For the first time since the ceasefire between Israel and Hizbullah, a demonstration of dozens of Hizbullah
members took place Thursday morning near the electronic border fence. During the demonstrations, members carried flags, and some of them threw rocks at the Israeli side of the border. UN members were mobilized to the area, but the demonstrators left before they arrived.
There were no injuries, and no damage to the fence in the incident, but the IDF views the rock throwing with severity. "Before the war there were many incidents of Hizbullah members reaching the fence, whether it was a sheep, a shepherd or civilians. No one was innocent, and today too none of them are innocent from our perspective, every operation of theirs has an aim, whether it's to gather intelligence or test forces. Next time, such an incident can end differently, including opening fire if necessary," a senior IDF officer said.
Not an innocent demo (Photo: Reuters)
On Wednesday a senior IDF source said calm was being kept on the Lebanon border, and progress was being made in talks between IDF representatives and UN officials, as well as members of the Lebanese army. It seemed the quiet was violated, and even though the demonstration was short, red lights appear to have gone off in the Northern Command front.
The Command is familiar with the "shepherd" camouflage technique used by Hizbullah and the organization's envoys who check the IDF's readiness and who collect intelligence. "Of course there are concerns about that now," said the IDF source, "the new border, the clauses in the UN decision, are supposed to prevent any movement of Hizbullah members near the border, including a demonstration or a procession that looks innocent or which ends with harmless stone throwing."
Immediately after the New year, IDF officials are expected to finalize the application of clauses in UN resolution 1701 and to completely clear the territory of IDF soldiers, making way for UN troops and the Lebanese army.
The IDF says it sees an effort by the Lebanese army to operate on the ground, and to stop weapons smuggling attempts by Hizbullah. With that, sources said the incident on Thursday could increase tensions in the area.