Israel, Lebanon navy increase cooperation in Mediterranean (HA´ARETZ NEWS) By Gili Cohen 04/12/12)
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The Israel Navy has recently strengthened its cooperation with the
Lebanese Navy in the Mediterranean, as it prepares for possible pro-
Palestinian flotillas to Gaza on Nakba Day this month.
According to Israel Navy officials, the indirect cooperation between
the Israeli and Lebanese navies has increased.
On Land Day last month, when hundreds of Palestinians took to the
streets to protest the loss of Arab lands in the Galilee, the
Lebanese army increased its naval operations and barred any ship from
approaching the maritime border with Israel, to prevent any possible
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The Israel Defense Forces has also recently been aided by the
Lebanese Navy in driving out foreign fishing boats that have been
nearing Israeli waters. As a result, a significantly fewer number of
foreign ships approach Israel´s maritime border now.
When the Israeli navy identifies a fishing boat that is closing in on
Israel´s maritime border at a distance less than 400 meters, the
Israel Navy turns to its counterparts on the Lebanese side, through
an international body, and Lebanese ships arrive and drive the boat
north, away from the Israeli border.
The Israel Navy has been preparing for possible pro-Palestinian
flotillas to Gaza on Nakba Day, to take place on May 15 to mourn the
displacement of Palestinians following the establishment of Israel in
1948, and on Naksa Day, which takes place in June and commemorates
the displacement of Palestinians after the 1967 war.
Israeli navy ships have been preparing for a maritime protest, that
could involve a number of fishing boats approaching the Israeli
maritime border. As part of the preparation, the Israel navy has been
equipping itself with stun and gas grenades.
The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center has reported this
week that pro-Palestinian activists from Sweden has announced their
intent to organize another Gaza flotilla this year, saying they have
already bought the ship.
"On the one hand we are glad that [the Lebanese] are helping us, but
on the other hand it´s not always good, as we remember the Lebanese
sniper," an Israel Navy officer said, referring to an incident in
which a Lebanese sniper killed an IDF reservist regiment commander
during an operation on the northern border in 2010.
"Our goal is that the Lebanese will take care of the fishing boats
that approach the border," a commander in the Israel Navy said. "The
danger is the close distance: A suicide bomber could get to Rosh
Hanikra or Achziv beach within seconds."
For now, Israel´s northern maritime border is considered quieter than
ever. However according to Israeli intelligence assessments,
Hezbollah is also preparing for a possible attack, and is reportedly
also operating ships.
"Currently it is very quiet here, but like the entire northern
border, if nothing is happening – it is because Hezbollah doesn´t
want anything to happen," the Israel Navy commander said. (©
Copyright 2012 Ha´aretz 04/12/12)
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