Israel, Lebanon Move to Ease Tensions

lebanon israel flags

Israel and Lebanon on Monday rushed to ease tensions following a deadly border skirmish that left one Israeli soldier dead, with the enemy countries holding a face-to-face meeting with U.N. peacekeepers and pledging their commitment to a seven-year-old cease-fire.

The U.N. peacekeeping force along the volatile border, UNIFIL, said it called the meeting to “establish the facts and circumstances” behind the flare-up in violence and to restore a cease-fire that has been in place since a 2006 war. It said both sides pledged to preserve “calm and stability.”

In Sunday’s incident, a Lebanese sniper opened fire at an Israeli vehicle traveling near the border area of Rosh Hanikra, killing a soldier inside. Several hours later, the Israeli military said it shot two Lebanese soldiers after spotting “suspicious movement” in the same area. It was the heaviest fighting between the enemy countries in more than three years and drew condemnations and threats of retaliation from Israel.

Late Monday, the Lebanese army distanced itself from the incident, saying the shooting was the result of an “individual act” by a soldier.

It said a military committee was investigating the incident and was coordinating with the U.N. peacekeeping mission. With the shooter in custody, there was no word on a motive for the attack and no mention of the two soldiers allegedly shot by Israel. The Lebanese army stressed its full commitment to U.N. resolutions, including maintaining the 2006 cease-fire.

The tame language, and near apology for the incident, was rare for the Lebanese military, which is usually quick to point out Israeli border transgressions. It suggested that Lebanon was keen to avoid a conflagration on its border at a time of severe tensions resulting from the civil war in neighboring Syria.

Likewise, Israeli officials tried to lower the tensions. “The idea is to bring the situation back to normal and not aggravate the situation,” said Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, a military spokesman.

The border has remained mostly quiet since the monthlong war in the summer of 2006, though there have been sporadic outbursts of violence. In the most serious incident, Lebanese forces killed a high-ranking Israeli officer in 2010, claiming the Israeli army had crossed the border while uprooting a tree. Israel responded with artillery fire that killed three Lebanese. Given the years of enmity between the two countries, even the smallest incident raises the risk of sparking a wider conflagration.

Late Monday, UNIFIL said it had convened a meeting of senior Israeli and Lebanese officers at the Naqoura border crossing, near the site of the shooting. UNIFIL’s commander, Maj. Gen. Paolo Serra, and the U.N. special coordinator for Lebanon, Derek Plumbly, also attended.

In a statement, Serra said preliminary findings indicated the Lebanese sniper had acted alone, in violation of operational rules and procedures. He said the sides discussed “concrete steps” to strengthen security arrangements, and emphasized their interest in preserving “calm and stability.”

“I was encouraged by the discussion at the tripartite meeting and by the way the parties approached the issues at hand,” Serro said. “They affirmed their full commitment to the cessation of hostilities.”

Lebanon and Israel have been officially at war since Israel’s creation in 1948. Each country bans its citizens from visiting the other, and there are no direct trade ties or diplomatic relations.

Their armies do not communicate directly, but in cases of increased tension exchange messages through the U.N. Face-to-face meetings under U.N. auspices like Monday’s sporadically take place, Israeli officials said.

The 2006 war broke out after Iranian-backed Hezbollah guerrillas crossed into Israel and captured two Israeli soldiers. The ensuing monthlong conflict killed about 1,200 Lebanese and 160 Israelis.

Hezbollah has an arsenal of tens of thousands of missiles and rockets aimed at Israel, and Israeli officials say it is only a matter of time for renewed fighting against the Shiite militia. But officials believe Hezbollah is not interested in fighting at the current time because it is preoccupied with the war in Syria, where it is aiding the forces of President Bashar Assad.

Israel and Lebanon have fought several wars before. In 1982, Israel invaded Lebanon with the stated intention of driving Palestinian guerrillas out of the south. The Israeli military battled halfway through the country into Beirut and occupied south Lebanon until 2000.

The Lebanese are banned from calling or traveling to Israel or having contacts with Israelis. Such an offense is punishable by anything from a few weeks to life in prison with hard labor, depending on the kind and level of contact. All Israeli products are banned in the country, including Israeli films.

