BEIRUT / WASHINGTON, D.C. — Amid escalating tensions along the Lebanon-Israel border, an American initiative has emerged, aiming to de-escalate the conflict and ensure stability in the region. Details of the plan were unveiled by the Israeli website Yedioth Ahronoth, shedding light on efforts to address the volatile situation through diplomatic channels.
The proposal, spearheaded by American envoy to the Middle East, Amos Hochstein, unfolds in two key stages. Initially, it calls for the cessation of hostilities by Iranian-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon, accompanied by their withdrawal northward, approximately 8 to 10 kilometers from the border. This step is envisioned to create a buffer zone, easing tensions and reducing the risk of confrontations.
In tandem with Hezbollah’s withdrawal, the plan advocates for the return of Israeli residents in northern Israel to their homes, bolstered by the deployment of Lebanese army forces and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). This collaborative effort aims to fortify stability along the border region, paving the way for delineating clear land boundaries and offering economic incentives to Lebanon.
While the proposal has reportedly received tacit approval from Lebanese authorities, the stance of Hezbollah remains undisclosed. The American envoy, Hochstein, engaged in discussions with key Israeli officials, including President Isaac Herzog, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Galant, and Minister Benny Gantz, seeking Israel’s cooperation in implementing the plan.