Israelis on the border with Lebanon: “Government is losing the north”

As of: February 28, 2024 2:16 p.m

The situation on the Israeli border with Lebanon is more tense than it has been for weeks. For the Israelis who had to leave their homes there, the lack of prospects is particularly difficult to bear.

The situation in northern Israel is getting worse again. In the past few days there has been increased firing at Israel from Lebanon: just this morning, Hamas announced that it had fired 40 Grad rockets from there. On Monday and Tuesday, dozens of rockets came from Hezbollah, which controls southern Lebanon.

And around 70,000 Israelis still cannot or do not want to return to their homes. Lihi Vidra Regev, a young mother from Admit, a town around 500 meters from the border, told 103 FM:

As a mother of three young children, I have to honestly admit that we are afraid to return. In a situation where nothing really changes, we will not return to the northern border as a human shield.

The uncertainty is difficult: “We don’t know where we should register our child who will start school next year. We can’t plan our lives with this uncertainty.”

“Government is losing the north”

In addition to the very specific threat, perhaps the biggest problem is that there is no perspective. Moshe Davidovich, the head of a regional administration in the north, also sees it this way. “What will satisfy the evacuees in terms of a sense of security so that they return? The government is not giving answers to these questions. The government is losing the north.”

He also said this to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in front of the War Cabinet: “We have been at war for 145 days and there is still no plan for the north.”

Israeli counterattacks again and again

Meanwhile, Israel’s army is trying to show strength. For months it has responded to the attacks from Lebanon with counterattacks. Many people there have also left their homes. Yesterday the army said it had attacked targets far inland – in the area around the town of Baalbek, about 100 kilometers north of the border. Hezbollah leaders are also said to have been deliberately killed.

Chief of General Staff Herzi Halevi recently vowed to fight again during a visit to troops: “Our armed forces are here to identify and fight the enemy. We are not waiting.” Hezbollah decided on October 7th to take part in the war and had to pay a high price for it. “First we have to push the enemy back, then we need a very strong border and good intelligence.”

Security expert expects a ground offensive

Whether there will be a further escalation also depends on how the fighting in the Gaza Strip continues. If there is a longer ceasefire there, the situation on the northern border should also ease.

Nevertheless, security experts like Shaini Marom say that the war in the Gaza Strip must be brought to an end – including in the north. Looking at the schedule, Marom believes that intense fighting and the ground offensive in Rafah could begin in early May. “Four brigades have to be destroyed there, which will take about four months – i.e. until around July or August.”

According to the former naval commander, there will be no intense fighting on the northern front until August. “So I say to the evacuees in the north: I assume that there will be a ground offensive. But not before August or September.”

But the question of whether there will even be a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip is also open. Until then, the situation remains extremely tense – including for the people on the border between Israel and Lebanon.

Jan-Christoph Kitzler, ARD Tel Aviv, tagesschau, February 28, 2024 12:55 p.m

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