Israel Offers Humanitarian Aid to Lebanon Amid Imminent 'Social Explosion'

Yaniv Kubovich
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Lebanese youths burn tires east of the capital Beirut as they protest against the country's dire living conditions, amidst the ongoing economical and political crisis
Lebanese youths burn tires east of the capital Beirut as they protest against the country's dire living conditions, amidst the ongoing economical and political crisisCredit: AFP
Yaniv Kubovich

Defense Minister Benny Gantz offered humanitarian aid to Lebanon via the United Nations on Tuesday, in light of the dire economic situation and fears of a deepening Iranian foothold in the country.

Gantz tweeted that due to “the difficult economic situation in Lebanon” as well as “Hezbollah's attempts to bring Iranian investments into Lebanon,” he approached United Nations Interim Force (UNIFIL) with a proposal to transfer humanitarian aid from Israel to Lebanon through Israeli army liaison officials.

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At a ceremony on Sunday inaugurating a monument to the South Lebanon Army in the northern town of Metula, Gantz said that his "heart aches at the sight of the pictures of the hungry on the streets of Lebanon." He said that Israel is “ready to act” and provide humanitarian aid to the country.

The Defense Minister's push "to influence more countries" in the region comes amid growing concerns in the Israeli security establishment about Iran's growing influence, and in particular their relationship with Hezbollah.   

Lebanon's Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Friday repeated pledges to import Iranian fuel should shortages across the country persist, saying that all logistical steps for that possibility were complete.

Nasrallah, who heads the Iranian-backed armed Lebanese group, said earlier in June Iran could supply fuel to Lebanon in local pounds, avoiding a foreign currency crunch.

For weeks worsening fuel shortages on the back of Lebanon's deepening financial crisis have forced motorists to queue for hours for very little gasoline.

Meanwhile, caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab on Tuesday warned of that a "social explosion"  is days away, calling on the international community to save the country.

Diab, in a speech after a meeting with several ambassadors and representatives of diplomatic missions in Beirut, also said his government could not re-start talks with the International Monetary Fund and only a new cabinet could do that.

"This government does not have the right to resume negotiations with the IMF to implement the recovery plan set by the cabinet, for this entails obligations on the next government that it may not endorse," he said.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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