Israel restrictions are slightly less stringent, with phone calls to Lebanon and Lebanese film screenings permitted, though it is a punishable offense for an Israeli to visit Lebanon.

The two nation’s carriers do not fly over each other’s airspace. Travelers coming from Israel to Lebanon usually go through Jordan or Egypt. Those with Israeli stamps in their passports are deported, which forces travelers to carry a second passport.

Those who have visited in Lebanon and arrive in Israel are heavily questioned at the border or airport.

ABC/AP

  • cook

    Peace treaty?

    • Leborigine

      Why not! As long as Israel respects our borders and sovereignty, take back the Palestinians and stop claiming our national dishes as theirs, I think that is a bloody great idea.

      • 5thDrawer

        Falafel is Egyptian. ๐Ÿ˜‰
        But the yucchy Labneh?? โ€ฆ now THAT could be claimed I think โ€ฆ

        • Leborigine

          I can’t argue with that. The Egyptians can keep that, its only a ball of ground legumes. Sahtain 3a qalboun ๐Ÿ™‚

      • cook

        “Israel respects our borders and sovereignty” – definitely

        “take back the Palestinians” – whaaaaaa lol wait a minute ..

        • 5thDrawer

          You need the ‘peace’ first. Details get worked out, little by little, AFTER protagonists decide they won’t kill each other any more.

        • Leborigine

          lol, c’mon man, its not that hard. There are only approximately 350000 of them. Tel Aviv and west Jerusalem are under populated, they will only fill in the gaps and provide a positive outcome for israels economy – Think about it!

          • cook

            Id rather have Israel annex Area C i.e. 100,000 Arabs than to import some from Lebanon. Whats stopping them from going to Syria

          • Leborigine

            Syria is not their home, Areas A & B is their home. Plus why go and live in syria when you can live in israel

          • cook

            Cause that would dramatically change the demographics in Israel (come on, you know how these people breed like rats) and would stop Israel from representing Jews if Jews are a minority

          • Maborlz Ez-Hari

            Are you listening Doron, Ben yoal? If you are such an honourable people how does this attitude present itself so often. Passing on people as rats and demographically unsuitable due to potential misrepresentation of Israeli Jews. You can’t just relocate a people to another country or countries to suit your needs they are not cattle. Do you see the effect this has of people’s opinions regarding Israel?

          • cook

            “You can’t just relocate a people to another country” – meaning that Lebanon cant just go relocating arabs who call themselves “palestinians” into Israel?

            You think France or Germany or any other country would agree to having its ethnic group as a minority?

            Some people will hate Israel no matter what. Remember what happened when Sharon cleansed every Jew from Gaza in 2005? not just rocket attacks but even more anti-Israel bias in leftist media

          • Maborlz Ez-Hari

            Arguing with a fool requires two fools, sorry I can’t help you.

          • cook

            Now you’re just being childish

          • Maborlz Ez-Hari

            Your saying the Palestinians in Lebanon are Arabs claiming to be Palestinians, sorry you are a fool.

          • Adam Yonatan Ben Yoel

            It really depends on how you look at it folks. Ethnicity, nationalism, identity and statehood are a big can of worms which the world has yet to resolve.

          • doron

            Hey Maborlz ๐Ÿ™‚

            just read the article for the first time and i have to agree with Hera.
            respect lebanon’s border and sovereignty- definitely
            take 350k palistinians into israel – no way!
            they don’t belong in israel, the ones that left befor 1951 should be citizens of their location at that time according to UN. I know they are nothing but a source of problem for you but, fortunatly, international law say they have no claim in israel.

            ones that fled at 1967 have a legitimate claim and that is the PA.

          • cook

            1967 ones have a claim if a palestinian state is established, which it wont. The civilized world will prevent it.

            Real Israeli people will soon become like the taliban, fighting the PLO entity

          • Adam Yonatan Ben Yoel

            I’ll tell you what. I’d do almost anything for a peace deal with Lebanon. What I would do is sign something that says that Lebanon will have priority in finding a solution to the refugee issue. I would even give Har Dov. Heck, take the whole Golan if someone can make me believe that it will not be used for attacks. I personally think that the Palestinians in Lebanon should be allowed to move to Jordan.

