Netanyahu says Israel 'must avoid escalations' in Lebanon, occupied Palestinian territories

Netanyahu says Israel 'must avoid escalations' in Lebanon, occupied Palestinian territories
Netanyahu's comments come as Israel carried out aggressive strikes in southern Lebanon and the besieged Gaza enclave, as well as brutal raids at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound - all throughout this week.
3 min read
08 April, 2023
Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel should "present a united front" instead of escalating tensions with the territories it neighbours, amid internal turmoil within the Israeli government [Getty]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly told senior ministers that Israel should "move away" from major escalations with neighbouring territories.

The comments were made on Friday before he convened a security cabinet in the aftermath of the rocket fire exchange between Lebanon and Israel a day earlier, which came amid days of brutal Israeli raids on Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque, according to The Times of Israel, citing the Israeli broadcaster Channel 12.

Netanyahu said that wide-scale aggressions and conflicts should be "avoided" with Lebanon and the occupied territories of the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

The prime minister's comments come after Israel launched attacks on both Lebanon and the besieged Gaza Strip this week, after rockets were fired from territories. Netanyahu also warned on Thursday that Israel will "strikes its enemies", amid fears of an escalation targeting the Palestinian territories.

Israeli strikes caused significant damage to the Nuseirat camp in the centre of Gaza and the Al-Dorra children's hospital, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

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In his meeting attended by the likes of controversial far-right defence minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and foreign minister Eli Cohen, Netanyahu said Israel should instead "present a united front" following months of internal turmoil prompted by the premier’s controversial judicial reforms, which have sparked months-long nationwide protests.

"There are enough disputes within us on other issues, we are being challenged from everywhere - in the opposition and on the street," he was quoted saying by Channel 12.

Additionally, Israel is particularly trying to avoid any escalations with Hezbollah, fearing it could lead to a war with the Lebanese group, according to US website Axios.

Israel and Hezbollah fought a bloody war in 2006 which killed over 1,500 people. Nearly one million Lebanese people were displaced as a result.

Hezbollah denied any involvement in the rockets fired into Israel’s northern Galilee region on Thursday in an interview with Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, The New Arab’s Arabic-language sister site.

An unnamed source from the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) told The New Arab that Palestinian factions were possibly behind the incident.

Netanyahu's comments also follow brutal Israeli raids on the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound earlier this week, in which hundreds of Palestinians were injured and arrested as they marked the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The forces stormed the mosque - which is the third holiest site in Islam - assaulting Palestinian worshippers with stun grenades, batons and rubber bullets before expelling them.

Tuesday’s incident in particular drew widespread condemnation from the likes of Turkey, Arab states and UN General-Secretary Antonio Guterres.

Israel has occupied the West Bank and east Jerusalem since it invaded in 1967, in a move deemed illegal under international law. Israeli forces and settlers have since subjected Palestinians to intimidation, violence and forcible expulsions.

In 2023 alone, Israeli troops and settlers have killed at more than 90 Palestinians.