The Lebanese Army has established a series of watchtowers along the border with Israel, a move which has Israelis worried the towers may end up in Hezbollah’s hands should violence resume, Ynet reported.
The towers, built almost overnight in the demilitarized zone between Israel and Lebanon, are close enough to observe Israeli military bases, the border fence, the patrol road next to the border fence, civilian roads in Israel, and various towns and kibbutzim along the border. The observation posts nine in all, are located between Rosh Hanikra and Moshav Zar’it.
“A month ago, there wasn’t anything there,” one resident of Moshav Zar’it pointed out. “They initially just put the tower up. Then, a few weeks later, they built the steps leading up to the watch post.”
Kibbutz Hanita is another site visible from the new watchtowers. Kibbutz security coordinator Erez Adar expressed his concerns. “This tower is less than a third of a mile from the kibbutz. We are worried about getting shot at from the tower, as it’s so close. While the Lebanese Army may be the ones manning the tower for now, it’s clear that during the next war, these positions will be manned by Hezbollah.”
Others are more circumspect. “This is a warning sign,” Kobi Cohen, a resident of Moshav Zar’it, told Hebrew news website Walla. “There is only one group that could have put up these watchtowers, and that’s Hezbollah.”
Adar added that Israelis have faith in their army, and trust that the IDF will take action against the towers as needed.
“We’re worried about any change that happens on the border and follow every development,” the resident of another kibbutz concurred. “When we see these types of things being built, we expect quick responses from the IDF.”
Following the development, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit stated, “The IDF is following the issue. There is no change in the security situation.”
According to UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the Second Lebanon War, no weapons are allowed in the demilitarized zone where the towers have been built.