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Thursday, July 25, 2024

Israel-Lebanon. Tension is growing at the border

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Israel of wanting to extend the war in the Gaza Strip to the conflict with Lebanon. Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin, in turn, said that the shelling of northern Israel by Lebanese Hezbollah could drag both countries into war. Due to the growing tension between Tel Aviv and Beirut, the German and Canadian foreign ministries have called on their citizens to leave Lebanon.

A week ago, the Israel Defense Forces announced that plans for the offensive on Lebanon had been approved and a decision had been made to “continuously increase the readiness of land forces.” The Times of Israel website then recalled that Israel warned that it would not tolerate the presence of the Lebanese organization Hezbollah supported by Iran at its northern border.

Read more: The Israeli army has approved plans for an offensive on Lebanon

Since the outbreak of the war in the Gaza Strip in October 2023, the Hezbollah terrorist group that controls southern Lebanon has been regularly shelling the territory of Israel, and the country's army has responded with fire. Clashes have recently intensified, raising fears of a full-scale conflict breaking out.

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Erdogan accuses Netanyahu

On Wednesday, the president Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed solidarity with Lebanon against the background of the country's growing tensions in relations with Israel and appealed to Middle Eastern countries to support Beirut, Reuters reported.

The Turkish president accused the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahuthat it plans to expand the war in Gaza to cover the entire region. He warned that this would lead to a “disaster”. He also said that Western support for Israel is “deplorable.”

In 2022, Türkiye and Israel began to normalize bilateral relations. However, according to the Turkish media, relations have “reached a new low” in connection with Israeli actions in the Gaza Strip. President Erdogan has repeatedly criticized the Israeli authorities, and in May Ankara announced the suspension of export and import transactions involving Israel, covering all products.

USA on “Hezbollah provocations”

Boss Pentagon Lloyd Austin in a Tuesday meeting with Israeli Defense Minister Joav Galant, he said that shelling of northern Israel by Lebanese Hezbollah could drag the two countries into a war that would be a disaster for Lebanon and civilians on both sides. According to Washington, Galant was to opt for diplomacy and avoiding war.

– Hezbollah's provocations threaten to drag the Israelis and Lebanese into a war they do not want. Such a war would be a disaster for Lebanon and would be devastating for Israeli and Lebanese civilians, Austin said during talks with Galant at the Pentagon. The head of the Ministry of Defense stated that USA they are trying to find “a diplomatic agreement that restores lasting peace to Israel's northern border.”

The Israeli minister himself announced that he would discuss the issue of military readiness with Austin, and although he stated that he was working on a diplomatic solution, both sides must be ready for “every possible scenario.”

For Galant, it was the second day of his visit to Washington. On Monday, he met with representatives of the White House and US Foreign Minister Antony Blinken. As State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said on Tuesday, Blinken heard from the minister that Israel prefers a peaceful solution to the conflict that will allow residents of the border areas shelled by Hezbollah to return to their homes. Despite rising tensions and the growing risk of open war, Miller said the U.S. is still not advising its citizens to leave the region, as the authorities did. Canada.

Nevertheless, according to Axios, during his recent visit to Beirut, US envoy Amos Hochstein asked the Speaker of the Lebanese Parliament, Nabih Berri, to convey a message to Hezbollah that its assumption that the US controls Israel is incorrect. Biden's envoy added that the US will not be able to stop Israel if tensions on the border increase further, and Hezbollah should negotiate indirectly with Israel rather than escalate the situation.

Germany's 'extraordinary concern'

The head of German diplomacy also expressed “extreme concern about the rising level of violence” and the “growing risk of a full-scale regional conflict.” Annalena Baerbock during Monday's visit to the region.

Speaking at a security conference, Baerbock also warned, as a “friend” of Israel, that it could “lose itself” in the war with Hamas and that “growing anger” over the plight of civilians in the Gaza Strip undermines Israel's security. “Together with our partners, we are working hard to find solutions that can prevent further suffering. The risk of unintended escalation and total war is growing every day, said the head of the German Foreign Ministry.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs German in turn, called on German citizens to leave Lebanon. “Tensions in the border areas with Israel have increased and may escalate further at any time,” the ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

Canada urges citizens to leave Lebanon

Canada also on Tuesday again urged its citizens to leave Lebanon, saying the security situation in the country was becoming increasingly unstable and unpredictable.

– My message to Canadians has been clear since the beginning of the crisis in the Middle East: this is not the time to travel to Lebanon. And for Canadians currently in Lebanon, now is the time to leave while commercial flights are available, Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly said in a statement.

PAP, Reuters, Deutsche Welle

Main image source: AYAL MARGOLIN/PAP

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