Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Israel Warns Macron: Israel Could Strike Hezbollah Rocket Factories In The 'Heart Of Beirut'

Rivlin warns Macron: Israel could strike Hezbollah rocket factories in Beirut

President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday told his French counterpart that Israel could be forced to strike the Hezbollah terror group’s rocket-building operations “in the heart of Beirut,” a development he warned would drag Lebanon into a punishing regional war that neither side wants.
Rivlin made the remarks during a meeting with France’s President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysée Palace in Paris during an official visit to mark 70 years of diplomatic relations between Israel and France.
“If we are threatened from Lebanon, we will not stand by,” Rivlin told Macron, according a statement from his office. “Hezbollah is creating facilities to produce and convert precision-guided missiles in the heart of Beirut under civilian cover and with Iranian support.”

“This threatens Israeli security and could force us to respond, dragging the region into escalation that could badly harm Lebanon.”
The last major conflict between Israel and Lebanon was the 2006 Second Lebanon War.
Rivlin stressed that Israel holds the Lebanese government responsible for all military activity in its territory and urged Macron to use France’s diplomatic clout to convince Beirut to contain the Iran-backed Hezbollah.
“Lebanon bears sovereign responsibility for all Hezbollah actions,” he said. “France is a power with decisive influence in our region and it is vital that she understands that Hezbollah is part of the Lebanese system. I expect France to exert whatever pressure necessary on the Lebanese government to display its sovereignty and rid itself of Iranian and Hezbollah involvement that could lead us to war.”

His warnings came as Israel went increasingly public about its airstrikes in Syria which, it says, have destroyed thousands of Hezbollah and Iranian targets in hundreds of missions in recent years.
Israel maintains that Hezbollah, with Iranian assistance, is working to set up factories in Beirut to produce precision-guided missiles it will ultimately direct against the Jewish state.
“We say clearly to the Lebanese government and to its allies around the world: Hezbollah’s aggression must be stopped before we find ourselves dragged into a conflict that neither Lebanon nor Israel want,” said Rivlin.
Macron is scheduled to visit Lebanon in early February, the statement from Rivlin’s office said.

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