The world was given a peek at the simmering tensions that underlie the Middle East Sunday after an Israel patrol was accused of illegally entering Lebanon by one meter.
Images from a confrontation between Lebanese forces and an Israeli patrol show a Lebanese soldier with a rocket-propelled grenade launcher pointed at an Israel tank. Other images show efforts to calm tensions taking place.
A minor confrontation at the Israel-Lebanon border today. A LAF soldier aims an RPG at an Israeli tank. Members of UNIFIL and IDF soldiers can also be seen in the footage. pic.twitter.com/C12kI1qBsY
— Joe Truzman (@JoeTruzman) March 5, 2023
??????The @LebarmyOfficial said in a statement today that an Israeli patrol violated Lebanon’s border with Israel and that it had forced it to retreat beyond the Blue Line at the village of Aita al Shaab @UNIFIL_ @UNIFILArabic https://t.co/KxCVon98aY
— Middle East Strategic Perspectives (@mestrate) March 5, 2023
A physical altercation between an #IDF personnel and a Lebanese Military Officer took place along the Blue Line in the last hour, a #UNIFIL officer broke up the altercation, reason why is currently unknown. #Israel #Lebanon pic.twitter.com/TbVMsozs0i
— Aurora Intel (@AuroraIntel) March 5, 2023
A report from the website L’Orient Today cited Al-Manar TV journalist Ali Shoeib reporting that the showdown began after “a Lebanese Army officer pushed an Israeli soldier and removed an iron stake that soldier was placing in violation of the Blue Line.”
The Blue Line is a border between the two nations established in 2000 by the United Nations.
The Lebanese Army issued a statement about its face-off with what it called the “enemy.”
“An Israeli enemy patrol breached the Blue Line in Aita al-Shaab [South Lebanon], to a distance of approximately one meter,” the release said.
“A Lebanese Army patrol came and forced the enemy patrol to retreat beyond the Blue Line towards Occupied Palestinian Territories. A patrol from the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon [UNIFIL] also attended to check on the breach,” the Lebanese Army statement said.
“We are aware of tensions along the Blue Line in the area of Aita al-Shaab, where some Israeli maintenance works are ongoing,” a UNIFIL representative said.
“Our peacekeepers are on the spot to de-escalate the situation. We urge all parties, and everyone present at the scene, to maintain calm. Any kind of work near the Blue Line is extremely sensitive, and we continue to ask all parties to coordinate through UNIFIL to avoid unnecessary tension,” the representative added.
Israel occupied parts of southern Lebanon from 1982 through 2000.
“The country is in a state of almost total disintegration,” analyst Karim Bitar said.
Palestinians in Lebanon are suffering worsening humanitarian collapse: protracted displacement, 93% poverty, massive camp overcrowding and crumbling infrastructure, and waning international attention/support. Instability like this will only grow. https://t.co/wmfnKpOlwz
— Rohan Talbot (@rohantalbot) March 5, 2023
“We are seeing the collapse of all state institutions that were still holding up,” Bitar said, adding the government meltdown that began last year “is probably the most serious in Lebanon’s history.”
Bitar said he fears “an even worse economic deterioration that could lead to security incidents.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.