UN officials skittish about Lebanon-Israel border

UN officials have called for a de-escalation of the conflict along the Israel-Lebanon border, according to Arab News and agencies, on April 8.

But as the conflict enters its seventh month there’s no sign of it stopping.

A recent Israeli strike killed three people, including an elite Hezbollah commander, in the southern Lebanese village of Al-Sultanya.

Hezbollah reportedly also carried out a drone attack against Israel in western Galilee on April 8, just hours after the Israeli strike. This sparked widespread shelling by Israel against southern Lebanese towns and villages.

READ: Lebanon: Israeli warplanes strike 10 Hezbollah targets

The Israeli army has confirmed it conducted exercises and war scenarios, citing its “readiness” for all-out war with Lebanon.

Hezbollah has also asserted the group is “fully prepared”, insisting that it will not agree to end the violence until a ceasefire deal is implemented in Gaza.

The ongoing hostilities recently prompted UN special coordinator for Lebanon, Joanna Wronecka, to release a joint statement with the commander of the UN Lebanon peacekeeping mission, Aroldo Lazaro on April 8.

“The unrelenting cycle of strikes and counterstrikes in breach of the cessation of hostilities constitute the most serious violation of Security Council Resolution 1701 since its adoption in 2006,” they said.

UN Resolution 1701 was critical to ending the previous 2006 war.

The current war has seen a heavy toll with an estimated 279 Iran-backed Hezbollah fighters killed, and over 100,000 citizens displaced.

In addition, 66 civilians have been killed in Israeli strikes, amongst them 23 women, 8 children, 3 journalists, and 18 paramedics.

READ: Lebanon: Hezbollah death toll exceeds 2006 war

The violence has also spread beyond the border, with Israel recently conducting airstrikes deep into Lebanon, prompting the Lebanon PM to roll out a compensation plan for victims.

The continuation of violence prompted the UN officials to de-escalate the situation, “while there is still space for diplomacy.

“It is also imperative to focus anew on the overarching objective of a permanent ceasefire and long-term solution to the conflict. A political process, anchored in the full implementation of Resolution 1701, is now more crucial than ever to address the root causes of the conflict and ensure long-term stability” they added.

The UN officials’ statements echo those of US President Biden, who recently stated that restoring peace was of the “utmost importance”.

 

Arab News / Agencies

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