Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman brushed aside continued threats by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, telling Army Radio on Tuesday that “a dog that barks doesn’t bite.”“I advise him to continue sitting there in his bunker, making these small cameos. I don’t intend to have any kind of public argument with him,” Liberman said. The Shi’ite terrorist leader on Tuesday continued to threaten Israel, declaring Hezbollah will have “no redlines in the next war with Israel.”
In an interview with Iran’s Channel 1 News, Nasrallah reiterated previous threats regarding Hezbollah’s alleged capabilities to strike Israel’s nuclear facility in the southern town of Dimona and the Haifa ammonia storage tank, which is now slated for closure.“Israel should think a million times before waging any war with Lebanon,” he said.“Hezbollah is prepared for any threat. We are not advocates of war. We are in the defense position,” Hezbollah’s chief noted, adding that “in the face of Israel’s threats to destroy Lebanon’s infrastructure, we will not abide by redlines, especially regarding Haifa’s ammonia and the nuclear reactor in Dimona. Hezbollah possesses the full courage for this.”When asked if his Iranian- backed Shi’ite terrorist organization would recognize the State of Israel in the event of a peace agreement with the Palestinians, Nasrallah indicated that animosity would remain Hezbollah’s underlying sentiment toward the Jewish state.“Even if there is a peace deal with Israel, it won’t remove the terrorist label and the occupation from it,” he told the Iranian station.“Israel is lying when it comes to the two-state solution, and will be deceiving the Palestinians if they agree to it,” he added.In remarks to Iran’s IRIB on Monday night, ahead of a twoday international conference on Palestinians in Tehran, Nasrallah reassured the Palestinians that they have the backing of strong countries.“The most important result and message of this action for the Palestinian nation is that you have not been left alone and that an important and powerful country in the region supports you,” he said.Nasrallah’s remarks came after he called on Israel to dismantle its nuclear reactor in Dimona, warning that Hezbollah missiles are capable of hitting the facility. Following those threats, Minister of Intelligence and Atomic Energy Yisrael Katz warned that, “if Nasrallah dares to fire at Israel’s home front or at its national infrastructure, all of Lebanon will be hit.”Nasrallah made a similar threat against Haifa’s ammonia tank last year, saying that a missile hitting the facility could have the effect of a nuclear bomb. Earlier in February, a Haifa court ordered the tank closed, citing the security threat.Speaking in a televised speech commemorating Hezbollah’s slain leaders, Nasrallah said that Hezbollah sees Israel’s emptying of the ammonia tank as a sign that it fears the Lebanese Shi’ite group.“I call on Israel not only to empty the ammonia tank in Haifa, but also to dismantle the nuclear reactor in Dimona. Our military capabilities will strike Israel and its settlements,” he warned.In 2006 Israel fought against Hezbollah in the 34-day Second Lebanon War. Since then, hostilities have been limited to occasional firing across the border and reported air strikes by Israel against Hezbollah leaders and military equipment in Syria, where the group is fighting in support of President Bashar Assad.Last week Maj.-Gen. Michael Beary, the head of mission and force commander of UNIFIL, chaired a regular tripartite meeting with senior officials from the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) at the UN position at Ras al-Naqoura.Tripartite meetings have been held regularly under the auspices of UNIFIL since the end of the 2006 war and is an essential conflict-management mechanism between the two parties.According to a press release, the discussions during the meeting focused on issues related to the implementation of UNIFIL’s mandate under UN Security Council resolution 1701, air and ground violations, the situation along the Blue Line and its ongoing visible marking, as well as the issue of withdrawal of Israeli forces from northern Ghajar.“The parties acknowledged the important stabilizing role played by the tripartite forum in the context of the cessation of hostilities and the prevailing regional volatility,” the release read.Beary called “for a concerted effort by all parties to do more to preserve the integrity of the Blue Line,” adding that both sides must do their “utmost” to restrain from undertaking any activities in sensitive areas along the line.“Prior coordination through UNIFIL’s liaison channels is the only practical way to avoid tensions and incidents in this context,” he added.Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.
Israel completes advanced testing of mid-range missile interceptor designed to defend against Hezbollah (credit: REUTERS)