A Message From Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu To Lebanon
PM warns: Lebanon to be held responsible for attacks
Speaking before Gush Katif evacuees in south, Netanyahu addresses threats from north, saying 'If Hezbollah entered gov't as official body, let it be clear Lebanese gov't to be held responsible for any attack on Israel from its territory'
Roni Sofer Published: 08.10.09, 11:17 / Israel News
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent an assertive message to Beirut on Monday, saying, "Let it be clear that the Lebanese government will be held accountable for any attack on Israel coming from its territory." The prime minister spoke before Gush Katif evacuees in Hevel Lachish in southern Israel. Netanyahu addressed the shifting politics in Lebanon, and said, "If Hezbollah entered the government as an official body, let it be clear that the Lebanese government will be held accountable for any attack on Israel coming from its territory. "The moment they are part of the government, the sovereign Lebanese government is responsible. I hope we will not need such responses." The last few days have seen reports of Hezbollah efforts to target Israeli delegates overseas, including a thwarted attempt on the life of the Israeli ambassador to Cairo. Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon told Yedioth Ahronoth that should any attempt be made on an Israeli official the Lebanese government would be held accountable. "Hezbollah is not on the moon, its part of the Lebanese government…. if so much as one hair on the head of any Israeli overseas – official or tourist – is harmed, we will hold Hezbollah responsible and the response would be harsh." Northern Comman deputy chief Brigadier-General Alon Friedman said in an interview to the British Times last week that the queit on the northern border "could erupt any minute". He added that the stability between Lebanon and Israel was "in danger". According to the report, Hezbollah has accumulated over 40,000 rockets and has been training its troops to launch rockets capable of reaching Tel Aviv as well as airplanes. Netanyahu also addressed the matter of the Gaza evacuees and their location in eastern Lachish. "We are committed to completing our work, and part of it is ensuring that the territories across the border are not used as launch bases against us. Every attack will yield a response," he said. The prime minister refused to comment on developments in talks in the matter of captive soldier Gilad Shalit, and made do with a general statement, saying, "We are dealing with this matter all the time".
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Warns Lebanon
Published: August 10, 2009
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel will hold Lebanon responsible for any future Hezbollah attack should the Iranian- and Syrian-backed militia be brought into Beirut's incoming government, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday. Though U.S.-backed Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri bested Hezbollah in a June ballot, he is holding talks on a new coalition expected to include the Shi'ite group and its allies. Hezbollah has a minister in the outgoing cabinet. Israel fought Hezbollah in its southern Lebanese bastions in a 2006 war but has accused the guerrillas of rearming under the noses of U.N. peacekeepers and plotting attacks on Israelis to avenge the assassination of a top militia leader last year. Some analysts believe that Israel, which has hinted it could attack arch-foe Iran's nuclear facilities, also wants to blunt Hezbollah's ability to serve as a retaliatory arm of Tehran. "If Hezbollah joins the Lebanese government as an official entity, let it be clear that the Lebanese government, as far as we are concerned, is responsible for any attack -- any attack -- from its area on the state of Israel," Netanyahu told reporters. "It cannot hide and say: 'It's Hezbollah, we don't control them.'"Triggered by Hezbollah's capture of two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid, the 2006 summer war exacted a heavy toll on Lebanese infrastructure. Some 1,200 people in Lebanon, mostly civilians, and 158 Israelis, mostly soldiers, were killed.
Israel credits the offensive with keeping the border largely quiet since, but Hezbollah has said it is ready to fight again and is determined to hit back for the February 12, 2008 killing of its military mastermind, Imad Moughniyeh, in a Damascus car-bombing. Israel denied involvement in that slaying, and has warned that Hezbollah and Lebanon would bear the consequences for any reprisals against Israelis abroad. Netanyahu's threat followed similar comments by the Israeli defense minister and deputy foreign minister in recent days. The spiraling rhetoric has stirred speculation on both sides of the frontier that a fresh conflict could be in the making.
Senior Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hashim Safieddin said on Sunday that if Israel attacked Lebanon again, the group's response would make the 2006 war seem like "a joke," Lebanese media reported. Underlining the point Monday, deputy Hezbollah leader Sheikh Naim Kassem said Israel would face a "heavy" price if it attacked. "They know that we now are in a better position (than before) and in an excellent state of readiness," he told the group's al-Manar television station. Asked about Netanyahu's remarks, Deputy Israeli Prime Minister Dan Meridor said they were intended to preserve the quiet through deterrence. But he also made clear that Israel regards its neighbor as a potential Iranian proxy.
"Hezbollah is a terror organization that has become a semi-army. Basically, it is a branch of Iran on our northern border, with Syria's consent and with Lebanon's consent. This is not a healthy phenomenon," Meridor told Israel Radio. Assumed to have the Middle East's only atomic arsenal, Israel has questioned the efficacy of U.S.-led efforts to curb Iran's nuclear program through diplomacy. Iran denies seeking the bomb but has stoked regional jitters with virulently anti-Israel statements and support for Hezbollah and Palestinian Islamist militants similarly arrayed against the Jewish state.(Additional reporting by Tom Perry in Beirut; Editing by Charles Dick)
Netanyahu warns against Hezbollah's entry into Lebanese gov't
www.chinaview.cn 2009-08-10 19:14:25 JERUSALEM, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday Israel would hold Beirut accountable for any attack on Israeli targets from Lebanon, if Lebanese Shiite armed group Hezbollah joins the new government. "If Hezbollah entered the government as an official body, let it be clear that the Lebanese government will be held responsible for any attack on Israel coming from its territory," Netanyahu was quoted by the Israeli news service Ynet as saying. Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri has been holding talks over the lineup of a new government expected to group his Western-backed alliance with the Syria- and Iran-backed opposition led by Hezbollah. Hariri, whose alliance won the June 7 parliamentary election, was designated by President Michel Suleiman on June 27 to form a new cabinet. The obstacles in forming a unity government have mainly focused on whether to grant the opposition veto power or proportional representation. Hezbollah's official entry into the Lebanese government takes away any line between the state and the militant group with that regard, Netanyahu was cited by local daily Ha'aretz as saying. The prime minister said "The government of Lebanon cannot just say 'that's Hezbollah,' and hide behind them," noting that "The government of Lebanon is in power and responsible." Israeli-Lebanese relations became a focus again after the June 14 explosion at an arms depot in southern Lebanon. However, Netanyahu denied tensions increasing between the two neighboring countries. The United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon and the Lebanese army have launched investigation in a bid to determine whether the ammunition is the leftover of the Israeli-Hezbollah war, or Hezbollah-stored arms. The UN Security Council Resolution 1701 that ended the 34-day war between Hezbollah and Israel during the summer of 2006 prohibits Hezbollah from rearming.