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U.S. Envoy Amos Hochstein Arrives in Mideast to Discourage War in Lebanon

U.S. special envoy Amos Hochstein met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday and tried to encourage Israel and Lebanon to avoid war, which has escalated in recent weeks with Hezbollah shelling northern Israel.

The Iran-backed terrorist group Hezbollah has been attacking Israel from southern Lebanon in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1707, which ended the war in 2006 and banned the group from the border.

In 2022, Hochstein brokered a deal to transfer Israeli offshore gas fields in the Mediterranean to Lebanon in the hopes of deterring future attacks on Israel by Hezbollah, which controls the Lebanese government.

But after a Hamas terror attack on October 7, Hezbollah began firing rockets, anti-tank missiles and explosive drones into Israel, killing both soldiers and civilians, forcing the evacuation of 60,000 residents from a border town in northern Israel and sparking wildfires that scorched nearby countryside.

Israel has responded by striking the source of the attacks and killing a Hezbollah commander, but has said it is ready to go to war to restore calm in the north.

“The status quo is not a sustainable reality,” Israeli government spokesman David Mensah said at a press conference on Monday.

Mensah said Hezbollah had fired more than 5,000 projectiles into northern Israel since October. He told reporters that Hezbollah had no justification for attacking Israel, nor for Lebanon to tolerate it. “There is no territorial dispute between Lebanon and Israel,” he said, alluding to the fact that the United Nations confirmed the Lebanese-Israeli border after Israel withdrew from Lebanon in 2000.

Israel has repeatedly warned that Hezbollah’s actions could lead to a broader war. On Sunday, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman Maj. Gen. Daniel Hagari issued a video statement in English. caveat On the impending war:

Hezbollah attacks have intensified, threatening a wider escalation that could have devastating consequences for Lebanon and the entire region.

Either way, we will guarantee the safe and secure return of Israelis to their homes in northern Israel. This is non-negotiable.

President Joe Biden in October warned Hezbollah and Iran not to escalate the war Hamas started in southern Israel, apparently telling them to “stop.” But the warning appears to have been forgotten amid U.S. pressure on Israel to delay the war in Gaza. Some Israeli critics have cynically noted that the words “stop” seem to apply to Israel.

For the previous two decades, Israel had maintained a “safe zone” near Lebanon’s southern border to prevent terrorists from firing rockets into the country’s northern border region. Israel unilaterally withdrew from it in 2000 in the hope of calm.

In 2006, Hezbollah kidnapped and killed several Israeli soldiers, escalating into a war that Israel, without the Iron Dome, was unprepared for. The war ended in a stalemate, and Iran has continued to empower Hezbollah.

Hochstein’s proposal reportedly calls for Israel to withdraw from Har Dov, a strategic point on its territory, and maintain peace in return, but such a withdrawal would allow Hezbollah to threaten all of northern Israel.

According to the prime minister’s office, Hochstein met with Prime Minister Netanyahu and several other senior officials.

Joel B. Pollack is executive editor of Breitbart News. Breitbart News Sunday The show airs Sunday nights from 7 to 10 p.m. (4 to 7 p.m. ET) on SiriusXM Patriot. He is the author of his recently published e-book,The Zionist Conspiracy (And How to Join It)” is available on Audible. He is also the author of an e-book. Not Free or Fair: The 2020 US Presidential ElectionHe is the recipient of the Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship in 2018. Follow him on Twitter. Joel Pollack.