• Al `Udaysah

  • Tuesday, November 28, 2023 at 5:10 AM
    Last Update : Thursday, November 30, 2023 at 5:29 AM

Anticipation and Uncertainty in South Lebanon as Gaza Truce Takes Effect

(AWP) - With the temporary truce between Hamas and Israel still effective in the Gaza Strip, Lebanon is in a state of anticipation as attention turns to the southern border to see if the skirmishes between Hezbollah and Israel will also take a break.

The anticipation is heightened among Lebanese families that were displaced from the border areas following the outbreak of clashes between Hezbollah and Israel on October 8, with the World Health Organization (WHO) estimating that about 40,000 people were forced to leave the south.

A Lebanese woman who returned to her house in Mhaibib village said, “We returned and will stay here until we draw our last breath. We would never have abandoned our lands but for the shelling. Thank God for everyone’s safety. We hope this truce will be crowned with victory.”

Another woman from Mhaibib said, “We are seven people in the house. We have a young boy with us and we stayed here. Where should we go? Whatever happens to everyone will happen to us.”

The Lebanese-Israeli border area is witnessing daily clashes between Hezbollah and Israel. They intensified a day after Hamas attacked southern Israel on October 7, raising concerns about the widening scope of the conflict.

Last month, the Lebanese government announced a “national emergency plan” to protect its citizens from the repercussions of any possible Israeli war on Lebanon and to secure their needs in the event of widespread forced displacement.

However, there were those who opted to stand their ground without fear of the shelling. One Lebanese woman said she did not leave her job at a pharmacy in Odaisseh village because people needed their medicine.

She said, “We stuck around throughout the war. I continued to work in the pharmacy every day because it is a humanitarian profession; we cannot deprive people of medication. The people in the village and the neighbouring villages also remained.”

According to Lebanon’s National News Agency (NNA), China will provide $1 million in “urgent assistance” to those displaced as a result of the clashes between Hezbollah and Israel in southern Lebanon.

The statements were made by the Chinese ambassador to Lebanon after a meeting with Najib Mikati, the prime minister of Lebanon’s caretaker cabinet.

A four-day truce mediated by Qatar and Egypt, under U.S. auspices, became effective on Friday morning, 48 days after Israeli airstrikes that killed more than 15,000 Palestinians and left more than 35,000 wounded.

Some are trying to quickly take advantage of the truce to salvage what they can of their crops and sell the collected yield in this short period before circumstances change again.

A Lebanese woman working on a tobacco farm in Ramyeh village said, “In this four-day truce, we came to arrange the tobacco seedlings to sell them. We came to check on the crop during the truce so that hopefully we will be able to sell it.”

Earlier, Israel said the attack by Hamas and other Palestinian factions on its towns and military barracks near Gaza killed 1,200 people and more than 200 were taken hostage by the attackers returning to the strip.

The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) had said on Saturday that one of its patrols came under Israeli army fire near Aitaroun village in southern Lebanon, but no casualties were reported.