonstrators in front of Fatima Gate in the border town of Kafr Kila and Israeli soldiers. Lebanese army units, in cooperation with UNIFIL, managed to restore calm to the area.

According to the source, the symbolic participation of Hezbollah in the protest movements had more than a political meaning, which was evident in the modest presence of party members.

Moreover, the firing of three rockets from the southern village of Qoleilat was only a message of solidarity with the Gaza Strip and would not lead to a confrontation between Hezbollah and Israel, especially as the two sides have no interest in sparking a conflict in this area.

The source noted that any confrontation in the South would push Iran’s opponents to place the precision missiles, which Hezbollah’s Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah constantly boasts about, on the negotiating table.

The party wants to avoid such a scenario, according to the source, in light of the escalating political impasse in Lebanon over the stalled formation of a new government and the insistence of the Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rai on the “internationalization” of the Lebanese crisis.

The patriarch has called for holding an international conference under the auspices of the United Nations to declare Lebanon’s neutrality, which would put Hezbollah’s weapons in the spotlight.

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