Netanyahu: all of Lebanon will pay in future war
Published Monday, August 27, 2012
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has sent a threatening message to the Lebanese government warning that Israel would respond to any "provocation" by Hezbollah and the state of Lebanon will pay the price, it was learned on Monday.
Haaretz reported on Monday that Netanyahu conveyed the message to Beirut through a Western diplomat he met in Jerusalem several weeks ago.
"As far as we're concerned, the Lebanese government is responsible for whatever happens in its jurisdiction," Netanyahu is reported to have said.
A senior official aware of the details of the meeting said Netanyahu sees Hezbollah as part of the Lebanese administration.
The prime minister reportedly clarified to Beirut that in the event of an attack by Hezbollah, the Israeli army would respond very strongly and not differentiate between Hezbollah and the state of Lebanon.
The prime minister's office declined to comment on the matter.
Although Netanyahu did not go into details, according to Haaretz any confrontation with Hezbollah would lead to strikes by the Israeli army against Lebanon's infrastructure and not just targets associated with Hezbollah.
The newspaper lists "power plants, air and sea ports and government buildings" as potential targets.
Netanyahu's warning comes amid Israeli preparation for several scenarios that might include a confrontation with Hezbollah, and heightened rhetoric between Israel and the Lebanese group.
Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak have explicitly said that Israel might attack convoys transferring Syrian chemical weapons to Hezbollah, although there have been no reports such transfers have been made.
Defense Ministry officials warned of reprisals by Hezbollah in the form of missile and rocket attacks on Israel.
Another scenario which experts envisage is that of an attack by Hezbollah on Israel following an Israeli or US strike against Iran's nuclear facilities.
Speaking at a Jerusalem Day rally, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said earlier this month that Hezbollah is capable of killing tens of thousands of Israelis with precise missiles launched at Israeli targets.
"Israel constitutes only a limited amount of targets," Nasrallah said.
"Hitting these targets with a limited number of missiles would make the lives of millions of Israelis hell on earth. Tens of thousands would be killed."
Nasrallah added that Hezbollah would also respond strongly if Israel carried out preemptive strikes on Lebanon.
"Iran is threatened but strong. Lebanon is threatened, but we have the courage and ability to react. If we are attacked, I want you to know that we won't await anyone's approval to react."