(March 13, 2019 / Israel Hayom) The exposure of a Hezbollah network on the border between Israel and Syria is a “message for Hezbollah, the president of Syria and the entire international community,” Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said on Wednesday.
Speaking to Army Radio, Erdan said that a few months ago, Israel had launched an operation to eradicate Hezbollah’s cross-border tunnels in northern Israel, and that Syrian President Bashar Assad “could lose stability in Syria if he allows Hezbollah to entrench itself on the Israeli border.”
Erdan went on to say that “the legitimacy of the Israeli strikes in Syria is part of its coordination with Russia. For Hezbollah, this is not a time at which it wants a conflict with Israel. Our battle against them is being waged diplomatically and in people’s minds.”
“Today, we presented the world with [Hezbollah’s] involvement in terrorism on the Israeli border. That pushes Hezbollah into embarrassment and silence, not toward a conflict with us. If we get into a conflict, the residents of Lebanon and Syria will pay the price. They [Hezbollah] are the ones who will have to explain themselves to the international community,” said Erdan.
Strategic Affairs Minister Yisrael Katz addressed the exposure of the Hezbollah network in an interview to Kan radio.
“The organization there began once the Syrian civil war was mostly over. We are waging an ongoing battle against attempts by Iran and Hezbollah to gain a foothold in Syria and establish a terrorist front against Israel in the Golan Heights. We will not hesitate to take any action necessary to prevent threats,” said Katz.
Yisrael Beytenu leader and former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in a tweet: “A meal for the IDF for its intelligence work in the north, and shame on the government and the cabinet for its ineffectiveness in the south.”
Former GOC Northern Command Maj. Gen. (res.) Amiram Levin told Kan Radio that the news about the Hezbollah organization on the border was “a tempest in a teapot. It looks like the IDF is being used to set a political agenda. There’s nothing new here. Hezbollah tried to establish itself and do all sort of things. There is nothing new and no new threat here.”
Knesset member Ofer Shelah of the Blue and White Party, and a member of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, said “Hezbollah’s foothold on the Golan Heights is more proof of [Israeli Prime Minister] Netanyahu’s political failure. The IDF is fighting a successful battle against Iran, but without a diplomatic presence, [Russian President Vladimir] Putin is arranging things in Syria with Iran and its allies, not with us. In the north, like the south, Bibi is afraid to take the offense, and we are paying the price.”