          • Igor Chingoski

            Your statement strikes Me as very hypocritical since those Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are precisely there because of Israel taking their land. If they are not rats and You speak so highly of them, then take them to live to Israel! How come it is demographically unsuitable for Israel and not for Lebanon?

          • Maborlz Ez-Hari

            You addressing me?

          • 5thDrawer

            No sane person is going TO Syria.

          • doron

            tel aviv under populated?? i wish.. the rent is outragious these days. rent is 4 times higher then it was 10 years ago

          • Leborigine

            There you go :-), and when the Palestinians return to Haifa, the rent will go up to 10 times higher due to demand and that will be good for the home and land owners, thus good for the economy.

          • doron

            oh please no ! the rich ones might like that but most of us are struggling to make ends meet. further increase on rent and i’d be living in a tent ๐Ÿ™

      • Constantin7

        Our problem in Lebanon is the Palestinian presence, so the solution is the Palestinian exit from Lebanon. They go back to Palestine, or the West Bank (to live in another camp) or to ANYWHERE in the world (US, Canada, Australia, etc…) I do not care less. The important thing for me as a Lebanese is that they are OUT. As Israel is the reason for their existence in Lebanon, Israel should be part of finding these human beings a place to live with dignity, and this place will never be in Lebanon.

        • Leborigine

          I know Constantine, you need to tell that to the people who supported them against their fellow Lebanese! I know the creation of Israel was the cause, but if you (not necessarily you you) sit down for one minute and really think about the way this whole thing was handled since 1948, it could have been handled in a much better way if we and our f&^ked up neighbours were a bit more proactive and civilised. The british and the French in 1948 had big plans of world denomination and manipulation while the arabs and the middle eastern countries were drinking coffee and squabbling with each other over left overs and pussy!

  • Heraclitus

    Peace treaty?

    • Leborigine

      Why not! As long as Israel respects our borders and sovereignty, take back the Palestinians and stop claiming our national dishes as theirs, I think that is a bloody great idea.

      • 5thDrawer

        Falafel is Egyptian. ๐Ÿ˜‰
        But the yucchy Labneh?? โ€ฆ now THAT could be claimed I think โ€ฆ

        • Leborigine

          I can’t argue with that. The Egyptians can keep that, its only a ball of ground legumes. Sahtain 3a qalboun ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Heraclitus

        “Israel respects our borders and sovereignty” – definitely

        “take back the Palestinians” – whaaaaaa lol wait a minute ..

        • 5thDrawer

          You need the ‘peace’ first. Details get worked out, little by little, AFTER protagonists decide they won’t kill each other any more.

        • Leborigine

          lol, c’mon man, its not that hard. There are only approximately 350000 of them. Tel Aviv and west Jerusalem are under populated, they will only fill in the gaps and provide a positive outcome for israels economy – Think about it!

          • Heraclitus

            Id rather have Israel annex Area C i.e. 100,000 Arabs than to import some from Lebanon. Whats stopping them from going to Syria

          • Leborigine

            Syria is not their home, Areas A & B is their home. Plus why go and live in syria when you can live in israel

          • Heraclitus

            Cause that would dramatically change the demographics in Israel (come on, you know how these people breed like rats) and would stop Israel from representing Jews if Jews are a minority

          • Maborlz Ez-Hari

            Are you listening Doron, Ben yoal? If you are such an honourable people how does this attitude present itself so often. Passing on people as rats and demographically unsuitable due to potential misrepresentation of Israeli Jews. You can’t just relocate a people to another country or countries to suit your needs they are not cattle. Do you see the effect this has of people’s opinions regarding Israel?

          • Heraclitus

            “You can’t just relocate a people to another country” – meaning that Lebanon cant just go relocating arabs who call themselves “palestinians” into Israel?

            You think France or Germany or any other country would agree to having its ethnic group as a minority?

            Some people will hate Israel no matter what. Remember what happened when Sharon cleansed every Jew from Gaza in 2005? not just rocket attacks but even more anti-Israel bias in leftist media

          • Maborlz Ez-Hari

            Arguing with a fool requires two fools, sorry I can’t help you.

          • Heraclitus

            Now you’re just being childish

          • Maborlz Ez-Hari

            Your saying the Palestinians in Lebanon are Arabs claiming to be Palestinians, sorry you are a fool.

