Palestinians in Lebanon disappointed that Hezbollah won’t escalate


Sabra and Shatila, Lebanon 

A week after a much-anticipated speech about Israel’s assault on Gaza that did not declare war on Israel, Hezbollah reiterated that message on Saturday.

While it would keep retaliating against Israeli attacks on south Lebanon, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said, the war with Israel would be long and victory would “take years”.


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Relief in Lebanon as Hezbollah’s Nasrallah holds off on wider Israel war

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Family, including three children, killed by Israeli attack in south Lebanon

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Photos: To harvest olives, farmers in South Lebanon brave Israeli fire

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Hamas armed wing says it fired 16 rockets at Israel from southern Lebanon

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His message fell short for many Palestinians in Sabra and Shatila, a Palestinian refugee camp that sprawls out across two Beirut neighbourhoods.

“I wanted him to open up the war completely,” said Abdallah*, 25, one of the Palestinians who gathered anxiously at a sidewalk cafe in Sabra and Shatila to watch the speech.

He is one of nearly 250,000 Palestinians languishing in impoverished refugee camps in Lebanon since they were expelled from their homeland during the creation of Israel in 1948.

They have watched, horrified, as Israel systematically and deliberately targeted civilian structures like refugee camps, schools, and hospitals in Gaza.

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Palestinian children wounded in Israeli air raids wait for treatment at Nasser hospital in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, November 12, 2023 [Mohammed Salem/Reuters]

The attacks have killed more than 11,000 Palestinians – nearly half of them children – and forced hundreds of thousands to flee to the south of Gaza, most of them on foot and often being attacked by Israeli troops even as they fled.

“Hezbollah is fighting and they’re trying, but we want them to make more happen,” said Abdallah.

Not enough pressure

Some Palestinians in Lebanon believe that Hezbollah should take the fight to Israel first.

Since Nasrallah’s earlier speech on November 4, there has been, an uptick in violence between Hezbollah and Israel in south Lebanon. On November 5, an Israeli rocket killed one woman and three children.

According to an Israeli army spokesperson, Hezbollah retaliated by killing an Israeli – with no information about whether the victim was a soldier or civilian.

Just moments before Nasrallah’s speech on November 11, Israel fired a rocket at a Lebanese village roughly 40km (25 miles) from their shared border.

Then, after the speech, Israel’s Defence Minister Yoav Gallant warned that Hezbollah was “close to making a grave mistake”, although it is not clear what he was referring to.

Majdi*, who lives in Shatila, said he is frustrated with Hezbollah.

He expected Hezbollah to assume a more significant role in helping Hamas because the group, he noted, has long posed as a leader of the so-called “axis of resistance”, which includes Iran, Hamas, and other Iran-backed armed groups in the region.

“Nasrallah will escalate against Israel from Lebanon a little bit, but he’s not going to be a partner with Hamas in the big and decisive battle in Palestine. He said that himself,”

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