Netanyahu: We won't hold back responding to strikes from populated areas

The comments came as Netanyahu spoke at thememorial service for the fallen soldiers of the Second Lebanon War.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promises to do all he can to build a coalition in a press conference Monday 27.05.2019 (photo credit: NOAM REVKIN FENTON / FLASH 90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promises to do all he can to build a coalition in a press conference Monday 27.05.2019
(photo credit: NOAM REVKIN FENTON / FLASH 90)
It is time that the world understand the gravity of the threat posed by Iran and its proxy Hezbollah and act against them, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday, after Argentina designated Hezbollah a terrorist organization and ordered its assets frozen.
Speaking at a memorial for the fallen of the Second Lebanon War, the prime minister warned Hezbollah and Lebanon that there will be no “immunity” for anyone who fires missiles at Israel, “even if they hide in densely populated areas.”
Israel believes that tens of thousands of Hezbollah missiles in Lebanon are hidden either in, near or under homes in southern Lebanon.
“We will do everything possible to prevent harm to innocent people, but we will not grant immunity to rocket launchers and those who deploy them – not in Lebanon, not in Gaza or anywhere,” he said.
Netanyahu said that his government’s motto is, “If someone rises up to kill you, keep them from getting armed.”
The Lebanese government, he said, “is not objecting to the military entrenchment of Hezbollah on its territory. It will also bear the responsibility for any attack.”
Netanyahu warned that Israel will deploy “great force” if it must embark on another war in order to ensure victory. “Even if we have to stand alone against Iran and its entities we will,” he said.
In Buenos Aires, meanwhile, Argentina’s designation of Hezbollah as a terrorist entity coincided with a visit by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as Argentina marks the 25th anniversary of the deadly bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, in which 85 people died. Argentina blames Iran and Hezbollah for the attack.
Argentina also blames Hezbollah for an attack on the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires in 1992 that killed 29 people.
The Argentinean government’s Financial Information Unit ordered the freezing of assets of members of Hezbollah and the organization a day after the country created a new list for people and entities linked to terrorism. The designation of Hezbollah as a terrorist group was the first by any Latin American country.
“At present, Hezbollah continues to represent a current threat to security and the integrity of the economic and financial order of the Argentinean Republic,” the unit said in a statement.
There was no immediate comment from Hezbollah on the move.
Last year, Argentina froze the assets of 14 members of the Barakat clan, an extended family that officials say has close ties to Hezbollah.
US and Argentinean officials say Hezbollah operates in what is known as the tri-border area of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, where an illicit economy funds its operations elsewhere.
Argentina’s decision to freeze Hezbollah assets and join the United States in designating it a terrorist group is a significant win for US President Donald Trump’s administration as it seeks to increase pressure on Tehran and its proxies.
The financial impact on Hezbollah will likely be insignificant because it has other sources of funding, said Seth Jones, director of the Transnational Threats Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC.
“What the administration is hoping is that even taking little bites out of the apple right now may end up being significant in the long run if they can continue to freeze assets of organizations like Hezbollah in a range of different countries,” Jones said.
The United States, looking to revive a security relationship that suffered after a souring in diplomatic ties during the previous administration of president Cristina Fernandez, views Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri as a partner, particularly as traditional European allies have been slower to offer support amid US tensions with Iran, said Benjamin Gedan, director of the Wilson Center’s Argentina Project in Washington, DC.
“Clearly, they are not a good replacement for European allies, because they don’t engage Iran significantly, so they cannot put on the same commercial and economic pressure as the Europeans,” Gedan said of Washington’s allies in Latin America.
“But at least it gives the impression that the Trump administration is not standing alone,” he said.
Foreign Minister Israel Katz issued a statement welcoming “the important decision by Argentinean President Mauricio Macri.”
Katz said this is “part of the international struggle against terrorism, and especially against Hezbollah and its patron Iran.” He added that the publication of the decision on the 25th anniversary of the attack on the AMIA building “has special significance and importance.”
He said Israel will continue to lobby extensively to get Hezbollah designated as a terrorist organization around the world. On Wednesday, Netanyahu pressed a delegation of French parliamentarians to get Paris to follow Buenos Aires’ move.