Israeli army attacks Lebanese protesters along Lebanon border

By Nadine Osman

(The Muslim News): Lebanese demonstrators were attacked by Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Friday in southern border of Lebanon.

According to Anadolu Agency, IDF police hurled smoke bombs at Lebanese demonstrators who were protesting the IDF’s bulldozing of their land in front of the Kafr Shuba border crossing in southern Lebanon.

The demonstrators also carried out protests in solidarity with Ismail Nasser, an elderly Lebanese shepherd, who on Wednesday put his body on the line to stop an Israeli Army bulldozer digging a trench through his land. Once the villager’s legs were covered with sand as the bulldozer moved ahead, UN peacekeepers jumped in and convinced the Israeli driver to move back.

The Lebanese army was deployed to protect residents of villages around the town of Aarqoub who were protesting Israeli bulldozers and diggers excavating in the area.

The land is near the UN-recognised Blue Line—the Lebanon-Israel border—and the Israelis attempted to dig this trench to establish a new limit of the Blue Line, which is disputed by these local farmers.

The Lebanese army and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) intervened to quell the tensions.

Speaking during a regular tripartite meeting held at the UN outpost in Ras al-Naqoura, UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Major General Aroldo Lazaro, appealed for “engagement in Blue Line talks to address outstanding issues.”

“During the last couple of months, there have been several concerning developments along the Blue Line,” Lazaro said, calling on the parties “to continue to avail of our liaison and coordination mechanisms while avoiding unilateral actions.”

Lebanon frequently complains of daily Israeli violations of its airspace and territorial waters and has filed several complaints with the United Nations.

Mohammed Mortada, Lebanon’s caretaker culture minister, said: “Are the Israelis so stupid as to think that tear gas canisters will stop landowners and right holders from responding to their violations?”

In 2000, the Israeli army ended an 18-year occupation of southern Lebanon and withdrew from the majority of the Lebanese southern towns, creating a withdrawal line known as the Blue Line.

Neither the Kfarchouba hills nor the Chebaa farms were freed, as the UN considered their status part of a future peace deal. However, the Lebanese government and Hezbollah declared this region Lebanese territory.

[Photo: Israeli forces use tear gas on the Lebanese who are on the other side of the border in Kfachouba, Lebanon on June 09, 2023. Lebanese protested against the ditches dug buy the Israeli on June 07, and to support the Lebanese farmer Ismail Nasser, who was driven by Israeli bulldozer. Photojournalist: Ramiz Dallah/AA]

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