lull in Gaza, Washington’s envoy arrives in Lebanon

lull in Gaza, Washington’s envoy arrives in Lebanon
lull in Gaza, Washington’s envoy arrives in Lebanon

► Biden’s envoy considers “urgent” a de-escalation between Hezbollah and Israel

American special envoy Amos Hochstein called on Tuesday June 18 for a de-escalation of” emergency “ of the conflict between the Lebanese Islamist movement Hezbollah and Israel on the border between the two countries, against a backdrop of war in Gaza.

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“The conflict between Israel and Hezbollah has lasted long enough”said President Joe Biden’s envoy during a visit to Beirut, after a trip to Jerusalem. “It is in everyone’s interest to resolve it quickly and through diplomacy, it is both achievable and urgent. »

Hezbollah intensified its attacks on military targets in the north of the country last week, after one of its top commanders was killed in an Israeli strike. The movement, however, has not claimed any attacks against Israel since Saturday afternoon, despite Israeli strikes on the border area in southern Lebanon, including one on Monday that killed a fighter.

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The situation is ” severe ” and the United States wants to avoid “a large-scale war”, said Amos Hochstein, who spoke in Beirut with the President of the Lebanese Parliament, Nabih Berri.

► Calm in the fighting

In Gaza, witnesses reported Israeli strikes during the night from Monday to Tuesday in a context that was, however, calmer since the start of a humanitarian pause observed by the army in a sector of the south.

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The army announced a pause “from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.” until further notice, on a road section of around ten kilometers going from the Israeli crossing point of Kerem Shalom, at the southern end of the territory, to the European Hospital of Rafah, a little further north.

This pause, announced on Sunday to coincide with the first day of Eid al-Adha, the Muslim festival of sacrifice, was decided by the army to facilitate the delivery of aid that Gazans sorely need. .

► Demonstrations against the Netanyahu government

Thousands of Israelis demonstrated Monday against the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over its conduct of the war in Gaza and its inability to negotiate the release of dozens of hostages still held in the Palestinian territory.

War in Gaza: fragile hope for a ceasefire

” All ! NOW ! », they chanted, before observing a minute of silence for those still held in the territory. Some protesters wore t-shirts emblazoned with slogans such as “Stop the war” And ” We are all equal “.

Similar protests have brought together tens of thousands of people in Tel Aviv, Israel’s largest city, in recent weeks. Demonstrators went to Jerusalem in front of Parliament and the residence of Benjamin Netanyahu, calling in particular for early elections.

► Several hostages alive “certainly”

A senior Israeli official involved in negotiations for the release of the hostages said Israel knew for certain that several dozen hostages held in Gaza were alive.

“Dozens (of hostages) are definitely alive”said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter. “We can’t leave them there for long, they will die”he added.

Families of hostages in Gaza: “The Israeli government makes us internal enemies”

Of 251 people kidnapped during the attack by the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas on Israel on October 7, 116 are still being held hostage in Gaza, of whom 41 are dead, according to the army. While negotiations seem to be stalling, the Israeli negotiator reiterated Israel’s refusal to immediately accept a permanent ceasefire.

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