Macron affirms his efforts to avoid an escalation of violence between Lebanon and Israel

Paris – French President Emmanuel Macron took a personal note on the Lebanon crisis on Friday, pledging to do everything he could to “prevent an escalation of violence between Lebanon and Israel” and urging Lebanese leaders to resolve the institutional crisis facing their country. However, it is not known whether the French intervention will lead to the light of the failure of Paris in previous attempts to influence the Lebanese political file through the presidential issue and to obtain funding from donors to Lebanon.

Macron intensified his contacts, receiving Prime Minister Najib Mikati at the Elysee and Joseph Aoun, commander of the Lebanese army. The latter also participated in a meeting in Paris with his French and Italian counterparts, countries that are major contributors to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). The military plays an important role in maintaining Lebanon's stability. Joseph Aoun maintains good relations with most parties and is sometimes referred to as a possible solution to the political crisis in the country.

Macron spoke by phone with Nabih Berri, the speaker of the Lebanese parliament, a key figure in the crisis-ridden political scene who can call delegates to elect a new president for Lebanon, something they have not done. President Michel's term ends on October 31, 2022. Aoun (no family relation to Joseph Aoun). On Friday, during his reception in Paris, Macron told Mikati, the Elysée said, “France is committed to doing everything in its power to avoid an escalation of violence between Lebanon and Israel.”

The French president, who met with Joseph Aoun, “confirmed his willingness to continue providing the necessary support to the Lebanese Armed Forces,” the president added in a statement. He continued, “Macron continues to move for the stability of Lebanon, so that it is protected from risks related to the escalation of tensions in the Middle East.” In this context, he recalled the French commitment within the framework of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and emphasized the responsibility of each to ensure that it fully implements its responsibilities.

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The statement also noted that “France will move in this direction with all those willing to participate more, especially with its European partners,” as reached by the emergency European Council held in Brussels on Wednesday and Thursday. Macron consulted with Perry by phone and again called on “the political authorities to find a solution to the institutional crisis that is weakening Lebanon.”

Since former President Michel Aoun's term ends on October 31, 2022, Lebanese representatives have been unable to agree on a successor in light of a parliamentary split between a faction that supports Hezbollah loyal to Iran. And another that opposes it. A caretaker government led by Mikati runs the country amid fears it could collapse into a wider conflict between Hezbollah and Israel. Macron is expected to meet with other Lebanese political parties soon, and he has asked his special envoy, former foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, to “continue his efforts.”

Mikati said in a statement that he was “thankful” to Macron's continued efforts to stop Israeli aggression against Lebanon and his support for the (Lebanese) army to carry out its duties. In January, France offered Lebanon and Israel an initiative to defuse the conflict along their common border. It was reported in Paris that Mikati promised Macron to present a response to various points of the French initiative in the coming days.

But the French initiative will find a field problem that it cannot solve before that, the expansion between Hezbollah and Israel, a territorial expansion over which Lebanon has no influence. On Friday, Hezbollah announced that it had targeted a group of Israeli soldiers and Israeli intelligence equipment near the southern Lebanese border.

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The party said in a statement that its fighters had carried out a “direct attack” targeting a group of Israeli enemy soldiers with missile weapons in the vicinity of the Ruwaisat al-Alam base in the occupied Lebanese Kafr Shuba mountains. In another statement, the party added that its fighters had “directly” hit “reconnaissance equipment at the Bayat Blida base with appropriate weapons”.

On Wednesday and Thursday alone, Hezbollah announced the killing of 5 of its members, and on Friday announced the killing of another member, bringing the death toll to 280 since the clashes began on October 8. In this context, the official Lebanese media reported that Israeli warplanes attacked the southern Lebanese town of Aidaroun, with no immediate reports of injuries.

Israeli warplanes attacked the “Al-Masha” area between the towns of Al-Mansouri and Majdal Don in Tire District. In turn, the Israeli military said in a statement, “We detected 3 missiles fired from southern Lebanon towards the Upper Galilee, and we hit the sources of fire with artillery.” He added, “We bombed Hezbollah military infrastructure in Mansoura and Aidaroun in southern Lebanon.”

In “solidarity with the Gaza Strip,” which has been subject to a devastating US-backed Israeli war since last October 7, Hezbollah and Lebanese and Palestinian factions have exchanged incessant daily bombardments with the Israeli army on the border, resulting in deaths and injuries. On both sides, most of them are in Lebanon.

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