Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Moscow said that Israel will not remain idle as Iran expand its foot prints in Lebanon and Syria, and he is determined to do whatever is necessary to prevent this.
The statements comes a day after the spokesperson for Israeli Defense Force (IDF) Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis in a rare article in Lebanese opposition website Ahewar, warned that Israel would launch a war against Lebanon if Iran and Hezbollah continues to extend its influence in the country.
Arguing that Iran is building precession guided missile factory in Lebonon, Manelis said, “Lebanon has become - both by its own actions and omissions and by a blind eye from many members of the international community - one large missile factory.”
In a provocative language, Manelis said the Lebanon is becoming an Iranian branch and Hezbollah’s attempt is to take control of the state. He warned that this could lead to a third war between the two countries.
In 2006, Israel launched a war against Lebanon targeting Hezbollah forces. The 34-day military conflict, which killed more than one thousand Lebanese civilians, continued until ceasefire was brokered by United Nations.
“The future of Lebanese citizens is in the hands of a dictator who sits in Tehran,” Manelis wrote, adding “I think it is right to warn the residents of Lebanon of the Iranian game in their security and in their future.”
Manelis’ threat is a reflection of what had been long held by Israel, which considers growing Iranian influence in Lebanon and other parts of Middle East as a threat.
Reiterating the position, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, warning of Iranian influence in its backyard said, “when it comes to Lebanon, we are using all diplomatic leverages and other leverages to prevent the production of missiles, and the last thing I would want is to enter a third Lebanon war.
Earlier, warning the Lebanese citizens of war, Israeli Education Minister and Jewish Home Chairman MK Naftali Bennett noted "we're not interested in another war in the north, but they should make no mistake; for the State of Israel, the equation is clear: Hezbollah equals Lebanon and vice versa.”
Lebanon has been witnessing a spike in various covert activities by conducted by Israel. According to a report, Lebanese intelligence said that Israeli agents are behind the car bomb attack against a Hamas operative in the Lebanese port city of Sidon earlier this month. On January 14, Hamas official Mohammed Hamdan was wounded in an assassination attempt.
Last year, Lebanon witnessed political turmoil as country’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri flew to Riyadh and resigned citing Iranian interference. The resignation, according to political experts was orchestrated and directed by Saudi Arabia and Israel to target Lebanese President Michel Aoun, who is close to Hezbollah. Hariri later withdrew his resignation.