Gaza Ceasefire Could End Conflict with Hezbollah – US Envoy Calls for ‘Urgent’ De-escalation

Amos Hochstein called for an urgent de-escalation on the northern front. (Design: Palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

Hochstein met with Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, a day after holding talks in Jerusalem with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

US President Joe Biden’s senior adviser, Amos Hochstein, arrived in Beirut on Tuesday for an unscheduled visit following his trip to Israel, where he discussed efforts to ease tensions along the Lebanon-Israeli border, Lebanese media reported.

According to Lebanon’s official National News Agency, Hochstein landed at Beirut’s Rafic Hariri International Airport and was set to meet with Prime Minister Najib Mikati at noon. 

No other meetings in Lebanon have been scheduled for him at this time.

Biden Adviser Hochstein Visits Israel amid Tensions with Hezbollah, Calls for War

Local media also reported that Hochstein’s discussions will focus on ending the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. 

During his visit to Beirut, the US envoy called for the “urgent” de-escalation of cross-border exchanges of fire between Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Israeli forces, which have been ongoing since the start of the Gaza war.

“The conflict… between Israel and Hezbollah has gone on for long enough,” Hochstein reportedly said. “It’s in everyone’s interest to resolve it quickly and diplomatically — that is both achievable and it is urgent.”

Ceasefire in Gaza

Hochstein met with Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, a day after holding talks in Jerusalem with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 

“Speaker Berri and I had a very good discussion,” Hochstein said. “We discussed the current security and political situation in Lebanon as well as the deal on the table right now with respect to Gaza, which also presents an opportunity to end the conflict across the Blue Line,” referring to the demarcation line between Israel and Lebanon.

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Last month, President Biden outlined a truce proposal that Hochstein said could “ultimately end the conflict in Gaza.” 

“A ceasefire in Gaza and, or, an alternative diplomatic solution could also bring the conflict across the Blue Line to an end” and allow the return of displaced civilians to southern Lebanon and northern Israel, Hochstein reportedly said.

Rafah Operations

Israeli Channel 12 reported that Israel informed Hochstein its military operations in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip are nearing completion, amid discussions about extending control over most of the city’s neighborhoods. 

The army reported heavy losses during the battle, with at least 22 soldiers killed and more than 300 wounded. 

The Israeli army burned down on Monday the departure hall on the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing, effectively severing Gaza’s connection to the outside world.

This act follows the Israeli army’s seizure of the Rafah crossing on May 6.

The departure hall, along with other facilities and buildings, was set on fire, cutting off communication for Palestinians in Gaza. 

‘Criminal Act’ – Israeli Army Burns Rafah Departure Hall, Severing Gaza’s Connection to World

Several Palestinian social media accounts shared images showing the departure hall completely engulfed in flames.

This incident coincides with ongoing incursions by Israeli military vehicles into Rafah’s Philadelphi Corridor, a demilitarized buffer zone along Gaza’s border with Egypt.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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