France reportedly drops call for Hezbollah to pull back behind Litani in new proposal to end fighting in north

Smoke billows from the site of an Israeli airstrike on the southern Lebanese village of Tayr Harfa near the border on April 26, 2024. (Kawnat Haju/AFP)
File: Smoke billows from the site of an Israeli airstrike on the southern Lebanese village of Tayr Harfa near the border on April 26, 2024. (Kawnat Haju/AFP)

Lebanese news outlet al-Akhbar reports that France has removed a provision calling on the Hezbollah terror group to withdraw behind the Litani River in its outline to end the fighting in the north.

Citing informed sources, the report says the new proposal submitted by French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne yesterday in Beirut calls for a “repositioning” of Hezbollah’s forces, without specifying where.

The new proposal also includes a ceasefire in line with UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War, ensuring the return of residents on both sides living along the border, and the deployment of 15,000 Lebanese soldiers boosted with “adequate equipment” south of the Litani, the report says.

Then, negotiations would be launched on demarcating a border between Israel and Lebanon and forming a committee to oversee such arrangements.

Resolution 1701 demanded that Hezbollah withdraw its forces north of the Litani, a provision the Iranian proxy has ignored.

Since October 8, Hezbollah-led forces have attacked Israeli communities and military posts along the border on a near-daily basis, with the group saying it is doing so to support Gaza amid the war there.

This handout picture provided by the Lebanese photo agency Dalati and Nohra shows France’s Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne (L) meeting with Lebanon’s caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati, in Beirut, on April 28, 2024. (Dalati And Nohra/AFP)

So far, the skirmishes on the border have resulted in nine civilian deaths on the Israeli side, as well as the deaths of 11 IDF soldiers and reservists. There have also been several attacks from Syria, without any injuries.

Hezbollah has named 289 members who have been killed by Israel during the ongoing skirmishes, mostly in Lebanon but some also in Syria. In Lebanon, another 56 operatives from other terror groups, a Lebanese soldier, and at least 60 civilians, three of whom were journalists, have been killed.

Israel has threatened to go to war to force Hezbollah away from the border if it does not retreat and continues to threaten northern communities, where some 70,000 people were evacuated to avoid the fighting.

Most Popular