binyamin netanyahu thumbs up248.88.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu quickly distanced himself on Saturday night from comments Minister-without-Portfolio Yossi Peled (Likud) made earlier in the day that another military conflict with Hizbullah is inevitable.
Within hours of Peled's comments at an event in Beersheba, the Prime Minister's Office issued a statement saying that Netanyahu has made clear that Israel "is not looking for any confrontation with anyone. Israel is interested in peace."
Peled, a former OC Northern Command, said that "without a doubt we are heading for another round [of fighting] in the North. No one knows when, but it's clear that it will happen. We did not know that the Second Lebanon War was going to break out."
Peled's comments came some three-and-a-half years after the Second Lebanon War against Hizbullah.
Also on Saturday, The Washington Post
reported that Hizbullah had moved long-range missile launch pads into both northern Lebanon and its eastern Bekaa Valley, and that there was little the UN presence in the area could do to stop a war between Israel and the guerrilla group.
Quoting Middle East analysts, the Washington Post
report went on to say Hizbullah launch sites now likely extended to the north of Beirut.
The IDF believes that Hizbullah has obtained Iranian-made Fajr missiles, either the Fajr 3 or Fajr 5. The Fajr 3 is 5 meters long and can carry a 45-kg. warhead.
Lebanese MP Marwan Hamadeh was also quoted in the report, noting the influence of Iran and the United States on the regional conflict. "With Iran backing and supplying Hizbullah and the United States backing and supplying Israel, the battlefield is Lebanon," the anti-Hizbullah lawmaker reportedly said.
"This is where the Iranian missiles sit, and this is where the Israeli air force can reach," he added.
Meanwhile, Hizbullah on Friday denounced remarks made a day earlier by French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner.
"Israel is our friend, and if there was a threat to Lebanon, it will only come from a military adventure carried out by Hizbullah in the best interest of Iran," Kouchner was reported to have told the visiting Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri in Paris.
According to a report in Lebanon's Daily Star
, Hizbullah strongly condemned the remarks and said, "We see the clear [influence] of the Israeli voice and a complete disregard of the history and legacy of France in fighting aggression and occupation.
"This stance [by Kouchner] is an attempt to absolve the Israeli enemy [of guilt] and cover its repeated violations of Lebanese sovereignty," the statement continued. "This constitutes protection of the Israeli occupier and an encouragement for it to continue with its violations."