Monday, February 19, 2018

Hezbollah Leader Threatens Israel: 'We Will Open Fire' On Disputed Israeli Offshore Oil And Gas Operations, Israeli PM Netanyahu To Iran: Don't Test Israel's Resolve






During a televised address in Beirut on Friday Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah once again warned Israel to back off its claims over disputed oil and gas field just off the southern Lebanese coast, threatening that Hezbollah could "disable [Israel’s offshore oil installations] within hours."
"If you prevent us, we prevent you; if you open fire at us, we will open fire," Nasrallah threatened. 
The dispute over the eastern Mediterranean gas field goes back to January 2017, but blew up starting in late January of this year as it has been put up for tender by Lebanon and is expected to be developed by an international consortium of energy companies. 
However, as we reported at the time Israel has aggressively pushed for major sectors of the field to be internationally recognized as lying within its rightful territorial waters, going so far as to warn "respectable" companies from participating in the tender, which would be a "major mistake".
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in late January, "They [Lebanon] are announcing a tender on the gas field, including Block 9, which is ours by any definition," and Lebanese actions "very, very challenging and provocative conduct here."


Meanwhile Nasrallah's Friday speech made the gas dispute the central theme, and even warned Israel's American backers to not intervene. Appealing directly to Israeli leadership, the Hezbollah leader said, "If you prevent us, we prevent you; if you open fire at us, we will open fire."

Nasrallah responded in his Friday speech as follows:
America is not an honest broker. And you have to deal with the American medator as an attorney for Israel. It's not three parties inolved - the Lebanese are negotiating with the Israelis who are being represented by Tillerson... but the Americans don't care about Lebanon's interests at all, they care only about the interests of the Zionists, and they want to deny us the maximum that they can from our waters and our resources in favor of the Zionists. 

It goes without saying that the Lebanese gas dispute now involving Hezbollah as a major player, along with Israel's recent direct confrontation over Syria and the downing of the Israeli F-16 means tensions in the region are set to explode. 








Israeli PM Netanyahu to Iran: Don't test Israel's resolve



The nuclear deal with Iran has emboldened Tehran to become increasingly aggressive in the Middle East, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday, warning that Iran should "not test Israel's resolve" as he showed off what he said was part of a downed Iranian drone.


Netanyahu said of Iran that if the U.S. decides to scrap the 2015 nuclear deal, which he has long opposed, "I think they'll do nothing."


Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir weighed in, saying the Iran nuclear deal "has flaws that need to be fixed." He said that, among other things, the inspection system needs to be more intrusive.
"The world has to extract a price from Iran for its aggressive behavior," he added.
Netanyahu told world leaders, diplomats and defense officials at the conference that the deal was similar to the infamous 1938 "Munich Agreement" that Western powers signed with Adolf Hitler in an attempt to stave off war in Europe, which became synonymous with appeasement.

"The concessions to Hitler only emboldened the Nazi regime," he said. "Rather than choosing a path that might have prevented war... those well-intentioned leaders made a wider war inevitable and far more costly."
Similarly, he said, the Iranian nuclear agreement has "unleashed a dangerous Iranian tiger in our region and beyond."
Declaring that Iran's "brazenness hit new highs," he theatrically held up a fragment of what he said was an Iranian drone shot down last week by Israel in Israeli airspace and challenged Zarif.
"Mr. Zarif, do you recognize this? You should, it's yours," Netanyahu said. "You can take back with you a message to the tyrants of Tehran — do not test Israel's resolve!"


Netanyahu has repeatedly warned that he will not accept a permanent Iranian military presence in postwar Syria, fearing that Iran and its Shiite allies would turn their attention to Israel.


Netanyahu told the audience that destroying the drone was a demonstration of Israel's resolve.
"Israel will not allow Iran's regime to put a noose of terror around our neck," he said. "We will act if necessary, not just against Iran's proxies that are attacking us but against Iran itself."



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