‘This area has a geographical curse’: Residents along Lebanon’s border with Israel fear another war

‘This area has a geographical curse’: Residents along Lebanon’s border with Israel fear another war


The region along Lebanon’s border with Israel has long been a source of fear and uncertainty for its residents. This Area Has a Geographical Curse, as some locals call it, is a place where peace seems elusive, and war an inevitable reality. Amidst heightened tensions between Lebanon and Israel, we delve into the fears and realities of those living in this volatile border area.

The Fears:

The residents of these border areas live in constant anxiety, with each new day bringing fresh fears of another war. Memories of past conflicts remain vivid in the minds of those who have experienced them firsthand. The 2006 Lebanon War, which lasted for 34 days, left a deep scar on the psyche of the border community. With Israel’s recent military actions in the region, the specter of another war looms large.

Displacement and Destruction:

The fear of displacement and destruction is a constant concern for those living along the border. During past conflicts, many families were forced to flee their homes, leaving behind all their possessions. The devastation wrought by the wars has left a lasting impact on the communities, with many still struggling to rebuild.

The Reality:

Despite the fears and uncertainty, life goes on in this border region. The people are resilient, with a deep sense of pride in their heritage and culture. They continue to farm the land, fish in the waters, and carry on their daily lives, often under the shadow of conflict. The border community’s strength lies in its people, who refuse to be defined by the violence that surrounds them.


Nestled at the eastern Mediterranean, Lebanon shares a complex and historically significant border with Israel. This region, known as the Shebaa Farms and Ghajar area, has been a source of ongoing conflict for decades due to its unique geography and political dynamics. The borderline passes through the narrowest part of Lebanon, making it a contentious zone that has been disputed since the end of the 19th century. Historically, this area has been a bone of contention between Lebanon and Israel, with each side laying claim to it based on their respective historical narratives.

Geographical Curse: A Region Plagued by Conflict

The concept of a “geographical curse” refers to an area that is plagued by ongoing conflict due to its unique geography and political dynamics. In the case of Lebanon’s border with Israel, this curse manifested itself in the form of a disputed territory that has been a source of tension and violence for decades. The region’s strategic importance, combined with its complex political landscape, has made it a flashpoint for conflict between the two nations.

A Sense of Unease Among Residents

Despite numerous peace agreements and diplomatic efforts, the sense of unease among residents in the region remains palpable. The ongoing conflict has resulted in the displacement of thousands of people and caused significant damage to infrastructure and property. Moreover, the region’s unique geography, with its narrow borderline and complex terrain, makes it a challenge for both sides to secure and control. As a result, the area continues to be a source of instability, threatening the fragile peace in the region.

‘This area has a geographical curse’: Residents along Lebanon’s border with Israel fear another war

Historical Overview of Conflicts Along Lebanon’s Border with Israel

The 1948 Palestinian exodus and the establishment of Israel

The historical conflicts along Lebanon’s border with Israel date back to the 1948 Palestinian exodus, also known as the Nakba or “catastrophe,” which led to the displacement of over 700,000 Palestinians from their homes during and after the establishment of Israel. Many of these refugees sought refuge in Lebanon, settling near the border in camps. This mass displacement set the stage for future tensions between Israel and Lebanon.

The South Lebanon conflict (1975-2000)

The South Lebanon conflict erupted in the late 1970s and lasted until 2000. The Israeli military presence in the region began in response to Palestinian guerrilla attacks against Israel from southern Lebanon. This prolonged occupation led to resistance from various militant groups, most notably Hezbollah, which emerged in the mid-1980s. During this period, the border areas between Lebanon and Israel became a contested region, marked by ongoing clashes, military operations, and civilian suffering.

1975-1982: PLO presence and Israeli invasion

Initially, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) established bases in southern Lebanon during the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990). Israel, in response to PLO rocket attacks and cross-border raids, launched a large-scale invasion of Lebanon in 198The occupation of Beirut and southern Lebanon lasted until the early 1990s.

1982-2000: Israeli-Hezbollah confrontations

During this period, Hezbollah continued to engage in guerrilla warfare against Israeli forces. The border region became a flashpoint for violence, with frequent clashes, kidnappings, and cross-border attacks. Both sides suffered casualties, and the civilian population in the border areas was often caught in the middle, enduring the consequences of escalating violence.

The 2006 Lebanon War between Israel and Hezbollah

The 2006 Lebanon War marked a significant escalation of conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. The war began on July 12, 2006, following an Israeli air raid on Beirut that killed several Hezbollah militants. The war lasted for 34 days and resulted in significant damage to civilian infrastructure, particularly in border areas. An estimated 1,200 Lebanese civilians, 160 Israeli soldiers, and 53 Israeli civilians were killed during the conflict. The war also led to a significant increase in tensions between Israel and Lebanon.

The 2008 conflict between Israel and Hezbollah, known as the July War

The July War, also called the “Second Lebanon War,” broke out in 2008, following clashes between Israeli soldiers and Hezbollah militants along the border. The conflict intensified rapidly, resulting in a renewed exchange of heavy artillery fire and air strikes between Israel and Hezbollah. Civilians in the border areas suffered significant damage to their homes and infrastructure as a result of the renewed violence. The conflict ended with a ceasefire on August 14, 2008, but tensions between Israel and Hezbollah remained high. The border area continued to be a source of tension and occasional violence in the following years.
‘This area has a geographical curse’: Residents along Lebanon’s border with Israel fear another war

I Current Tensions and Fears Among Residents Along Lebanon’s Border with Israel

The border region between Lebanon and Israel has long been a source of tension and instability. One of the main factors fueling these tensions is Hezbollah, a powerful militant group with significant political influence in Lebanon. Hezbollah’s role in the region cannot be underestimated, as it has continually sought to provoke conflicts with Israel and build up its military capabilities along the border.

