Hochstein calls for ‘urgent’ end to Hezbollah-Israel fighting

US special envoy Amos Hochstein met with Lebanese officials in Beirut on Tuesday a day after visiting Israel as fears of an all-out war with Hezbollah grow.

Hochstein met with parliament speaker Nabih Berri, whose Amal Movement is allied to Hezbollah, following a night of Israeli strikes on southern Lebanon and called for an “urgent” de-escalation of attacks.

The US presidential aide seeks to prevent escalation between the two warring parties as risks of wider war have increased.

Speaking to the press on Tuesday following the meeting, Hochstein said he had held a “very good” meeting with Berri in these “difficult times”.

“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,” he said, referring to the demarcation line between Israel and Lebanon.

Hochstein, who last visited Beirut in March, added that there was a “diplomatic solution” to end the conflict between Hezbollah and Israel and called for both parties to agree for an urgent end to the fighting.

“It’s in everyone’s interest to resolve it quickly and diplomatically – that is both achievable and it is urgent,” he said.

In recent weeks, there have been growing threats from Israeli military officials to launch a “major military campaign” which could see the army invade southern Lebanon to push back Hezbollah fighters.

Hochstein met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant in Tel Aviv on Monday in a bid to prevent an escalation in what has so far been a system of ‘tit-for-tat’ attacks across the border, known as the ‘blue line’.

On Sunday, Israeli army spokesperson Daniel Hagari warned that “Hezbollah’s increasing aggression is bringing us to the brink of what could be a wider escalation – one that could have devastating consequences for Lebanon and the entire region.”


While Israel continued to strike Lebanese territory, killing two people on Monday, Hezbollah did not launch any attacks from Saturday to Monday in the longest lull since fighting broke out, amid the Muslim festival of Eid Al-Adha.

The current Gaza ceasefire deal on the table presented by US President Joe Biden last month, which hinges on full Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and the return of hostages, refers to an end to the fighting between Hamas ally Hezbollah and Israel, Hochstein said.

Kassim Kassir, a political analyst close to Hezbollah told The New Arab that as long as there is a war in Gaza, there would be “no agreement” between Lebanon and Israel.

“As long as there is war, there is no agreement. Hezbollah continues to fight and won’t withdraw as long as the war continues,” Kassir said.

Analysts noted that the conflict appeared to take a new turn in the past few weeks as the Iran-aligned group unveiled new weaponry, including surface-to-air defence missiles.

Israel has upped strikes against Lebanese targets, including killing senior Hezbollah commander Taleb Sami Abdallah last week, described by the Lebanese press as their most significant assignation yet.

Hochstein has become an intermediary between Israel and Lebanon after he successfully brokered a maritime border deal between the two countries in 2022 after years of wrangling.

Fighting broke out between Israel and Hezbollah on October 8, a day after Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel and the war on Gaza began.

The Iran-aligned group has lost 338 fighters and some 95 Lebanese civilians have been killed, according to Lebanese reports.

Tens of thousands of Lebanese have been displaced from their homes in the border region since October.

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