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Archive photo Photo: AP
Archive photo Photo: AP

Foreign ministry: Lebanon flyovers harmful

Officials say flights resulted in confrontations with friendly nations that warn of withdrawing forces from south Lebanon; ‘if you must then fly, but make every effort not to be seen,’ they tell IDF

Itamar Eichner
Published: 11.17.06, 10:01 / Israel News

Sources in the Foreign Ministry warn that the continued Air Force flights over Lebanon may prompt the international community to limit Israel’s activity.


Ministry officials have recently held talks with senior IDF officers to explain the diplomatic damage caused by the flyovers, saying the flights have resulted in confrontations with friendly nations that may respond by withdrawing their forces from south Lebanon.

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The officials added that the international community views some of the flyovers as sheer provocation on Israel’s part and a breach of the ceasefire.


“If you must then fly, but make every effort not to be seen,” one official told the officers.


'Catastrophe avoided'

Meanwhile, tensions between Israel and France over the flyovers have increased in the past few days, with senior French army officers not ruling out the possibility that their forces would open fire at any IAF warplane conducting another mock aerial attack at their outposts in Lebanon.


“We believe that opening fire in such a scenario is legitimate,” a French officer recently told a foreign diplomat.


About a week ago French Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said in parliament that French United Nations troops were "two seconds" away recently from firing at Israeli aircraft diving towards their position in southern Lebanon.


"Two seconds later there would have been a shot against the aircraft which were directly menacing our forces," Alliot-Marie said.


"A catastrophe was avoided thanks to the judiciousness of our troops," she added. 


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