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Lebanon refuses plan to move Hezbollah away from border, demands Israeli concessions

Hezbollah fire continues, wounds two IDF soldiers in Margaliot

Hezbollah fighters take part in a staged military exercise in a camp in the Lebanese southern village of Aramta, ahead of the 23rd "Liberation Day," the annual celebration of the withdrawal of Israeli forces from south Lebanon on May 25, 2000. (Photo: Marwan Naamani/DPA via Reuters)

Despite mediators expressing cautious optimism about negotiations to de-escalate tensions between Israel and Hezbollah forces, Lebanon’s foreign minister rejected the latest proposal on Tuesday, while demanding more Israeli concessions.

Meanwhile, Hezbollah’s attacks against Israel continued, with two IDF soldiers suffering light injuries from an attack near Margaliot.

Regarding a proposal to move Hezbollah terrorists between 8 to10 km (about 5-6 miles) away from the border, Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib told the Arabic language newspaper Al-Watan that Lebanon “will not accept half-solutions that do not bring the desired peace and do not secure stability.”

Instead, Lebanon would insist on the “full implementation” of UN Resolution 1701, including Israeli concessions regarding several contested points at the border.

Bou Habib reiterated this position during Wednesday’s visit by French Foreign Minister Stephane Séjourné, who is currently in the Middle East and visited Israel on Tuesday.

“We have communicated that we do not wish for a war,” Bou Habib said, according to Lebanese newspaper L’Orient Today.

During their meeting, Séjourné strongly cautioned his Lebanese counterpart that Israel might soon initiate a war with Hezbollah if the situation remains unchanged.

Despite Bou Habib’s statements, the mediating nations are optimistic that commitments to diffuse tensions would soon be announced, sources told the Axios news media outlet.

According to the latest proposal, both sides would initially cease hostilities and freeze their troops in place, as Hezbollah is assumed to have already withdrawn some of its forces from the border in response to Israeli retaliatory strikes.

The terror organization would then agree to withhold its troops from the border, while Lebanon’s regular army would boost its presence near the border by some 10,000 troops, as was stipulated in Resolution 1701.

In return, Israel would cease operations in Lebanese airspace, and commit to reducing the military forces concentrated on the border since Oct. 7.

Reports of the proposal presented by U.S. Envoy Amos Hochstein on a visit to Israel on Sunday were met with outrage by residents of northern Israel who had to evacuate their homes due to the constant fire from southern Lebanon.

Lobby 1701, which represents some 80,000 residents in northern Israel who were forced to evacuate their homes, described the plan as a "surrender to an Iranian terrorist organization."

According to Axios, an eventual agreement wouldn’t be signed by the parties. Instead, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy would make an announcement and serve as guarantors while promising economic benefits to boost the Lebanese economy.

This week, the skirmishes between Hezbollah and Israel have continued unabated. On Tuesday, two IDF soldiers were lightly wounded when Hezbollah rockets exploded near Margaliot.

On Tuesday, Hezbollah launched 13 regular rockets, two heavy rockets, four guided missiles and one drone against Israeli targets, according to the Lobby 1701 organization.

The IDF responded with artillery shelling of the launch sites in Lebanon and conducted two waves of airstrikes against Hezbollah infrastructure and buildings.

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

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