Spotlight: New war between Lebanon, Israel unlikely: analysts

Source: Xinhua| 2019-09-02 23:06:09|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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by Dana Halawi

BEIRUT, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- Despite the increased tensions on the Lebanese borders with Israel, a war between the two countries is highly unlikely at this moment, according to analysts.

Tensions have escalated in the past week between Lebanon and Israel after a series of airstrikes conducted on Aug. 24 by Israel Defense Forces in Syria, killing two Hezbollah fighters, followed by an attack on Aug. 25 by two Israeli drones on Beirut's southern suburbs.

These two incidents prompted Hezbollah to retaliate a week later by destroying an Israeli military vehicle in northern Israeli town of Avivim.

Shortly later, Israeli tanks fired artillery shells towards Hezbollah posts near the Lebanese village of Maroun al-Ras, from which the missile was launched, according to the military.

While these incidents constitute the first escalation between Lebanon and Israel since the July 2006 war, they are unlikely to lead to a new war, political analyst Samir Hassan told Xinhua.

"Neither Hezbollah nor Israel want to go to war," said Hassan.

He explained that Israel was planning to start brief and quick attacks in Lebanon similar to those taking place in Gaza, Iraq and Syria without resorting to a long traditional war.

Lebanese security sources and residents of the border villages told Xinhua on Monday that tensions have subsided on the Lebanese-Israeli border since Sunday afternoon.

No military activity was reported on Monday in southern Lebanon, with members of the United Nations Interim forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and the Lebanese army stepping up patrols along the Blue Line separating Israel from Lebanon, the source told Xinhua.

Hilal Khashan, chair of the Political Studies Department at the American University of Beirut, also ruled out the possibility of an escalation.

"Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah had to retaliate to maintain his reputation. This was very obvious as the scale of response was very limited," Khashan said.

According to Khashan, Hezbollah does not want a war because it does not want its base of supporters to be subjected to grave consequences.

"Also, if a war breaks out, the achievements made by Hezbollah and the Shiite community in the past years will be jeopardized," he said.

On the other hand, Khashan adds, Israel is not interested in a war with Lebanon as it has already achieved its objectives in the country.

Rafic Nasrallah, director of the Lebanese International Center for Media and Research, said a war is not possible for now.

"Israel will not go to war ahead of the upcoming elections in September while Hezbollah is highly aware of the deteriorating economic situation in Lebanon," Nasrallah said.

Nasrallah assured that the situation on the borders will return to normal.