Israel-Hamas war: Lebanon holds its breath

Israel-Hamas war: Lebanon holds its breath

The Lebanese are holding their breath. On the Lebanese-Israeli border, the two adversaries are testing each other and making threats. According to the United Nations International Organization for Migration, nearly 20,000 Lebanese have already left the south of the country. Daily clashes have already left nearly 60 people dead on the Lebanese side, including five civilians, and are causing fires. On Wednesday October 25, the Israeli army intercepted a surface-to-air missile fired from Lebanon at an Israeli drone. Attacks remain limited on both sides for the moment.

Every day that passes is a day won in the war. But until when? The leader of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, met on Wednesday October 25 with leaders of Hamas and Palestinian Jihad, to discuss ways to support these movements in their war against Israel. Consultation between these three Islamist groups existed before October 7, the day Hamas launched the war against Israel. On October 10, Hezbollah, “Party of God,” warned that “if Israel continues its scorched earth policy (in Gaza), it will accelerate the opening of a front in Lebanon. » However, the arsenal of the Lebanese Shiite party linked to Iran is much more sophisticated than that of Hamas. In response, the American Navy positioned itself in the Mediterranean hoping to dissuade them from taking the risk of regional or even international conflict.

Three quarters of Lebanese against the country’s entry into war

Joumana, 55, a lawyer in Beirut, expects “the worst”. Sensitive “to the suffering of others”, she does not recognize herself in this new conflict. “Since my earliest childhood, we Lebanese have been paying for other people’s wars,” she says. Joumana was seven years old when the Lebanese civil war broke out, sparked by a struggle between armed Palestinian groups on one side and Lebanese Christians on the other. Tired, she is seriously considering leaving her country and joining her four children, all living in France. “The majority of young Lebanese people are abroad, here there are only old people,” she adds.

Across the border, in Israel, a Lebanese Christian in his sixties, anxious to remain anonymous, is almost resigned to the fact that a new tragedy will befall his country. His family is in Lebanon. He, for almost ten years, has lived in the Galilee, a region which could be particularly affected if Hezbollah launches its missiles. “Lebanon is used to war and misfortune,” he confides. There is a permanent feeling of insecurity linked to the presence of Hezbollah, the catastrophic economic situation and Lebanese divisions. So, a little more or a little less…”

This undoubtedly explains why, according to a poll carried out in mid-October, three-quarters of Lebanese prefer their country to “stay away from this war” – a rate of 59% among Shiites and almost 100%. among Christians. And three out of four Lebanese also reject the idea that Israel, violently attacked by Hamas on October 7, has the right to react as it wishes – rate of 93% among Shiites and 56% among Christians. Georges Farah, a Beirut Christian, photographer-journalist, is worried about the approach of a new war for his country, but he is also angry: “Europe supports Israel and I don’t understand why. Israel is killing innocent people in Gaza and has killed far more Palestinians than Hamas has killed Israelis. »

Beirut hospitals are preparing

In southern Lebanon, some of those who stayed at home are stocking up on food, and schools are being prepared to serve as shelters in the event of serious conflict. In Beirut, life continues as normal and the youngest who have never experienced war continue to frequent the bars and their gym. But hospitals are preparing to receive the injured, even if due to the serious economic crisis that has affected the country since 2019, they are already suffering from power cuts and a lack of doctors and nurses – some have been laid off, d Others chose to go abroad.

For the Franco-Lebanese, Ali Mourad, professor of law in two Beirut universities, Shiite but who defines himself as a secularist, two feelings run through Lebanese society today. “On the one hand, solidarity with the Palestinian people is total in Lebanon, but the Lebanese do not want war. » Several reasons for this. “First, the chaotic economic situation, the country is not able to manage a devastating war like that of 2006. At the time, the Arab countries financed the reconstruction, but today, no one does. will do. And then, how will a war with Lebanon serve the Palestinian cause? And why would Lebanon open a front on its own, while Israel’s other neighboring countries do nothing? “, asks the academic, who adds that all the conflicts with Israel have fractured Lebanese society. “A new war would do the same. However, Lebanon, already very divided, is unable to elect its President or form its government. »

Will Hezbollah take all these parameters into account? Ali Mourad thinks so. “Hezbollah is a party that is very attentive to its allies and to the internal Lebanese situation in order to maintain its influence within Lebanese society. » But, this academic does not rule out the worst. “If the destruction continues in Gaza – we will exceed 10,000 deaths – the situation could degenerate. »

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