Israel Defense Force soldiers patrolling their country’s border with Lebanon were fired upon Monday morning. According to the Lebanese news site Naharnet, Lebanese forces opened fire when IDF soldiers crossed the border. IDF sources denied doing so and, after investigating the incident, UNIFIL, the UN troops in Lebanon, agreed that Israel did no wrong. One Lebanese soldier was reportedly injured.
Speaking at a celebration marking Lebanon’s Army Day later on Monday, Lebanese President Michel Suleiman praised the soldiers for confronting Israel. “The Israeli enemy tried again to revert back to attacks and provocations in the Wazani region, but you stood guard,” he said. Suleiman also commented on the dispute between Israel and Lebanon over the demarcation of the maritime border, saying Lebanon must preserve its rights to the water.
UN peacekeepers patrol the Lebanese border after soldiers fired at IDF forces on Aug. 1.
The dispute on where the countries’ maritime border lies has heated up over the last month, since Israel discovered large natural gas and oil reserves beneath the Mediterranean Sea’s surface worth billions. Both have submitted conflicting proposals to the United Nations on where they believe the sea boundary should be drawn. Hezbollah, which controls Lebanese politics, has threatened to use force to protect what it now calls Lebanese territory.
While today’s skirmish was small, it was not inconsequential. Lebanese forces have made a habit of periodically opening fire on Israeli troops, perhaps only to remind the latter that the two countries are, indeed, enemies. But today’s incident should also serve as a reminder to the world of the constant threat Israel faces from her neighbors and what it is like to never know true peace on its borders.