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Título reescrito: Incapaces de retroceder, Israel y Hezbollah se acercan a una guerra total.

4 hours ago
By Lucy Williamson, Reporting from the Israel-Lebanon border

“Every day, every night: bombs. [It’s a] problem,” David Kamari told the BBC.

Full-scale war between Israel and Hezbollah would be “a catastrophe,” the UN Secretary-General says. But to David Kamari, who lives under near-daily fire on the Israeli side of the border, it would be a solution.

Last month, a Hezbollah rocket fired from Lebanon landed in his front garden in the border town of Kiryat Shmona, cracking his house in several places and filling it with rubble.

He points out the gaping holes where shrapnel sliced through the walls, missing him by inches. And then to the hills above us, where Hezbollah-controlled territory begins.

“Every day, every night: bombs. [It’s a] problem,” he said. “And I was born here. If you live here one night, you go crazy.”

David is still living in his rubble-filled house, pieces of shrapnel entangled with the remains of his television set. Outside is the blackened relic of his car, burned by the fire that swept through his front yard after the rocket hit.

Most of the population of Kiryat Shmona was evacuated after the 7 October Hamas attacks, as Hezbollah rockets began raining down in support of their Palestinian ally.

David is one of the few who stayed. “I’ve lived here 71 years,” he said. “I won’t go. I was in the army, I’m not afraid.”

His solution? “War with Hezbollah; kill Hezbollah,” he says.

David’s property has been hit by rocket fire: “If you live here one night, you go crazy.”

Israel has been striking back hard against Hezbollah, killing senior commanders and hitting targets further inside Lebanon.

Hezbollah has sent larger volleys of drones and missiles across the border this month, and threats on both sides have increased. Earlier this week, the group published drone footage of military installations and civilian infrastructure in the Israeli city of Haifa.

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Tough talk has long been part of a mutual strategy of deterrence, with both sides seen as wary of all-out war.

But as the tit-for-tat conflict grinds on, and more than 60,000 Israelis remain evacuated from their homes in the north, there are signs that both Israel’s leaders and its citizens are prepared to support military options to push Hezbollah back from the border by force.

The mayor of Kiryat Shmona, Avichai Stern, shows me the site where a rocket hit a street near his office last week.

“I don’t think there is any country in the world would accept daily fire against its citizens,” Mayor Stern said.

“And sitting here like lambs to slaughter, waiting for the day they will raid us like we saw in the south, that’s not acceptable. Everyone understands that the choice is between war now or war later.”

The dangerous stalemate here hinges largely on the war Israel is fighting more than 100 miles (160km) to the south in Gaza.

A ceasefire there would help calm tensions in the north too, but Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is keeping both conflicts going, mortgaged by his promise to far-right government allies to destroy Hamas before ending the Gaza War.

Earlier this week even the Israeli military spokesman said this goal may not be realistic.

“The idea that we can destroy Hamas or make Hamas disappear is misleading to the public,” Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari told Israeli TV.

On the Lebanese side of the border, where more than 90,000 people have been evacuated, the mood among those who have stayed is similarly grim. EPA

Israel has been hitting southern Lebanon with air strikes.

Fatima Belhas lives a few miles (7km) from the Israeli border, near Jbal el Botm.

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In the early days, she would shake with fear when Israel bombed the area, she says, but has since come to terms with the bombardments and no longer thinks of leaving.

“Where would I go?” she asked. “[Others] have relatives elsewhere. But how can I impose on someone like that? We have no money.”

“Maybe it is better to die at home with dignity,” she said. “We have grown up resisting. We won’t be driven out of our land like the Palestinians.”

Hussein Aballan recently left his village of Mays al Jbal, around 6 miles (10km) from Kiryat Shmona, on the Lebanese side of the border.

Life there had become impossible, he said, with erratic communications and electricity, and almost no functioning shops.

The few dozen families left there are mainly older people who refuse to leave their homes and farms, he told the BBC.

But he backed the Hezbollah assault on Israel.

“Everyone in the south [of Lebanon] has lived through years of aggression, but has come out stronger,” he said. “Only through resistance are we strong.”

The BBC saw damage in southern Lebanon from Israeli fire in May.

As difficult as this border conflict is for people on both sides, a full-scale war would lift the crisis onto a different scale.

Some residents of Beirut are keeping suitcases packed and passports ready, in case of all-out conflict, and the Hezbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, said this week that nowhere in Israel would be spared.

Hezbollah is a well-armed, well-trained army, backed by Iran; Israel, a sophisticated military power with the US as an ally.

Full-scale war is likely to be devastating for both sides.

The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, said it would be a “catastrophe that goes […] beyond imagination.”

The problem for Israel is how to stop the rockets and get its people back to the abandoned northern areas of the country.

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The problem for Hezbollah is how to stop the rockets when its ally, Hamas, is being pounded by Israeli forces in Gaza.

The longer that situation grinds on, the more the risks of a miscalculation increase, and the more Israel’s government is under pressure to resolve the situation.

The Hamas attacks on 7 October changed security calculations in Israel. Muchos de los que tienen casas cerca de la frontera -y algunos de los que ocupan posiciones de poder- dicen que el tipo de acuerdo hecho con Hezbollah en el pasado ya no es suficiente.

Tom Perry dice que los líderes de Israel han fallado y deberían renunciar

Tom Perry vive en el kibutz Malkiya, justo al lado de la valla fronteriza libanesa. Estaba tomando algo con amigos cuando un cohete de Hezbollah impactó en la parte delantera de su casa a principios de este mes.

“Creo que la advertencia del Secretario General es correcta – [la guerra] será una catástrofe para la zona”, dijo.

“Pero desafortunadamente parece que no tenemos otra opción. Ningún acuerdo dura para siempre, porque ellos quieren la muerte para nosotros. Estamos condenados a guerras para siempre, a menos que Israel pueda eliminar a Hezbollah.”

Los líderes de Israel perdieron toda credibilidad después de los ataques del 7 de octubre, dice, y no tienen una estrategia para lograr la paz.

“Necesitan renunciar – todos ellos. El mayor fracaso de nuestro ejército y nuestro país fue el 7 de octubre, y ellos eran nuestros líderes. No necesitamos a estos líderes.”

Las demandas de cambio político probablemente aumentarán cuando terminen los conflictos de Israel.

Muchos creen que el primer ministro de Israel está jugando a ganar tiempo: atrapado entre las crecientes demandas de un alto el fuego en Gaza, y el creciente apoyo a una guerra en el norte.