Israelis walk fine line between peace and war in Lebanon

ROBERT FISK

Tibnin

On the ridge at Tibnin, southern Lebanon, yesterday, just opposite the Israeli gun pits, Irish pipers of the United Nations peace-keeping force played for St Patrick's Day. Irish songs drifted across the wadis as Sean Barret, the Irish defence minister - in truth probably more worried about the future of a "peace process" nearer home - heard the distant rumble of artillery. Israel's war with the Hizbollah is an obsession for more than the participants.

From above the cumulus cloud came the whisper of jets, but along the narrow road from Jebel Amal to Shakra snaked a far more sinister premonition of war; the funeral of a Hizbollah "martyr" who died in his home in Shakra on Saturday night while preparing a roadside bomb for Israeli occupation troops. "He died on duty," was all the Hizbollah would say about their latest casualty, unwilling to admit that his technical abilities did not match his enthusiasm for guerrilla warfare.

Hassan Atwi was preparing a land-mine when it blew up in his face; he was the third member of his large family to die in the conflict in southern Lebanon, and he was buried in the presence of the Hizbollah commander in southern Lebanon and numerous bearded men who had escorted his corpse to the village cemetery. If his death proved that "resistance" runs in the family, it was also evidence that the Hizbollah intends to continue its assaults on Israel's army inside Lebanon.

On Friday, Major-General Amiram Levin, the Israeli northern commander, visited settlements along the Lebanese border, to be told by their inhabitants that they were ready for Hizbollah retaliation if Israel chose to attack the guerrilla force. But according to local security sources, General Amnon Shahak, the Israeli chief of staff, is restraining officers who want to strike into Lebanon to avenge the bombings in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, not least because the Hizbollah was not responsible for them. The artillery fire yesterday - between Israelis and the Hizbollah in the Iqlim al-Kharoub district far to the north of Tibnin - showed just how narrow are those margins in southern Lebanon between restraint and war.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
filmPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
News
General Election
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Office Administrator

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Office Administrator is requ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - Commercial Vehicles - OTE £40,000

£12000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion and growth of ...

Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - Sheffield - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer position with a...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Leader - Plasma Processing

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Operations Leader is required to join a lea...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders