As Israel’s violent strikes in Gaza continue to claim lives of Palestinian civilians, even Pentagon is now warning Israel against further escalating the conflict.
According to a report by Axios, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin warned his Israeli counterpart, Yoav Gallant, about further escalating the war in Gaza, especially the border clashes with Lebanon, emphasizing also “the need to contain the conflict in all fronts.”
Since Hamas attacks Israel on October 7, cross-border clashes between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon have seen considerable escalation, with the former launching numerous airstrikes and using white phosphorous munitions against Hezbollah.
According to US and Israeli sources familiar with the matter, the talks between Austin and Gallant happened through a phone call, which was “very direct and frank.” During the phone call, as the sources noted, “Austin specifically mentioned concerns about Israeli military action in Lebanon,” and the need “to contain attacks in Gaza.” The sources also said Austin asked Gallant for clarification about recent airstrikes by Israel in Lebanon and requested Tel Aviv to avoid any escalations that could lead to an all-out war between Hezbollah and Tel Aviv.
Gallant said that Israel is not open to another war front on the Lebanese border, mentioning that he “does not think anything of the sort will happen.” He also reportedly told Austin that “Hezbollah is playing with fire.”
It was on 12 November that Hezbollah claimed responsibility for attacks against Israeli sites and personnel, attacks that were “planning to install transmission towers and spying devices in a newly established post near Doviv Barracks.” Initially, Israeli media reported that 8 Israeli soldiers were killed as a result of Hezbollah’s operations. The number, however, changed later and reached up to 20 soldiers.
‘The fight will continue’, Nasrallah said
On this Saturday, and in his second speech since the start of the Israel-Hamas war on October 7, Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah said that the operations carried out by the Lebanese resistance will continue using eye-for-eye measures.
“We will let the battlefield speak for itself. Our policy has never been for me to speak of our plans or intentions and then for the brothers to carry them out; it was always the other way around, and this will be the case now, too,” Nasrallah said.
UN rebukes Israel once again
Rebuking Israel’s attacks in Gaza once again, a number of United Nations agencies issued a joint statement and called for an “urgent international action” to end attacks against hospitals in Gaza. The statement came from Laila Baker of UNFPA Arab States, Adele Khodr of UNICEF Middle East and North Africa and Ahmed Al-Mandhari of WHO Eastern Mediterranean. “The world cannot stand silent while hospitals, which should be safe havens, are transformed into scenes of death, devastation, and despair,” the UN officials also asserted.
According to WHO figures, at least 137 attacks on health care in Gaza have been recorded over the past 36 days, resulting in 521 deaths and 686 injuries, including 16 deaths and 38 injuries of health workers on duty. The overall number of deaths in the ongoing Israeli military attacks on the Gaza Strip since Oct. 7 has surpassed the grim figure of 11,100, including more than 8,000 children and women.
“Decisive international action is needed now to secure an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and prevent further loss of life, and preserve what’s left of the health care system in Gaza,” the statement also noted, adding that “unimpeded, safe and sustained access is needed now to provide fuel, medical supplies and water for these lifesaving services.”