TEL AVIV – Israel has sent messages to Iran via diplomatic channels in Europe warning the regime that it “will not tolerate” expanding Hezbollah’s arsenal with weapons factories in southern Lebanon.
An unnamed diplomatic source in Europe said Israel had asked him and other representatives from countries that have ties with Iran to convey the message that Jerusalem would not stand by while Tehran’s proxy Hezbollah establishes underground factories to produce advanced rockets, Hebrew-language media reported.
Such weapons have until now been smuggled through Syria but the Israeli Air Force strikes weapons convoys bound for Hezbollah.
A senior Israeli official confirmed the claim and said Jerusalem has stressed to the international community that Iranian support for Hezbollah must become a priority when dealing with Iran.
“The Lebanese government cannot address this issue and thus the address for dealing with it is found with other forces that have influence over the issue,” the official said, according to Haaretz.
On Friday, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah warned that “hundreds of thousands of fighters” would assist Syria and Lebanon in a war with Israel.
“The Israeli enemy should know that if it launches an attack on Syria or Lebanon, it’s unknown whether the fighting will stay just between Lebanon and Israel, or Syria and Israel,” Hassan Nasrallah said, adding that a future conflict would be “very costly for Israel.”
“I’m not saying countries would intervene directly — but it would open the door for hundreds of thousands of fighters from all around the Arab and Islamic world to participate in this fight — from Iraq, Yemen, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan,” he said.
A day prior, Israel charged Hezbollah with violating United Nations Security Council resolutions by constructing a string of military observation points under the guise of installations belonging to an environmental NGO.
“Hezbollah is using an environmental organization as a cover for activities along the border with Israel,” Israel’s military intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Hertzl Halevi said at the Herzliya Conference.
IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot told the same conference on Wednesday that Hezbollah remains Israel’s primary nemesis.
Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon told the UNSC that Hezbollah was engaged in a “dangerous provocation” and urged the council to demand that Lebanon dismantle the observation posts in adherence to UN Security Council Resolution 1701, passed at the end of the Second Lebanon War in August 2006.
The UN on Friday denied the claims, with UNIFIL, the body’s interim force in southern Lebanon, reporting that it “has not observed any unauthorized armed persons at the locations or found any basis to report a violation of Resolution 1701.”
On Sunday, Breitbart Jerusalem reported that former deputy defense minister Ephraim Sneh told the Herzliya conference that harming Lebanese infrastructure, as per the current IDF policy, is the wrong way to respond to Hezbollah rockets, since “Iran does not give a damn if Lebanon’s infrastructure is destroyed.”