Reports from Israel claim that U.S. special envoy Amos Hochstein has made “progress” in backing Hezbollah away from the border with Israel after meeting with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in Tel Aviv Feb. 3. According to the Times of Israel, Channel 12 TV reported that Hochstein has conveyed “signs” of a possible diplomatic solution, which will include Hezbollah moving back from the border. There was no official confirmation of this.
The Times cited Hebrew-language media reporting that the U.S.-brokered proposal includes three phases: first, an interim agreement that will include an 8-10 km withdrawal of Hezbollah forces from areas near the boundary with Israel; second, an increase in the deployment of UN forces and the Lebanese army in the area; and third, the return of evacuated residents to their homes in northern Israel and south Lebanon. The framework will also include talks on demarcating an actual land border between Israel and Lebanon and possible U.S.-led incentives for Beirut to agree to a deal.
The Channel 12 report claimed that Israel has tentatively accepted the framework, pending developments on a separate deal brokered by Qatar and Egypt to pause fighting in Gaza and free hostages held by Hamas in Gaza.