Hezbollah: If Israel attacks Lebanon, Eilat won't be safe

Not an inch of Israel would be spared if an attack is launched, Hezbollah official warns amid tension over demarcation of maritime border.

By OREN KESSLER
July 21, 2011 04:53
2 minute read.
Hezbollah rocket launcher

Hezbollah rocket launcher 311 (R). (photo credit: Reuters)

 
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Not an inch of Israel would be spared – not even the Red Sea port of Eilat – if Israel attacked Lebanon, a Hezbollah representative warned Tuesday, amid growing tension between the neighboring states over the demarcation of sea borders in an energy-rich area of the Mediterranean.

“If Israel launches an attack, rockets of the resistance will cover all of Israel. Even the city of Eilat won’t be spared,” said MP Muhammad Raad of the Hezbollah-led Loyalty to the Resistance bloc, according to Beirut’s The Daily Star newspaper.

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The lawmaker also called for a cessation of funding to the UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon, investigating the 2005 assassination of ex-premier Rafik Hariri, which last month issued indictments against four Hezbollah operatives.

Hezbollah has denied any connection to Hariri’s death and dismissed the tribunal as a “US-Israeli project.”

Meanwhile, Lebanon is considering filing a complaint to the UN Security Council over Israel’s plans to delineate the maritime borders between the two countries, the newspaper reported. Muhammad Qabbani – head of the parliamentary public works committee and an MP from ex-prime minister Saad Hariri’s Future bloc – said Beirut may file a complaint to the council under binding or non-binding terms of its charter.

Qabbani said Israel had shown “aggression” toward its neighbor by drawing its borders based on Lebanon’s sea border agreement with Cyprus, despite the fact that Lebanon and Cyprus had labeled those borders temporary.



“The area which Israel claims as its exclusive economic zone and Israel’s [demarcated border with Cyprus] infringe on 860 square kilometers” of Lebanese territorial waters, he said. Israel and Lebanon have been officially at war since 1948, and have no diplomatic ties.

Matthew Levitt, counterterrorism and intelligence director at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, wrote on Wednesday that Hezbollah has every reason to fear the details of Hariri’s assassination coming to light.

“The inclusion of [Mustafa] Badreddine – cousin and brother-in-law to Imad Mughniyah, who was chief of the Hezbollah external operations branch known as the Islamic Jihad Organization (IJO) until his 2008 assassination by a car bomb in Damascus – has the group on edge, and with good reason.”

“The exposure of evidence tying someone as senior as Badreddine to the murder of Lebanon’s leading Sunni figure would severely undermine Hezbollah’s image – particularly the group’s longstanding claim that it is first and foremost part of the fabric of Lebanese society, and only secondarily a Shi’ite or pro-Iranian movement,” Levitt wrote for the Institute’s PolicyWatch series.

“Hezbollah is now the dominant political force in Lebanon, and the odds that the indicted suspects will be arrested and handed over for trial are slim to none,” he added.

“Regardless of Hezbollah’s response, then, preparations for a trial will likely be underway by fall, whether Badreddine and his accused co-conspirators are present or not.”

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