Christian villages along Lebanon’s southern border face escalating clashes and Israeli retaliation

RMEICH, Lebanon — In tandem with the mounting violence in the Gaza Strip, the Christian villages near Lebanon’s southern border with Israel have become the site of sporadic confrontations and retaliatory Israeli fire, stemming from Hezbollah rocket launches originating in Lebanese territory.

The signs of distress and anxiety have manifested over the past two weeks among the inhabitants of towns such as Rmeich, Ain Ebel, Debel, and Qawzah, collectively referred to as the “Christian Square” within the Bint Jbeil district in southern Lebanon.

Mayor Milad al-Alam of Rmeich confirmed that more than 60% of the town’s residents have fled their homes, driven by the fear of being caught in the crossfire of ongoing hostilities.

“As the third week of hostilities in the outskirts unfolds, our residents are grappling with severe food shortages,” expressed al-Alam. He went on to describe their predicament as nothing short of catastrophic, lamenting the absence of inquiries or support from political figures or parliamentary representatives in the region.

The situation mirrors the plight of the Christian community in Al-Qalyaa, located within the Marjayoun district. The town has been nearly emptied of its residents, as apprehensions of an impending conflict continue to grip the populace.

Father Rabih Shweri, a prominent figure in Al-Qalyaa, expressed his strong condemnation of the practice of coercing villages into becoming theaters of war, particularly by deploying unarmed civilians as inadvertent human shields for missile launches.

Father Shweri appealed to the relevant security and military authorities, urging them to safeguard the remaining semblance of security and stability within the town. His impassioned plea extended to the broader region, urging against drawing the entire area into a protracted and destructive conflict.