TEL AVIV — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday said while Sunday’s exchange of fire with the Hezbollah terror group was tense, Israel achieved all its goals.
“We endured several tense days on many fronts. We could have started the week completely differently, but we acted with a combination of decisiveness and sagacity, and we achieved all of our goals,” he said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting.
“I defined three main goals for the IDF and the security arms in the following order: First of all, to stop and prevent the Iranian nuclear project. Second, to prevent Iran from supplying our enemies and its proxies, such as Hezbollah and others, with precision weapons that endanger us. And third, to prevent Iran and its proxies from entrenching on our borders. In effect, we are acting vis-à-vis all of these goals, in part openly and a considerable part covertly. We are determined to maintain the security of Israel,” the prime minister said.
On Sunday, Hezbollah fired several anti-tank guided missiles at an army base and struck a military APC in northern Israel in an apparent reprisal for an Israeli attack in Syria that saw two of the terror group’s operatives killed. No one was harmed in the attack.
Israel retaliated by firing at around a hundred Hezbollah targets inside Lebanon.
Netanyahu also announced another trilateral summit to be held in Jerusalem with senior officials from Israel, the US and Russia, to discuss Iran’s military presence in Syria.
Netanyahu also thanked President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for taking the “important” step of ensuring that the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control place the Jammal Trust Bank, which provides Hezbollah with most of its funds, on its list of terrorist organizations.
He also lauded two top Gulf diplomats for condemning Hezbollah’s aggression and supporting Israel’s right to respond to Sunday’s attack, saying the move is almost “Messianic.”
“I welcome the remarks by the foreign ministers of Bahrain and the UAE against Hezbollah’s aggression. They condemned the helplessness of Lebanon, which allows the Hezbollah terrorist organization to operate from its territory against Israel,” he said.
“This sounds like the Messianic times, but it shows the fundamental change taking place in the Middle East. The Arab world also understands that the Iranian aggression endangers not only Israel, but the entire region as well. I call on additional countries to come out against the aggression of Iran and its proxies,” he added.
Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, who has in the past expressed support for Israel’s right to self defense, slammed the Lebanese government for allowing Sunday’s attack to take place.
“The aggression of one state on another is something prohibited by international law,” he wrote on Twitter.
“A state standing by, watching battles taking place on its borders and putting its people at risk, is a state that greatly neglects its responsibilities,” he added.
In a separate tweet, Khalifa also quoted Lebanese Christian politician Samir Geagea as saying it is “unacceptable” for Hezbollah to jeopardize Lebanon in facing a war not of its own choosing.
United Arab Emirates Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash also tweeted: “Our hearts are with Lebanon and the Lebanese people this evening.”
Gargash said the Lebanese suffer from “decisions taken by a single player and the consequences,” apparently referring to Hezbollah.
Meanwhile, in Saudi Arabia, journalist Abdul Hameed Al-Ghabin asked in a post: “Where will we stand if Israeli forces invade Lebanon to root out Hezbollah?”
“The landscape has changed completely since 2006,” he wrote in reference to the Second Lebanon War, “and with it, many concepts and values have changed regarding Israel and Hezbollah. The first proved to be a state of peace, and the second is nothing but the ugly face of Iran.”
“Most of the Arab people will stand with Israel,” he wrote.