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Israeli-Lebanese border tensions continue to simmer as internal struggles produce uncertainty

Tense situation leaves little hope for further agreements between neighboring countries

Israeli soldiers seen in the village of Ghajar on the border with Lebanon, in northern Israel, after a rocket fired from Lebanon landed in an open area, July 6, 2023. Photo by Ayal Margolin/Flash90

While Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant toured the northern border with Lebanon and issued a warning to Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on Tuesday, Lebanese naval boats were mobilized to intercept Israeli vessels.

The report about the naval interception was published on the Beirut news site Al-Mayadeen.

Israeli news sites have been filled with coverage of the tension on the northern border as well as reports regarding military predictions of any future conflict with the Lebanon-based terror group Hezbollah.

The same day, Israel’s Shin Bet security agency announced the arrest of a terror cell operating in the Palestinian territories in Judea and Samaria under the direction of a terrorist in Lebanon.

Last week, several top IDF top generals visited the border to assess the situation and view the status of the security fence which Israel is improving.

Hezbollah leader Nasrallah has recently made threatening remarks, even daring Israel to remove the second of two tents the group established on the Israeli side of the Blue Line.

Besides the border tension, both Israel and Lebanon are facing a significant amount of internal crises.

A series of killings in the Ain el-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon at the end of last month exposed the political turmoil in the country.

That fighting caused several Arab countries to issue travel warnings against visiting Lebanon.

Lebanon is still without a president, and Hezbollah has been trying to take advantage of its critical role in securing a presidential election by requesting certain concessions.

The lack of a functioning Lebanese government has allowed Hezbollah to engage in more provocative behavior toward Israel.

Both France and the U.S. have made recent attempts to solve the presidential election impasse, as well as reach some agreement regarding the border tensions. The United Nations has also become involved in the issue of the Hezbollah tents.

U.S. Special Envoy for Energy Security Amos Hochstein is currently in Beirut, where he is reported to be “feeling the pulse” for a border agreement with Israel intended to pave the way for further agreements between Lebanon and Israel.

The move comes as Israel, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia are said to be in negotiations regarding normalizing relations between the kingdom and Israel.

Hochstein visited with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in July.

Meanwhile, in Israel, the political crisis over the coalition’s judicial reforms has caused turmoil in the IDF, as well.

Top defense officials have warned that a conflict with Hezbollah would lead to a difficult scenario for Israel.

In that context, Gallant's statement on Tuesday was a warning to Hezbollah not to attempt to take advantage of Israel’s perceived weakness.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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