UNIFIL Complains About ‘Lack of Clarity’ of Blue Line Border between Lebanon, Israel

A UNIFIL patrol is seen near the Blue Line between Lebanon and Israel. (EPA)
A UNIFIL patrol is seen near the Blue Line between Lebanon and Israel. (EPA)
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UNIFIL Complains About ‘Lack of Clarity’ of Blue Line Border between Lebanon, Israel

A UNIFIL patrol is seen near the Blue Line between Lebanon and Israel. (EPA)
A UNIFIL patrol is seen near the Blue Line between Lebanon and Israel. (EPA)

Major General Aroldo Lazaro, Head of Mission and Force Commander of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), urged on Thursday Lebanon and Israel to continue to coordinate their movement near the Blue Line with the international force.

The Blue Line marks the border between the two neighbors.

Chairing a regular tripartite meeting between senior Lebanese and Israeli officers at the southern border town of Ras al-Naqoura, Lazaro underscored the importance of coordination to ease tensions.

He added that the “lack of clarity of the Blue Line” has added to tensions.

The Blue Line was established in 2000 after Israel pulled its forces out of southern Lebanon. A project has been in place since 2007 to demarcate the border line.

“The Blue Line marking project provides a guide in approximating the Blue Line trajectory. Clarity on the precise trajectory of the Blue Line is determined through the deployment of UNIFIL assets,” Lazaro said.

Moreover, he noted that actions that stoke tensions, such as the pointing of weapons, firing of live ammunition, laser-pointing, and stone-throwing, have continued along the border areas in spite of his demand that they stop.

He encouraged parties to make use of UNIFIL’s resources “to help avoid tensions like those seen recently.”

Thursday’s discussions focused on the latest UN Secretary-General report, air and ground violations, and other issues within the scope of UNIFIL’s mandate under UN Security Council Resolution 1701 and subsequent resolutions.

Since the end of the 2006 war between Lebanon and Israel, regular tripartite meetings have been held under UNIFIL’s auspices as an “essential conflict-management and confidence-building mechanism,” the UN force said.

“Today’s was the 159th such meeting. Through its liaison and coordination mechanisms, UNIFIL remains the only forum through which Lebanese and Israeli armies officially meet,” it added.



Lebanon Prepares Health, Social Plan Amid War Risks

A Lebanese inspects homes destroyed by Israeli airstrikes in the town of Khiam in southern Lebanon (AFP)
A Lebanese inspects homes destroyed by Israeli airstrikes in the town of Khiam in southern Lebanon (AFP)
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Lebanon Prepares Health, Social Plan Amid War Risks

A Lebanese inspects homes destroyed by Israeli airstrikes in the town of Khiam in southern Lebanon (AFP)
A Lebanese inspects homes destroyed by Israeli airstrikes in the town of Khiam in southern Lebanon (AFP)

Lebanese political and diplomatic efforts to calm tensions between Hezbollah and Israel in southern Lebanon have not eased fears of a potential all-out war. This has led Lebanese ministries to prepare for the worst.

Firas Abyad, the Minister of Public Health in the caretaker government, stated that his ministry has activated a war emergency plan and increased readiness among medical teams.

The Ministry of Social Affairs has also developed strategies to mitigate the impact and respond if a conflict erupts.

“We have a four-month supply of medicines. We’ve strengthened our energy sources like fuel, electricity, and the internet. We’ve also trained our staff for wartime conditions and expect hundreds of thousands to be displaced internally,” said Abyad a few days ago.

A source from the Ministry of Health explained that proactive measures taken in anticipation of potential conflict aim to avoid unexpected situations like those experienced in 2006.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat under the condition of anonymity, the source mentioned that Abyad has been actively involved in refining contingency plans.

“The minister has been actively involved in refining this preparedness plan for months, regularly updating it. We’re also coordinating with international bodies for assistance, which has been positively received,” revealed the source.

The source emphasized that while emergency plans aren’t based on specific war warnings, it’s crucial for the ministry, along with other government bodies, to remain prepared for any unforeseen events.

The source affirmed that the ministry is readying government hospitals, particularly emergency and operating rooms, and coordinating closely with private hospitals.

The ministry is also identifying suitable spots for field hospitals to handle emergencies, providing quick aid to the injured. Additionally, it’s preparing ambulance teams to be available 24/7.

Brig. Gen. Mohammed al-Kheir, the head of Lebanon’s Higher Relief Commission, assured Asharq Al-Awsat that HRC is fully prepared to handle any developments.

He emphasized their focus on providing food, bedding, and supplies to displaced people, particularly those currently fleeing from the south.

Al-Kheir mentioned that the commission operates within its modest annual budget and receives additional aid, including medicines for the Ministry of Health and government hospitals.

For security reasons, he declined to reveal the locations of new shelters or aid storage centers to prevent them from being targeted.