Military Buildup and Provocative Actions Against Israeli Forces

Hezbollah’s military buildup along the border has been a major concern for Israel. The group has amassed an estimated 150,000 rockets and missiles, capable of reaching every part of Israel. Hezbollah’s provocative actions against Israeli forces have included cross-border raids, drone infiltrations, and targeted attacks on Israeli soldiers. These incidents have led to heightened tensions and fears of a larger conflict between the two countries.

Impact of Regional Conflicts

The regional conflicts, particularly Syria’s civil war and its influence on Hezbollah, have also had a significant impact on Lebanon’s border region. The spillover effects of the Syrian conflict have led to an influx of refugees into Lebanon, putting additional strain on the already fragile border communities. Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria has also given it access to advanced weapons and military expertise, further enhancing its capabilities along the Lebanon-Israel border.

Political Instability Within Lebanon

The political instability within Lebanon further complicates the situation. The country is grappling with an economic crisis, widespread government corruption, and external actors seeking to fuel unrest for their own interests. These factors have created a volatile environment that could easily ignite into full-blown conflict along the border with Israel.

Impact on Border Communities

Israel’s military presence in the region has also had a significant impact on civilians. Regular military exercises, aerial violations of Lebanese airspace, and the potential for escalation have made daily life a constant source of anxiety for those living in border communities. The fear of conflict, coupled with the broader political instability and economic hardship, has left many feeling helpless and uncertain about their future.

‘This area has a geographical curse’: Residents along Lebanon’s border with Israel fear another war

Coping Mechanisms and Resilience Among Border Communities

Border communities living in conflict zones face unique challenges that require innovative coping mechanisms and resilience. The role of community structures in providing support and safety during times of conflict cannot be overstated.

The role of community structures:

Examples of local organizations, religious institutions, and informal networks: In many conflict zones, local organizations, such as community-based initiatives and civil society groups, play a vital role in supporting residents. Religious institutions offer not only spiritual solace but also practical assistance through food banks, schools, and medical services. Informal networks of neighbors and extended family members provide emotional support and help with daily tasks.

The adaptation of daily life to the realities of living in a conflict zone:

Building bomb shelters, maintaining food supplies, and other practical measures to mitigate risks: Daily life in conflict zones often requires adaptation to the constant threat of violence. Residents build bomb shelters, maintain food supplies, and establish communication systems to ensure their safety and well-being. These practical measures help reduce anxiety and foster a sense of control in uncertain environments.

The psychological impact of living in a conflict zone and the importance of mental health resources:

Available services, challenges in accessing care, and innovative approaches to addressing trauma and stress: The psychological impact of living in a conflict zone can be profound. Witnessing or experiencing violence can lead to anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other mental health issues. Accessing mental health resources in conflict zones is often challenging due to limited funding, stigma surrounding mental health, and inadequate infrastructure. Innovative approaches, such as mobile clinics, community-based therapy, and digital mental health interventions, offer hope for addressing the mental health needs of border communities effectively.

‘This area has a geographical curse’: Residents along Lebanon’s border with Israel fear another war


Border communities in Lebanon, particularly those situated along the Syrian and Palestinian borders, have exhibited remarkable resilience and determination in the face of ongoing conflict. Despite the geographical curse that has plagued their regions for decades, they continue to endure and adapt, often with little external support. However, it is essential not to romanticize their struggles or overlook the complex web of political, military, and socio-economic factors that contribute to their plight.

Reflecting on Resilience and Determination

The people living in these border regions have shown incredible strength and tenacity, often rebuilding their homes and communities repeatedly. Their resilience is a testament to the human spirit’s capacity to adapt and thrive even in the most challenging circumstances. Nevertheless, their struggles should not be glorified or trivialized; they represent a stark reminder of the consequences of protracted conflict and instability.

Understanding the Geographical Curse

The term “geographical curse” refers to the unique challenges faced by border communities due to their strategic location. These areas often become flashpoints for conflict, as they are contested territories that can be used for various political and military purposes. The complex web of factors contributing to this curse includes:

Political Instability

Border regions are often at the heart of political power struggles, making them hotspots for conflict and instability. The instability can stem from various sources, including territorial disputes, ideological differences, or geopolitical interests.

Military Conflicts

Military conflicts are another significant contributor to the geographical curse. Border regions can become battlefields, leading to widespread destruction and displacement of local populations. The long-term consequences of military conflicts can last for decades, hindering the recovery and development of affected communities.

Socio-Economic Challenges

Socio-economic challenges, such as poverty, lack of access to basic services, and limited employment opportunities, exacerbate the suffering of border communities. These factors can push people into vulnerable situations, making them more susceptible to exploitation and abuse.

Finding Sustainable Solutions

Addressing the root causes of conflict and instability in border regions is crucial for promoting long-term peace and stability. This can involve diplomatic efforts, military interventions, economic development initiatives, and humanitarian assistance. Sustainable solutions require a multifaceted approach that addresses both the symptoms and underlying causes of conflict.

Encouraging Further Research, Dialogue, and International Support

Further research is needed to better understand the challenges faced by border communities and develop effective strategies for addressing them. This includes engaging in dialogue with affected communities, listening to their perspectives, and working together to find solutions that prioritize their needs and aspirations.

Moreover, international support is essential for helping alleviate the suffering of border communities in Lebanon and beyond. This can involve providing humanitarian assistance, investing in economic development initiatives, and supporting diplomatic efforts to resolve ongoing conflicts. By working together, we can help ensure that border communities are not left behind in the pursuit of peace and prosperity.