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Israel Warns Hezbollah, ‘Sees Lebanese Government as Responsible for Everything’

December 17, 2018 Peace and Conflict

President Rivlin with GOC IDF Northern Command at northern border. Photo Courtesy of Mark Neiman (Israel GPO)

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin had a stern warning to not just the Hezbollah terrorist group, but to the Lebanese government that tolerates them, against the backdrop of Hezbollah’s terror tunnels into Israel. “Hezbollah’s offensive tunnels into Israeli territory are a clear violation of Israeli sovereignty. Hezbollah, which pretends to be the ‘shield of Lebanon’ will, in the end, lead to its destruction,” said Rivlin in comments to soldiers in the north on Sunday and published in an Israeli press release.

“We see the Lebanese government as responsible for everything that happens in the country and we warn Hezbollah not to subordinate Lebanon to Iran’s agenda, or to use Lebanon as a base for attacking Israel.”

While the president of Israel is more of a ceremonial position with little legal power in the country, the role nonetheless acts as an important voice on behalf of the country. Rivlin, in addition to his current place as president, previously served as the speaker of the Israeli Knesset, or parliament.

Rivlin used his diplomatic power on Monday to try to increase the number of voices opposed to Hezbollah’s terror tunnel scheme. While receiving the credentials of Cote d’Ivoire Ambassador Vhangha Patrice Koffi, Rivlin highlighted the African diplomat’s own experience with the tunnels, per another Israeli press release.

“I know you toured the northern border recently and saw for yourself the attack tunnels built by Hezbollah and funded by Iran,” said Rivlin to Ambassador Koffi. “We hope that you will speak out in international organizations against their terrorist policies.”

Israel is in the midst of Operation Northern Shield, which aims to destroy the northern tunnel threat and has already found four tunnels stretching from Lebanon to Israel.

The tunnels were apparently intended by Hezbollah to be used to launch large-scale terror attacks on Israel’s north, including on the civilian population. Rivlin referenced those innocents in his comments to the troops serving in the area of Operation Northern Shield on Sunday.

“I came here to thank you and to support you on behalf of all Israelis. I congratulate the Chief of Staff and all of you—combat troops, combat support and technology units—who are working here day and night to negate this threat and to ensure that the residents of the north can sleep in peace.”

However, Rivlin’s message was ultimately meant for more than just Israel. “The international community must understand that Israel will do what is necessary to defend itself, and that Israel demands international involvement in enforcing United Nations Security Council resolutions,” said Rivlin on Sunday.

“Our technological capabilities, the quality of our intelligence and the excellent men and women have produced an outstanding breakthrough by any measure. There is no other army in the world that is able to achieve such results. The entire IDF is ready and willing to respond, and the current operation proves the importance of such readiness for any scenario we may face.”

(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, December 17, 2018)

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