BEIRUT: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the Lebanese government that Israel would strike the country if Hezbollah provokes the Jewish state, Haaretz reported Monday.
The local daily said Netanyahu relayed this message to the Lebanese government “through a Western diplomat he met in Jerusalem several weeks ago.”
According to a senior official who was close to the meeting between Netanyahu and the U.S. official, the prime minister sees Hezbollah as part of the Lebanese government, therefore if the resistance party should attack Israel, Netanyahu said the Israeli army would “strike back forcefully – without differentiating between Hezbollah and the state of Lebanon.”
“As far as we’re concerned, the Lebanese government is responsible for whatever happens in its jurisdiction,” Netanyahu was quoted by the source as telling the Western diplomat.
Netanyahu’s message comes after Hezbollah's Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah earlier this month vowed to turn the Jewish state into a hell on earth if Lebanon was attacked.
In a speech marking Jerusalem day on Aug. 17, Nasrallah addressed Israel, saying: “War with Lebanon would be very, very, very costly.”
“We know of certain targets that can be hit by a small number of rockets that would turn the lives of hundreds of thousands of Zionists into hell,” he added.
Nasrallah also noted that the rockets are already directed at those targets and are ready to be launched should Israel attack Lebanon, saying his party would not wait for permission to respond.