Fri 21 Jun 2024 9:29 am - Jerusalem Time

Blinken calls on Israel to avoid escalation with Hezbollah

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken stressed to Israeli officials the importance of avoiding further escalation with Lebanese Hezbollah, and called for an increase in humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.

A US State Department statement said that Blinken held discussions yesterday, Thursday, with an Israeli delegation consisting of Israeli National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi and Minister of Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer.

The statement explained that Blinken stressed to the Israeli delegation the importance of avoiding further escalation with Hezbollah and reaching a diplomatic solution between the two parties.

Earlier yesterday, CNN quoted American officials as saying that Israel had informed Washington of its plans to transfer resources to the north in preparation for a possible attack on Hezbollah.

The officials added that "the repercussions of a large-scale war between Israel and Hezbollah would be devastating," noting that the possibility of this scenario being materialized is increasing in light of the fading chances of reaching an agreement between Israel and the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) in the Gaza Strip.

They also pointed out that Israel informed Washington of its fears that the Iron Dome system would be subjected to large-scale attacks by Hezbollah.

It is noteworthy that Israel's threats to launch a large-scale military operation in Lebanon have escalated recently, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said - earlier this month - that the army is ready for an intensive operation in Lebanon if necessary, pledging to restore security to Israel's northern borders.

Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz also vowed to eliminate Hezbollah in the event of an “all-out war” breaking out, and last Tuesday, the Israeli army announced its approval of operational plans to carry out an attack in Lebanon.

On the other hand, Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah said - in a speech the day before yesterday, Wednesday - that “the possibility of sliding into a major war is possible at any moment, even though the party does not want a comprehensive war,” stressing that “if war is imposed on Lebanon, the resistance will fight.” Without controls, without rules, and without a ceiling, there will be no place in the entity (Israel) that is immune from our missiles.”

Gaza strip

On the other hand, the US State Department statement said that Blinken discussed with the Israeli delegation yesterday, Thursday, the ongoing efforts to achieve a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and release prisoners.

The statement stated that Blinken stressed the need to take additional steps to increase humanitarian aid to Gaza, and plan for the post-war phase and reconstruction of the Strip.

US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said on Thursday that reaching a ceasefire agreement in Gaza would contribute to reducing the escalation on the Lebanese-Israeli border.

Miller stressed that America continues to work with Qatar, Egypt and Israel to reach a ceasefire in Gaza.


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Blinken calls on Israel to avoid escalation with Hezbollah