Netanyahu calls for int'l community to act as tensions near boiling point

Aoun calls alleged Isareli drone strike an act of war, Israel warns Lebanon it will be held responsible for Hezbollah acts from its territory.

By
August 27, 2019 03:28
3 minute read.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)

The international community needs to act immediately to halt Iranian attacks on Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday, after convening a security cabinet meeting that dealt with mounting tension with Iran, Lebanon and Syria.

“Iran is working on a broad front to carry out murderous terrorist attacks against the State of Israel,” Netanyahu said. “Israel will continue to defend its security however that may be necessary. I call on the international community to act immediately so that Iran halts these attacks.”

Israel has been warning Lebanon for months that it will hold it responsible for Hezbollah attacks from Lebanese territory, and it will target its infrastructure if Hezbollah launches rockets from Lebanon. The prime minister alluded to this in comments he made on a tour to the north on Sunday.

Israel, he said, would not “tolerate aggression against Israel from any country in the region. Any country that allows its territory to be used for aggression against Israel will face the consequences, and I repeat: the country will face the consequences.”

According to a Channel 13 report, a similar message – that Israel will make no distinction between Lebanon and Hezbollah – was passed to the Lebanese government through US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The security cabinet meeting followed Saturday night’s operation in which Israel struck an Iranian drone team in Syria allegedly planning an attack on Israel, killing two Hezbollah terrorists and one Iranian; after two alleged Israeli drones crashed in Lebanon’s capital of Beirut on Sunday, drawing threats by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah that the organization would retaliate; and after drones – which Lebanon claimed to be Israeli – struck a base belonging to a Palestinian terrorist group in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley near the border with Syria early on Monday.

Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun called the alleged Israeli drone attacks a “declaration of war.”

“The attacks on Dahiyeh and the Qusaya region violate [UN Security Council] Resolution 1701, and its stipulations that bind Lebanon should also be binding for Israel,” Aoun told UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Jan Kubis.

“What happened resembles a declaration of war that entitles us to resort to our right to defend our sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity,” Aoun continued, adding that “We are people who seek peace, not war, but we do not accept to be threatened by anyone in any manner.”

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, a member of the security cabinet, dismissed Aoun’s statements, saying that he is a “puppet” of Hezbollah, which is in turn a puppet and proxy of Iran.

“Whoever allows Hezbollah to turn his country into a storehouse for rockets against Israel is responsible for the results,” Steinitz said. “A state that allows attacks on Israel is liable to face very difficult consequences.”

Steinitz said that Israel has taken the decision not only to strengthen itself against its enemies, but also to actively stop Iranian efforts to turn Syria into a launching pad for attacks against it.

“We will defend ourselves, and – wherever necessary – stop the Iranian army from attacking us,” he said.

Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency reported that “three hostile strikes” hit Lebanon’s eastern mountains near Qusaya after midnight on Monday “where the PFLP-GC has military posts,” adding that they responded with a barrage of anti-aircraft fire.

According to the report, the strikes caused material damage and no casualties.

Videos posted on social media showed explosions, as well as heavy anti-aircraft fire.

The alleged Israeli airstrike came amid tensions along the northern border considered to be among the worst since the 2006 Second Lebanon War.

“What happened in Syria and Lebanon last night is very, very dangerous,” Nasrallah said in a speech on Sunday night, adding that Netanyahu “would be mistaken if he thinks that this issue can go unnoticed. The time at which Israeli war jets used to strike targets in Lebanon while the usurping entity in Palestine is kept safe has ended. From tonight, I tell the Israeli army on the border, wait for our response, which may take place at any time on the border and beyond the border. Be prepared and wait for us.”


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