Israel and Lebanese Hezbollah are on the brink of a new war. On Friday, 19 rockets were fired at Israel from Lebanese territory, the most intense shelling since the 2006 war. Israel did not leave the attack unanswered. The region believes that these incidents may be part of the confrontation between Israel and Iran.
19 rockets were fired on Friday morning from Lebanese territory at Israel. Of these, three fell in Lebanon, and ten were intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system. This is the most intense shelling of Israel from the north since the 2006 Lebanese-Israeli war, which claimed hundreds of lives. Israel did not leave the attack unanswered. According to a statement from the Lebanese army, about 40 shells were fired towards the republic. No casualties or injuries were reported. Both sides emphasize that the strikes were carried out in “open terrain”. UN peacekeepers stationed in Lebanon to prevent such incidents have called on both sides for a ceasefire.
The situation on Israel’s northern border has escalated sharply in recent weeks. Friday’s shelling was the third since the swearing- in of Israel’s new government, led by Naftali Bennett, on June 13. Previous attacks took place on 20 July and 4 August.
There were several more incidents in May. Israel has indicated that Palestinian groups based in Lebanon are responsible for the latest attacks. At the same time, everyone understood that behind them was the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah, which co-ntrols the south of the country – without his approval, attacks on Israel would have been impossible.
This time, Hezbollah itself took responsibility for shelling Israeli territory for the first time in a long time.
The movement said in a statement that it was a response to Thursday’s Israeli airstrikes in southern Lebanon.
As a rule, Israelis respond to attacks on their territory from Lebanon with shelling. However, on Thursday, they raised aircraft. According to Lebanese President Michel Aoun, this is the first “of its kind since 2006” attack by the Israeli Air Force on Lebanese populated areas. There have been several incidents in the years since the war between Israel and Hezbollah, but air attacks are indeed rare.
As a result, this week the Lebanese authorities decided to file a complaint against Israel with the UN Security Council “in connection with the aggression”, and Hezbollah responded in its own way. “The resistance forces (as the Arab world calls the movements fighting with Israel . – Kommersant ) could not help responding to the Israeli air strike, as it became a violation of the rules of the game after 2006,” sources close to Kommersant told Kommersant. Hezbollah “.
Israel must understand that Lebanon is not a free zone for settling scores and testing its capabilities, “Hezbollah deputy leader Sheikh Naim Qassem said in an interview with the Lebanese Al-Mayadin TV channel.
Following Friday’s attack, Naftali Bennett held an emergency security meeting with Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Army Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi. The results were not reported to the press. The official representative of the Israeli army Amnon Shefler told reporters: Israel is not interested in the growth of violence on its northern border, but will not allow the border to turn into a front line.
According to him, Israel believes that Hezbollah also does not want a full-scale war. At the same time, Israel is making it clear that they consider the strikes against Lebanon to be legitimate, since they were provoked by Hezbollah and its allies.
As an Israeli source familiar with the situation noted in an interview with Kommersant, the Jewish state will never leave strikes on its territory unpunished. In Israel, they say they are ready for a new battle. Kommersant’s interlocutor declares that it is better to take preventive measures than to be in the position of a loser. At the same time, he added that Israel has no problems with the state of Lebanon, but only with Hezbollah. The source stressed that Hezbollah was and remains the “hand of Iran”, which is trying to wage war against Israel on several fronts, encouraging military action by Palestinian groups in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria. “We are particularly concerned about Hezbollah’s attempts to transform the Syrian south near our borders into a new Hezbollastan, similar to the south of Lebanon,” he said.
Israel believes that Iran wants to pave the way from Iran to Lebanon through Syria to supply weapons to Hezbollah.
Something turns out to be done right now. According to the source, Hezbollah continues to remain in southern Syria, despite an agreement between Russia and Israel that pro-Iranian forces will withdraw from the border with Israel.
Tensions between Israel and Iran have been so high lately that Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, when asked this week whether Israel is ready to take military action against Iran, said yes. Some Leba-nese journalists believe that Hezbollah’s Friday attack on Israel is Iran’s response to Beni Gantz.
The aggravation of the situation on the Lebanese-Israeli border coincided with tensions around Iran.
Tehran is accused of attacks on ships in the Gulf of Oman, some of them have Israeli owners or operators.
“Iran’s behavior, along with its support for proxy forces and non-state armed actors, threatens international peace and security. We call on Iran to cease all actions inconsistent with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, ”the G7 Foreign Ministers said in a statement on Friday in connection with the attack on the Mercer Street tanker last week. This is not only about threats to maritime security, but also about the influence of Iran on the situation in the Middle East as a whole, including in Iraq, Yemen, Syria and Lebanon.
“Lebanon is not involved in the Iranian-Israeli clash in the Gulf of Oman, and the state, with its legitimate military and security forces, is responsible for protecting citizens and ensuring elements of sovereignty,” former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri tweeted Friday . He stressed that “using the south of the country as a platform for resolving regional conflicts with unexplored results and consequences is a step into the unknown, which puts the whole of Lebanon at the crossroads of foreign wars.” A number of other Lebanese politicians have also criticized the recent incidents.
For the Lebanese, outside interference is especially dangerous. The country is teetering on the brink of a civil war. There has been no government in Lebanon for over a year.
Politicians cannot come to a compromise while the country is going through one of the worst economic crises in recent world history.
The political conflict boils down mainly to disagreements between the camps of Saad Hariri and President Michel Aoun, who is supported by Hezbollah. The country is split.
And many experts believe that it is now beneficial for Hezbollah to ward off the Lebanese anger over internal problems amid growing criticism. At the same time, Hezbollah does not want to be held responsible for unleashing a war with Israel that will suffer civilians as it did in 2006.
The fact that Hezbollah will not be forgiven for this was clearly demonstrated on Friday by residents of a Druze village, who stopped a truck with a rocket launcher, which was returning from shelling of Israel. Residents have shown that they do not want to become human shields for Hezbollah.
Lebanese journalists called this the first case of civilian resistance to the influential Shiite movement.