          • Adam Yonatan Ben Yoel

            It really depends on how you look at it folks. Ethnicity, nationalism, identity and statehood are a big can of worms which the world has yet to resolve.

          • doron

            Hey Maborlz ๐Ÿ™‚

            just read the article for the first time and i have to agree with Hera.
            respect lebanon’s border and sovereignty- definitely
            take 350k palistinians into israel – no way!
            they don’t belong in israel, the ones that left befor 1951 should be citizens of their location at that time according to UN. I know they are nothing but a source of problem for you but, fortunatly, international law say they have no claim in israel.

            ones that fled at 1967 have a legitimate claim and that is the PA.

          • Heraclitus

            1967 ones have a claim if a palestinian state is established, which it wont. The civilized world will prevent it.

            Real Israeli people will soon become like the taliban, fighting the PLO entity

          • Adam Yonatan Ben Yoel

            I’ll tell you what. I’d do almost anything for a peace deal with Lebanon. What I would do is sign something that says that Lebanon will have priority in finding a solution to the refugee issue. I would even give Har Dov. Heck, take the whole Golan if someone can make me believe that it will not be used for attacks. I personally think that the Palestinians in Lebanon should be allowed to move to Jordan.

          • Igor Chingoski

            Your statement strikes Me as very hypocritical since those Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are precisely there because of Israel taking their land. If they are not rats and You speak so highly of them, then take them to live to Israel! How come it is demographically unsuitable for Israel and not for Lebanon?

          • Maborlz Ez-Hari

            You addressing me?

          • 5thDrawer

            No sane person is going TO Syria.

          • doron

            tel aviv under populated?? i wish.. the rent is outragious these days. rent is 4 times higher then it was 10 years ago

          • Leborigine

            There you go :-), and when the Palestinians return to Haifa, the rent will go up to 10 times higher due to demand and that will be good for the home and land owners, thus good for the economy.

          • doron

            oh please no ! the rich ones might like that but most of us are struggling to make ends meet. further increase on rent and i’d be living in a tent ๐Ÿ™

      • Constantin7

        Our problem in Lebanon is the Palestinian presence, so the solution is the Palestinian exit from Lebanon. They go back to Palestine, or the West Bank (to live in another camp) or to ANYWHERE in the world (US, Canada, Australia, etc…) I do not care less. The important thing for me as a Lebanese is that they are OUT. As Israel is the reason for their existence in Lebanon, Israel should be part of finding these human beings a place to live with dignity, and this place will never be in Lebanon.

        • Leborigine

          I know Constantine, you need to tell that to the people who supported them against their fellow Lebanese! I know the creation of Israel was the cause, but if you (not necessarily you you) sit down for one minute and really think about the way this whole thing was handled since 1948, it could have been handled in a much better way if we and our f&^ked up neighbours were a bit more proactive and civilised. The british and the French in 1948 had big plans of world denomination and manipulation while the arabs and the middle eastern countries were drinking coffee and squabbling with each other over left overs and pussy!

  • Constantin7

    I am happy with the attitude of both armies to keep the calm and not accuse each other. I suggest monthly meetings to coordinate security and the peace on the border. We have to talk to each other, we are all humans who want to live in peace. The agenda of the next President of Lebanon should include peace talks with Israel. Enough with this waste of time and this negativity. Peace with Israel will eliminate the reason of arms with any party in Lebanon, especially HA. People could start planning for their future and their lives again with peace settled. The economy would boom, especially in the South (where they always complain being neglected). Dare to ask for PEACE NOW! Won’t you give PEACE a chance ?!!!

    • 5thDrawer

      I’ll drink to that. But I fear it’s an unknown concept there.

  • Constantin7

    I am happy with the attitude of both armies to keep the calm and not accuse each other. I suggest monthly meetings to coordinate security and the peace on the border. We have to talk to each other, we are all humans who want to live in peace. The agenda of the next President of Lebanon should include peace talks with Israel. Enough with this waste of time and this negativity. Peace with Israel will eliminate the reason of arms with any party in Lebanon, especially HA. People could start planning for their future and their lives again with peace settled. The economy would boom, especially in the South (where they always complain being neglected). Dare to ask for PEACE NOW! Won’t you give PEACE a chance ?!!!

    • 5thDrawer

      I’ll drink to that. But I fear it’s an unknown concept there.