Signs of Danger in Lebanon and Israel

  • 5 August 2010

 The border clashes between the Lebanese and Israeli forces on Tuesday indicate the dangerous situation that exists between the two countries. There is a danger that such provocation and continued Israeli threats to the Lebanese side might lead to a conflagration that has the potential to plunge the entire region into another dangerous conflict. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s recent threat to strike the Lebanese government institutions and infrastructures if Hezbollah attacked Israel reveals Tel Aviv’s truly aggressive intentions against Lebanon and its people. Israel has demonstrated its intentions in the past by provoking Lebanon and resorting to aggressive behavior in a manner that might have led to the recent confrontation. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reaffirmed the country’s destructive attitude against Lebanon yesterday when he delivered an explicit military threat to the country, calling it responsible to what happened on Tuesday.

The United Nations Security Council called on both Israel and Lebanon to exercise restraint and avoid escalation of violence. This position and the movement of several international and regional powers to monitor the situation and prevent it from deteriorating further reflect the realization of the danger of conflict between the two sides and its destructive prospects. There is no doubt that the skirmish on the Lebanese-Israeli borders has the potential to take the entire region down the road of a complex regional confrontation and can blow up the opportunity for peace. International community and its major powers should hence move quickly to rein in Israel because repeated provocation can lead to a confrontation that can engulf the entire region and will then be difficult to contain.

Escalation of conflict in the Middle East has become a possibility at a time when prospects of peace negotiations are brightening. But there are also powers, both visible to the public and in the background, that add fuel to the fire in an already complex peace process between Arabs and Israel. There is an effort undergoing to solve the historic conflict by force in a way which has caused the emergence of extremist forces to begin with. If the extremist rightist government in Israel maintains its intransigent position and destructive policies against the peace process it will amount to showing an arrogance of power and illusion of a military superiority which it believes can ensure its security and that of its citizens. Meanwhile, the Middle East region, which is of great strategic importance, will continue to be a source of conflict and instability for the whole world.