PARIS — Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen met with his French counterpart in Paris on Wednesday and asked France to help stop Hezbollah “provocations” at the Lebanese border.
With its history of carrying out global terrorist attacks, parts of Hezbollah—and in some cases the entire organization—have been designated as a terrorist group by the United States and many other countries. In recent years, long-standing alliances with Iran and Syria have embroiled the group in the Syrian civil war, where its support for Bashar al-Assad’s regime has transformed Hezbollah into an increasingly effective military force according to the Council on foreign relations.
“Excellent meeting with the French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna. We discussed the fight against the Iranian nuclear program, the expansion of the Abraham Accords, and I asked her to use France’s influence in Lebanon to stop Hezbollah’s provocations that endanger regional stability,” said Cohen in a Twitter post after the meeting.
“France is a strategic ally of Israel, we discussed expanding cooperation between the countries, and I thanked her for her activity against antisemitism and for the benefit of the Jewish community,” said the minister.
The Iran-backed Lebanese terrorist group has carried out a series of hostile acts at the border with Israel in recent months, including setting up a manned outpost in April a few meters on the Israeli side of the Blue Line but beyond the Israeli security fence. The position, located across from an IDF post, was reportedly manned by three to eight armed terrorists.
Paris has generally good relations with Beirut dating back to when France held the League of Nations Mandate for Syria and the Lebanon in 1923-1946.
Cohen’s one-day visit to France came a day before the United Nations Security Council was scheduled to discuss the deteriorating situation at the Israeli-Lebanese border ahead of a vote next month to renew the mandate of the U.N. peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon (UNIFIL) for another year.
UNIFIL was established in 1978 to confirm Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon following a military incursion that came in response to PLO terrorism. After 2006’s Second Lebanon War between Hezbollah and Israel, UNIFIL’s mandate was expanded to monitor the cessation of hostilities.
Produced in association with Jewish News Syndicate
(Additional reporting provided by JNS Reporter)
Edited by Judy J. Rotich and Newsdesk Manager