France floats Israel-Hezbollah truce talks to prevent larger war

Hezbollah preemptively rejects plan aimed at lowering tensions, which requires the terror group to move its forces ten kilometers north of the border with Israel.

By World Israel News Staff

France has officially announced a plan to lower tensions between Israel and the Hezbollah terror group, presenting an outline which would see the terror group withdraw its forces northward and return Israeli and Lebanese officials to the negotiating table.

The framework was presented to Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati by French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne, as well as to Israeli diplomatic and government officials, according to a Reuters report.

“We made proposals. We are in contact with the Americans and it’s important that we bring together all initiatives and build peace,” Sejourne said during a media conference on Monday, announcing the plan.

Over the course of 10 days, in three stages, Hezbollah would move its fighters northward and stop firing rockets, missiles, and drones at northern Israeli communities, Israel would cease airstrikes in Lebanon, and UNIFIL would facilitate negotiations regarding the border between the two countries.

Notably, the plan requires Hezbollah to withdraw its forces at least 10 kilometers north of the border with Israel.

But Jerusalem has repeatedly demanded that Hezbollah fighters be moved north of the Litani River, some 30 kilometers away, in line with a UN Resolution that the terror group has repeatedly violated.

Hezbollah political official Hassan Fadlallah told Reuters that the terror group would not engage in negotiations to end hostilities “before the halt of the aggression on Gaza.”

Fadlallah added that “the enemy is not in the position to impose conditions.”

Israeli army officials have said multiple times in recent weeks that forces are gearing up for a high-intensity, sustained conflict with Hezbollah.

“We prefer the path of an agreed-upon diplomatic settlement [with Lebanon],” Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said in January. “But we are getting close to the point where the hourglass will turn over.”

Speaking to the Washington Post, an Israeli military official stressed that the current security situation in the north is unsustainable.

“Hezbollah began firing into Israeli territory, unprovoked, on October 8th and has continued to do so on a daily basis, firing thousands of projectiles. Israel was forced to respond in self-defense,” the official said.

“As a result of Hezbollah’s aggression, tens of thousands of Israelis were forced to leave their homes. The state of Israel will not return to the prewar status quo in which Hezbollah poses a direct and immediate military threat to its security along the Israel-Lebanon border.”