Defense source: Lebanese punished Hizbullah for war

Says group will likely be accused of "trying to topple an elected government" if it now pursues conflict with Israel.

lebanese elections newspaper 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
lebanese elections newspaper 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
Hizbullah failed to win Lebanon's elections on Sunday largely because of widespread dissatisfaction among the Lebanese people over the Second Lebanon War, a defense source said on Monday. "For the entire time since the end of the war [in August 2006], Hizbullah said the conflict strengthened it, since it was the only one to stand up against Israel. These elections prove that the Lebanese didn't buy that claim," the source said. "The bottom line is Hizbullah was punished for the war," he added. Lebanese citizens were highly aware of the economic costs and other damage incurred to Lebanon by the conflict, the source said. "Lebanon said 'no' to Iran. The elections results are bad news for Syria, too. These parties paid a price for past aggressions," the source continued. This idea was echoed by Labor MK Amir Peretz, who was defense minister during the war. Peretz said Monday the election results proved the Lebanese people realized that aiding Hizbullah was not in their best interests. "As time passes, the success of Israel's strategy in the war in advancing Israel's interest becomes clearer," Peretz said. Rejecting fears that Hizbullah was more likely to attack Israel following an elections defeat, the defense source said Hizbullah would likely be accused of "trying to topple an elected government" if it now pursued conflict with Israel. The elections in Lebanon could also have a knock-on effect in Gaza, where Hamas's popularity is dropping with Gazans dissatisfied with the current situation, the source argued. "Hamas may now be thinking, look what happened in Lebanon. If we go for another democratic process in Gaza, we may not receive the support we had before," he said.