Rival Israel's aid offer to Lebanon in wake of explosion, unlikely to find a taker

WION Web Team
Jerusalem Published: Aug 08, 2020, 03:50 PM(IST)

Emergency aid lands in Lebanon after Beirut blast Photograph:( Reuters )

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The two neighbours are still technically at war, have no diplomatic ties and mutual suspicion, even animosity, defines their relations.

Israel's offer of humanitarian aid to Lebanon after the massive Beirut blast is unlikely to be taken up.

Israel on Friday offered aid and support to Lebanon following Tuesday's devastating port explosion in Beirut, a quick turn of sentiment after a recent exchange of attacks with Lebanese militants along a tense border in recent days.

The two neighbours are still technically at war, have no diplomatic ties and mutual suspicion, even animosity, defines their relations.

Also see: Satellite images capture Beirut before vs after devastating blast

As Beirut reeled Tuesday after the monster blast at the port ripped across the city, many eyes were on Israel.

The military initially offered a traditional "no comment" to queries about the possible source of the explosion, until later a government source added: "Israel has nothing to do with this incident". Hours later the government offered humanitarian aid to Lebanon.

"Israel has turned to Lebanon through international security and political contacts to offer humanitarian and medical aid to the Lebanese government," a statement said.

Also read: In rare show of support, Israeli square bathed in Lebanese colors over Beirut blast

As Beirut hospitals became overwhelmed by the influx of thousands of injured, Lebanon's government did not comment.

Aid has been streaming in from elsewhere, including from former power France and Iran, an ally of Lebanon's powerful Hezbollah movement and key Israeli rival.

Also read: Lebanon's Hezbollah leader denies storing arms at Beirut blast site

Israel and Hezbollah last fought a 33-day war in the summer of 2006 that devastated parts of the Lebanese capital and killed hundreds.

Government and diplomatic sources in Jerusalem say Israel has tried unsuccessfully since Tuesday to send medical equipment to Lebanon via the United Nations, which monitors a buffer zone between the two countries.

Israel even sought to dispatch medical personnel to Cyprus, where Beirut victims could be treated, according to the sources.

"It is a very human gesture," Amos Yadlin, former head of Israeli military intelligence, told reporters. "It is a gesture that can bring the two nations together."

Yadlin blamed Hezbollah's backers in Tehran for the continuing air of hostility between Israel and Lebanon, insisting there was "no real dispute" between the neighbours.

"The only reason that there is no peace between Israel and Lebanon is the fact that Iran took over this small country through its proxy Hezbollah and they are inventing excuses to keep the conflict going," he claimed.

In Beirut, many have bitter memories of Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982, its occupation of the country's south until 2000 and the 2006 war that killed 1,200 people, most of them civilians.

The fate of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees stuck in Lebanon for decades after fleeing or being driven out of their homes in waves following Israel's creation in 1948 is another thorny issue.

Longstanding demands for their return has remained a sticking point.

Traumatised by the blast that devastated their capital killing more than 150 people, injuring at least 5,000 and leaving some 300,000 homeless, the Lebanese paid little attention to Israel's offer, other than to ridicule it. 

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