Israeli Violation of Lebanese Airspace Evokes Lebanese Response
Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil issued a complaint to the United Nations on September 9 in response to excessive Israeli military flight routes. Merely one day after this statement, Israeli fighter jets broke the sound barrier in the southern city of Sidon during a supposed military exercise. Flying very low, Israeli jets generated a sonic boom, which broke the windows of several buildings and caused panic among the cities’ residents.Three days prior to the event in Sidon, in an effort to circumvent the U.S.-Russia fly zone in Syria, Israeli military forces fired missiles at weapons factories in Syria from Lebanese airspace. Israeli violation of Lebanese airspace is common, but recent missile strikes into Syria coupled with the events in Sidon have led to a Lebanese rebuttal. Israeli encroachments into Lebanese airspace have invoked the Lebanese government to reach out to the United Nations. “We have started preparing to file a complaint to the [UN] Security Council against Israel for flying its planes at low altitude... causing material, moral and sovereign damage,” Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil tweeted. Israel’s use of Lebanese airspace to conduct airstrikes on Syria only exacerbates tension in the region. Seen as an effort to mitigate weapons production for the Assad regime and Hezbollah, the bombing of Syrian weapons factories serves as a warning sign for the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah alliance. Amid rising tension with Hezbollah, Israel is taking preventive action in the region. Having gone to war with Hezbollah on two separate occasions, Israel believes another conflict with the Iranian-backed militant group is in the imminent future. The Israeli Defense Force recently conducted its largest military exercise in nearly 20 years, simulating a 10-day war exercise against the militant group. Adding on to that, Israel, who publicly has been relatively detached from the Syrian conflict, has taken preemptive measures in the region with its recent airstrikes. By reaching out to the United Nations, the Hezbollah-dominated Lebanese government has taken yet another step in countering Israeli advances. With tensions escalating in the region, the potential for conflict rises, as signified by the recent Israeli military operations and the Lebanese appeal to the UN.