Tags: israel | embassy | security | escalation | missions | war | hamas

Israel Urges Embassies' Security Prep Amid Escalation Fears

By    |   Saturday, 27 January 2024 11:01 AM EST

The Israeli foreign ministry has contacted diplomatic missions in the country, inquiring about their readiness for a potential "security escalation."

The move comes amid heightened tensions stemming from the conflict with Hamas, raising fears of a broader confrontation, reported Financial Times.

Since the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas that ignited the ongoing conflict, the Middle East has witnessed escalating tensions. Israeli forces engaged in cross-border exchanges with Hezbollah militants in Lebanon, while Houthi militants in Yemen targeted Israel with missiles and aimed at Red Sea shipping.

In response to heightened security concerns, Israel has issued a travel advisory for its citizens, urging careful consideration before embarking on international journeys. A Level 2 warning has been assigned to various nations in Western Europe, while more robust advisories have been implemented for countries in Asia and Africa. The Israeli government implores its citizens to exercise prudence and assess the necessity of their intended trips in light of the elevated security risk.

Financial Times reviewed a communication dated Jan. 22, addressed to heads of diplomatic missions in Israel, and the foreign ministry sought information concerning contingency measures in case of power outages. The ministry inquired about the availability and operational duration of backup generators and satellite phones. The message emphasized the need for preparedness for a potential security escalation.

Diplomats in Israel express particular concern about the situation along the shared border with Lebanon. Recent weeks have seen an escalation of cross-border fire between Israeli forces and Hezbollah, an Iran-backed group recognized as one of the world's most heavily armed nonstate actors.

Following the October attack by Hamas, Israel demanded Hezbollah's withdrawal some 18 miles north of the Lebanon-Israel border under a long-ignored U.N. resolution. Israel has threatened military action if a diplomatic resolution is not reached.

To avert a full-blown war, U.S. officials are engaged in preliminary negotiations. The proposed compromise involves Hezbollah withdrawing its forces approximately 6 miles from the border, coupled with an increase in the number of official Lebanese troops near the border.

Despite these efforts, obstacles persist, and the situation remains a cause for concern. One individual in the talks warned, "Diplomacy and war are in a race right now — and we're not sure which one is going to win."

The foreign ministry's Jan. 22 message has sparked differing opinions among diplomats. Some speculate that it could be a strategic move to prompt countries with ties to Lebanon to pressure Beirut into reaching a deal with Israel, thus de-escalating tensions. However, others downplay this interpretation, characterizing the communication as routine and emphasizing its lack of specificity.

Responding to queries about the unusual communication, the Israeli foreign ministry stated that it had "advised all foreign missions in Israel to be prepared for potential blackouts." This directive, issued at the request of the national emergency directorate, is framed as part of a nationwide preparation for extreme circumstances that may arise.

Jim Thomas

Jim Thomas is a writer based in Indiana. He holds a bachelor's degree in Political Science, a law degree from U.I.C. Law School, and has practiced law for more than 20 years.

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The Israeli foreign ministry has contacted diplomatic missions in the country, inquiring about their readiness for a potential "security escalation."
israel, embassy, security, escalation, missions, war, hamas, hezbollah, negotiations
Saturday, 27 January 2024 11:01 AM
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