News / Middle East

Rockets Fired from Lebanon Hit Israel Ahead of Diplomatic Push

A Lebanese army personnel inspects the remains of a shell that was launched from Lebanon to Israel, which according to activists landed 500m from the Lebanese-Israeli border, in the southern Lebanese village of Sarada, Dec. 29, 2013.
A Lebanese army personnel inspects the remains of a shell that was launched from Lebanon to Israel, which according to activists landed 500m from the Lebanese-Israeli border, in the southern Lebanese village of Sarada, Dec. 29, 2013.
Robert Berger
There was a rare clash Sunday on the Israel-Lebanon border. The incident occurred ahead of a week of diplomacy on the Israel-Palestinian track.

Several rockets fired from Lebanon set off loud explosions in northern Israel but caused no injuries or damage. The army says Israel retaliated with "massive" artillery fire into Lebanon.

The border has been mostly quiet for years, but fighting from the Syrian civil war has spilled over into neighboring Lebanon, and the clash raised fears that tensions could spread to Israel.

At the weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel will not allow cross-border attacks to pass quietly, and the government and army of Lebanon will be held responsible.

Netanyahu accused Lebanon of failing to “lift a finger” to prevent militant groups like Hezbollah from launching attacks on Israel from its territory.

  • United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) troops react at the site of a shell that was launched from Lebanon to Israel, Sarada, Lebanon, Dec. 29, 2013.
  • An Israeli security coordinator stands next to the remains of a rocket after it landed near the northern town of Kiryat Shmona, Israel, Dec. 29, 2013.
  • An Israeli police explosive expert carries the remains of a rocket after it landed near the northern town of Kiryat Shmona, Israel, Dec. 29, 2013. 
  • An Israeli soldier walks out of a military bunker on the Israel-Lebanon border near the northern town of Metula, Israel, Dec. 29, 2013. 
  • United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) troops inspect the remains of a shell that was launched from Lebanon to Israel, Sarada, Lebanon, Dec. 29, 2013.
  • A Lebanese army soldier holds the remains of a rocket, Sarada, Lebanon, Dec. 29, 2013.
  • Lebanese army personnel inspect the remains of a shell that was launched from Lebanon to Israel. According to activists, the shell landed about 500m from the Lebanese-Israeli border, Sarada, Lebanon, Dec. 29, 2013. 
  • An Israeli soldier looks at a U.N. helicopter flying over the Israel-Lebanon border near the northern town of Metula, Israel, Dec. 29, 2013. 

The clash came a day before Israel plans to free 26 long-term Palestinian prisoners in the third stage of a U.S.-brokered deal that restarted peace talks last summer after years of deadlock. Israel released 52 prisoners in the first and second stages, and with the 26 to be freed in the final stage, the total will be 104.  

Most of the detainees were involved in deadly attacks against Israelis more than 20 years ago.  

Although Palestinians are preparing a heroes’ welcome for the prisoners, the deal is unpopular in Israel. The families of terror victims have set up a protest tent outside the prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem.  

Elchai Ben Ishai says his sister, her husband and three of their children were killed in a Palestinian terror attack in 2011.

“Their innocent blood is crying out from the ground,” he said.

To appease hawks in his own government, Prime Minister Netanyahu will announce a plan to build 1,400 homes in Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

The Palestinians and international community say the settlements are an obstacle to peace. And Palestinian officials like Jibril Rajoub are furious.

“This is a provocation,” he said. He said the settlements could destroy the peace process and lead to another cycle of violence and bloodshed.    

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will visit Jerusalem and the West Bank this week to try to keep the peace process on track.

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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Michael Miles from: Victoria BC
December 29, 2013 2:01 PM
Quite building settlements and you may have a chance for peace.
Israel keeps building so the war continues

by: Rudy Haugeneder from: Canada
December 29, 2013 1:45 PM
Meanwhile, Israel has taken advantage of the much publicized massacres in Syria's sectarian civil war to steal Palestinian land and build thousands more Jewish homes on other occupied territory.
For example Israeli cabinet ministers proposed legislation on Sunday to annex The Jordan Valley area of the occupied West Bank likely to be the eastern border of a future Palestinian state, according to Reuters.
Also today, Saudi Arabia is to give Lebanon's army a grant of $3bn (£1.8bn, 2.8bn euros), Lebanese President Michel Sleiman said a televised address after the funeral of a senior Lebanese politician killed in a car bomb attack. Mohamad Chatah, a Sunni Muslim, was a staunch critic of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Lebanon's Shia Hezbollah movement that backs him.
Nobody has taken claim for assassinating Mohamad Chatah, leading some to suspect it was an Israeli killing designed to increase Arab sectarian tensions throughout the MIddle East, and allow Israel to annex more Palestinian land without protest from the West or Sunni led Saudi Arabia and Qatar that are blamed for funding the blood sectarian war against Shi'ite Muslims.

by: Bankee from: UN
December 29, 2013 12:02 PM
well, now i expect the UN to condemn Israel...for something... really anything will do... the whole of the ME is self destroying - Israel is the only nation that builds - and we condemn Israel...!!! lol

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