UN Warns of Imminent Conflict Between Israel and Hezbollah

The dire warning comes amid rising tensions between Israel and Lebanon’s Hezbollah

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres issued a dire warning on Friday, highlighting the risk of a devastating conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. He stated that the world is on the brink of a catastrophe.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah announced on Wednesday that his organization is prepared for a full-scale conflict with Israel and could invade its northern territories if the situation escalates further. This declaration came after one of Hezbollah’s senior commanders, Hajj Sami Taleb Abdullah, was killed in an Israeli strike on southern Lebanon last week.

“One rash move – one miscalculation – could trigger a catastrophe that goes far beyond the border, and frankly, beyond imagination,” Guterres cautioned reporters at a press conference. He added that “the world cannot afford Lebanon to become another Gaza.” He urged both sides to “urgently recommit” to peace.

“The world must say loudly and clearly: immediate de-escalation is not only possible – it is essential,” Guterres emphasized. “There is no military solution,” he asserted, noting that many lives have already been lost and people have been displaced in both Lebanon and Israel.

UN peacekeepers are already “working to de-escalate tensions and help prevent miscalculation, in an extremely challenging environment,” Guterres said, without disclosing specific details.

Rocket exchanges between Israel and Hezbollah have forced over 53,000 Israelis and almost 100,000 Lebanese to flee their homes in the past nine months.

Earlier this week, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz warned that Israel is “very close” to taking action that would “change the rules of the game” against Hezbollah.

The US is reportedly increasingly concerned about the possibility of the ongoing Israel-Hamas war escalating into a broader Middle East conflict, involving Hezbollah and potentially American troops. Several anonymous White House officials told Axios this week that they believe Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is hindering de-escalation efforts by claiming that Washington is “withholding weapons from Israel.”

Israel launched a major military operation in Gaza last October, in response to a deadly attack by Hamas that resulted in the deaths of approximately 1,200 people and the capture of 251. The nine-month offensive by Israel, which included heavy bombing and a ground invasion of Gaza, has claimed the lives of 37,500 Palestinians, according to local authorities.