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Israel’s Netanyahu pleads with France to calm front with Lebanon

April 22, 2024 at 8:35 am

Smoke rises after Israeli airstrikes hit targets in the town of Khiam, southern Lebanon on April 08, 2024. [Ramiz Dallah – Anadolu Agency ]

Sources close to the Elysee Palace said there is a new French diplomatic effort to calm the situation in Lebanon, which comes following a request from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Paris had previously tried to calm the situation between Lebanon and Israel but had been unable to do so, but Netanyahu has now requested it “resume its initiative.”

The sources said that the recent meetings held at the French presidential headquarters, attended by French President Emmanuel Macron, Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati, and Army Commander General Joseph Aoun, were part of a renewed effort to promote the previous French initiative which has been adjusted.

The original proposal, which suggested Israel halt its targeting of Lebanese sites in exchange for Hezbollah moving seven kilometres away from the Blue Line separating Lebanon and Israel, was rejected by Lebanon. In return, Israel was to agree to cease military operations and make commitments to demarcate the land borders, address the Lebanese oil and gas dispute, and facilitate progress in the political process within Lebanon.

The sources told Al-Mayadeen that the French initiative was amended, abandoning the earlier Israeli request that the Lebanese resistance move seven kilometres away from the Blue Line. Instead, it proposes the withdrawal of “specific military capabilities of Hezbollah” from the borders, although the exact nature of these capabilities remains undisclosed. In exchange, Israel would halt all military operations and violations in Lebanese airspace, along with addressing other components from the previous initiative.

According to French sources, the French initiative has garnered support from the United States.

Read: France’s Macron meets with Lebanon premier to quell Hezbollah threat on Israel border