Israel opens border to allow Lebanese to harvest olives amid economic crisis – India Times English News

Israel said on Monday it was opening its border to harvest olives for agricultural workers from neighboring Lebanon, with which it is technically at war.

“In light of the economic situation in Lebanon, and as a gesture of goodwill to the people of Lebanon, the IDF opened the border to agricultural workers from Al Jabal, Itaron and Balida,” a statement from the Israel Defense Force read .

“The IDF allowed workers to cross the Blue Line to some extent, allowing them to cut down olive trees in Israeli territory,” the statement said, referring to the 2000 UN demarcation line.

An army spokesman told AFP that several groups have been allowed since October 10.

The statement said the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) overseeing a buffer zone between the two states had given “notices of gestures” to the Lebanese side.

Tensions between the two countries were rising again since August when Israel launched its first airstrikes on Lebanese territory in seven years and Iran-backed Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah claimed a direct rocket attack on Israeli soil for the first time since 2019. did.

In 2006, the most recent large-scale confrontation between Israel and Hezbollah killed approximately 1,200 Lebanese as well as 160 Israelis, most of them soldiers.

That month-long engagement ended in a UN-backed ceasefire.

Neighbors began historic UN-brokered talks on setting their maritime boundary last year, even though discussions are currently stalled.

Lebanon has been mired in economic, political and social crisis for the past two years and its residents are subject to harsh banking restrictions preventing easy access to funds.

Meanwhile, the local currency has lost nearly 90 per cent against the dollar in the black market. Nearly 80 per cent of the population is struggling to escape poverty amid rising inflation and lack of fuel, medicine and electricity.

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