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US pressures Israel not to change rules of engagement with Hezbollah

August 9, 2021 at 12:44 pm

Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett speaks during the Cyber Week event at the Tel Aviv university on 21 July 2021. [GIDEON MARKOWICZ/AFP via Getty Images]

The United States has put pressure on Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett not to change the rules of confrontation with the Iran-allied Lebanese Hezbollah movement as a new round of nuclear talks between Tehran and the world powers are set to begin in September, Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported.

The paper quoted a diplomatic source as saying that Israel and Hezbollah have sent messages to UNIFIL that they are not interested in changing the rules of engagement, after pressure from the United States and France on both sides.

The confrontation in the south also threatens the Lebanese government and increases the chances of the country’s collapse, a development that both Washington and Paris are trying to prevent.

Meanwhile, a number of Israeli army generals said they expect an imminent military confrontation with Lebanon.

“We are going to a regional war against Iran, we need to take the initiative,” said a former senior Israeli army officer.

Israel’s Kan broadcaster quoted a source as saying that the situation in Lebanon is worrying, and there is now a realisation that a front has been opened on the border.

For the third day in a row, the Israeli army on Sunday raised the state of alert along the border with Lebanon, in light of the recent security development.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that since the new Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi took office, “Iranian aggression has escalated in every point in the Middle East by land, air and sea.”

Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement said it had fired rockets at open ground near Israeli positions in the disputed Shebaa Farms area on Friday in response to Israeli airstrikes which struck sites belonging to the group a day earlier.

READ: Hezbollah chief Nasrallah said group could escalate response to Israel