Blinken says US working closely with Israel, Lebanon on diplomatic efforts
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that Washington is still exerting diplomatic efforts to resolve the border conflict between Israel and Hezbollah in a peaceful way.
“We’re continuing to work closely with Israel and Lebanon on diplomatic efforts to de-escalate tensions on Israel’s northern border so that families can return to their homes -- both in northern Israel and in southern Lebanon -- and live in peace and security,” Blinken said during a visit to Israel.
Amos Hochstein, one of U.S. President Joe Biden's closest and most trusted advisers, met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in Israel on Sunday and discussed his proposal for “new understandings” between Lebanon and Israel, U.S. news portal Axios has reported.
Since the outbreak of war between Israel and Gaza-based Palestinian militant group Hamas on October 7, the Lebanese-Israeli border has seen near-daily exchanges of fire between Israel and Hezbollah, a Hamas ally.
Israel has repeatedly bombarded Lebanese border villages, killing 227 people, mostly Hezbollah fighters but also 27 civilians including three journalists. On the Israeli side, 15 people have been killed in the northern border area including nine soldiers and six civilians, according to the Israeli army.
The fighting has also displaced tens of thousands of residents on both sides of the border.