Threatened by Hezbollah, Israel seeks solution for empty North: Report



Palestinians look for survivors of the Israeli bombardment in Rafah | (Photo: PTI/AP)

A winding road in northern Israel lined with vineyards leads to Kibbutz Menara atop the Ramim Ridge in the Naftali mountains where pomegranate and avocado trees grow. 


It should be an idyllic scene. 


Instead, gaping holes have been blown through the blackened walls of the community’s double-story houses. A roof has collapsed and a twisted lump of melted metal denotes what was once a car. For the last few weeks, Islamist militant group Hezbollah has been firing anti-tank missiles into the kibbutz from the Lebanese village of Meiss El Jabal in the valley a few hundred yards below.

Other villages in the region have also come under attack and the Israeli military has responded with strikes of its own. 


While the world’s attention focuses on a resumption in fighting between Israel and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip in the south, this largely abandoned cooperative highlights an upcoming problem for the embattled Middle Eastern state: How to get the tens of thousands of people who have fled the region to return when an existential threat is in eyesight just across the border. 


Meanwhile, in Gaza, Israel forces bombed wide areas of the Gaza Strip on Sunday, killing and wounding dozens of Palestinians, as civilians in the besieged territory sought shelter in an ever-shrinking area of the south.


Among the sites hit was the Jabalia refugee camp in the north of the Hamas-ruled enclave.  More than 15,200 have been killed as of Saturday, according to Gaza’s health ministry, in nearly two months of warfare that broke out after a Hamas cross-border raid on southern Israel on October 7 in which 1,200 Israelis were killed and more than 200 taken hostage.

The US, concerned about high civilian casualty rates in Gaza, has been urging Israel to come up with safe zones for fleeing civilians, and Israel says it has done so. Israel said it has called for the evacuation of parts of Gaza where it says Hamas leaders are hiding, an indication it plans to intensify strikes in the south of the Palestinian enclave.

First Published: Dec 03 2023 | 10:26 PM IST


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