Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

WEB NEWS

France's top consumer group sues Internet giants

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users pay tribute to South Korea ferry victims

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

A landslide victory for the 'invisible candidate' in Algeria's Presidential polls

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014 (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Presidential adviser resigns over "shoe-shine scandal"

Read more

#THE 51%

Breaking stereotypes

Read more

#TECH 24

Galaxy S5 v. HTC One (M8): Which is the right one for you?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

New PM Manuel Valls outlines priorities

Read more

  • Why Syria’s cash-strapped jihadists let hostages go

    Read more

  • Video: Ukraine separatist crisis overshadows Easter celebrations

    Read more

  • The Great War's unsung four-legged heroes

    Read more

  • Divers begin pulling bodies from sunken South Korean ferry

    Read more

  • Ukraine rebels call for Russian troops after deadly clash

    Read more

  • UK’s Hamilton cruises to victory at Chinese Grand Prix

    Read more

  • Freed French journalists arrive home after Syria ordeal

    Read more

  • Syria’s Assad visits recaptured Christian town at Easter

    Read more

  • In pictures: French kite festival takes flight

    Read more

  • Le Pen’s National Front fail to woo Britain’s Eurosceptics

    Read more

  • PSG clinch fourth League Cup title after beating Lyon

    Read more

  • Militants kill Algerian soldiers in deadly ambush

    Read more

  • Scores killed in South Sudan cattle raid

    Read more

  • VIDEO: Anti-Semitic leaflets in Eastern Ukraine condemned

    Read more

  • Bouteflika, the ghost president

    Read more

  • Does Valls’ upcoming Vatican trip violate French secularism?

    Read more

  • Ukraine separatists say ‘not bound’ by Geneva deal

    Read more

  • Abel Ferrara’s hotly awaited DSK film to premiere on web

    Read more

  • Obama signs bill to block controversial Iran diplomat from UN post

    Read more

  • Astronomers discover Earth-like planet that could support life

    Read more

  • In pictures: Iranian woman pardons son’s killer at the gallows

    Read more

Middle east

UN urges restraint after Israel-Lebanon clashes

©

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2010-08-05

The UN called for "maximum restraint" a day after four people died in clashes that followed Lebanon's accusations that Israeli troops had crossed its border to uproot trees. The UN on Wednesday confirmed that the trees were on Israeli soil.

The Israeli army returned to a tense area on its border with Lebanon on Wednesday to complete a tree-pruning operation that sparked deadly clashes between Israeli and Lebanese troops a day earlier.

A senior Israeli military officer, two Lebanese soldiers and a Lebanese journalist were killed in fighting between the two nations’ armies on Tuesday, the worst violence between the two countries since the 2006 war with Hezbollah.

The skirmish broke out after Lebanon's military said Israeli soldiers had crossed the border fence to uproot a tree. Israel denied the claim saying the tree was on the Israeli side of the border. The UN on Wednesday confirmed Israel's claims.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened his security cabinet on Wednesday as both sides prepared to bury their dead. He said after the clashes that Israel would "respond aggressively" to any future attempt "to disrupt the calm along the northern border".

The fighting has raised the spectre of a fresh conflict in the volatile region, with Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah warning that the Shiite movement would not “stand by idly" if Israeli troops attack Lebanese forces again.

Addressing a huge large gathering of supporters in the Hezbollah-controlled southern suburbs of Beirut via a video link Tuesday night, Nasrallah said he had called on his followers not to act.

But, Nasrallah warned, "From now on, if the [Lebanese] army is attacked in any area where the resistance [Hezbollah] has a presence or a say, we will not stand by idly.”

 

UN urges 'maximum restraint'

Hours after the clashes, the UN Security Council held closed-door consultations on the incident following a Lebanese government request. Lebanon is one of the council’s 15 members.

Reading a statement on behalf of the council, Russia's UN envoy said the council’s 15 members expressed "deep concern" and urged the parties to “observe the cessation of hostilities and prevent any further escalation."

The UN peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon (UNIFIL) confirmed Wednesday that the trees being cut are on the Israeli side of the border.

In Washington, US State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters the US was “extremely concerned” and called on both sides to exercise “maximum restraint”.

 

Conflicting accounts of border fighting

Israel and Lebanon have provided conflicting accounts of what happened Tuesday morning along the tense border.

Lebanese military officials said Israeli troops attempted to cut down a tree inside Lebanon territory. The Lebanese army then fired warning shots at them and the Israelis responded by shelling a Lebanese army position in the southern Lebanese village of Adaisseh. The Lebanese army then fired back.

In a statement released Tuesday, Lebanese President Michel Suleiman said Israeli troops had crossed the UN-drawn Blue Line boundary separating the two countries and fired on a Lebanese army checkpoint in Adeisseh.

Suleiman also denounced the fighting and said the shelling was a violation of UN resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 conflict between Israel and Hezbollah and calls for both Israel and Lebanon to respect the Blue Line.

Israeli military officials, however, said the Lebanese Army fired at Israeli forces along the country’s northern border while Israeli troops were carrying out “routine maintenance”.

"The soldiers were on routine activity in Israeli territory, in an area that lies between the Blue Line and the security fence, thus within Israeli territory," the IDF (Israeli Defence Forces) said in a statement.

 

Tension High

Tensions have been mounting in the region in recent weeks, with Israeli officials accusing Syria of supplying Hezbollah with Scud missiles capable of hitting anywhere in Israel. Hezbollah has refused to either confirm or deny the charges.

“There are growing signs that both sides have been preparing for conflict,” said FRANCE 24’s Lucy Fielder, reporting from Beirut. “Hezbollah for one has made no secret of the fact that it is rearming. So many people here are watching this very anxiously.”

Tensions peaked last week when Nasrallah announced that a UN tribunal was set to indict Hezbollah members for the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri.

According to Fielder, Nasrallah’s comments raised “widespread fears that it could lead to sectarian tensions within Lebanon and perhaps also a conflict with Israel because Nasrallah also alleges that the tribunal was derailed by an Israeli plot.”

Referring to reports of a likely indictment of Hezbollah members in the Hariri investigations, Israeli spokesman Pazner told FRANCE 24 that “apparently Hezbollah is going to take the blame for it and there is a lot of tension in Lebanon. Apparently they wanted to draw the attention somewhere else and the ideal victim is Israel.”

In his speech Tuesday night, Nasrallah accused Israel of Hariri’s assassination and said he would reveal details about Israel's alleged role in the assassination at a news conference next week.

 

Date created : 2010-08-04

  • MIDDLE EAST

    Israeli officer and Lebanese soldiers killed in border clashes

    Read more

  • LEBANON

    Dangerous truths: Avoiding the ghosts of the past

    Read more

  • MIDEAST

    Israel says Hezbollah is turning Lebanon into a 'powder keg'

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)