Smadar Perry: How Lebanon sees Israel’s war threats/Ynetnews: Lebanon will be blown back to the ‘Stone Age,’ Israeli Minister Katz warns/التهديدات الإسرائيلية للبنان وكيف يراها لبنان

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Lebanon will be blown back to the ‘Stone Age,’ Minister Katz warns/
وزير إسرائيلي يهدد باعادة لبنان إلى القرون الحجرية

Attila Somfalvi, Alexandra Lukash/Ynetnews/February 04/18

Echoing messages conveyed to Iran and Hezbollah by the prime minister and IDF spokesperson, the transportation minister tells Ynet that ‘Israel has set a red line—it won’t allow Lebanon to become a factory for the production of precision-guided missiles for Iran’; Education Minister Bennett clarifies: ‘If missiles are fired from Lebanon, Nasrallah will become Lebanon’s destroyer.’
Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz on Sunday warned Hezbollah that Lebanon would go back to “the Stone Age” and maybe even to “the age of cavemen” if it turned into an Iranian factory of precision-guided weapons.
Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz on Sunday warned Hezbollah that Lebanon would go back to “the Stone Age” and maybe even to “the age of cavemen” if it turned into an Iranian factory of precision-guided weapons.
Echoing warnings issued by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and IDF Spokesperson Ronen Manelis as to the growing Iranian involvement in Lebanon and the missile factories being built by the Iranians in the country, Katz clarified in an interview to the Ynet studio that “Israel has set a red line—it won’t allow Lebanon to become a factory for the production of precision-guided missiles for Iran
“We have worked to prevent this from happening in Syria through Iranian weapon smuggling, and we are now making it clear that we won’t allow Iran to build factories for the production of precision-guided missiles or for the conversion of missiles on Lebanese soil. This has been clarified in talks with Russia too, and certainly with the United States and other European countries, as messages aimed at preventing a war and a conflict we have no interest in. We are making our red line clear,” said Katz, a member of Israel’s Political-Security Cabinet.
Asked whether Lebanon and the region’s other countries had the ability to meet Israel’s red lines, Katz replied: “Iran is working to turn Lebanon into an advanced post against Israel and has basically taken Lebanon hostage through Hezbollah by implementing its aggressive trends. On the other side, we have Israel with its abilities—and our abilities must be clear to prevent it.
“We are being very clear. If an open, comprehensive conflict develops as a result of Hezbollah’s aggression, we will act very firmly, much more than we did in 2006. Not a single target in Lebanon will be immune, and any infrastructure used both by Hezbollah and for military purposes will be hit. Lebanon will go back many, many years, some say to the Stone Age and others say to the age of cavemen.”
Asked whether Israel had any intelligence on an Iranian desire to launch a war, Katz replied: “We are receiving intelligence that Iran is working to make the front more dangerous. It’s trying to both entrench itself in Syria and arm Lebanon with accurate missiles.”
Moving on to the humanitarian situation in Gaza, which he referred to as “grave,” Katz said: “There are some 2 million people there, and the conflict between Abu Mazen (Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas) and Hamas is definitely making the situation worse. We can say that it’s not our businesses, but the reality is that Israel is responsible for what is happening in Gaza because of the siege. I have been suggesting a strategic separation move for a long time now—to build an island, a seaport and international facilities for water desalination and electricity. Not to reward Hamas, but reward Israel, to isolate it and free it from its responsibility.
“We are already paying the price,” Katz argued. “The defense establishment is largely dealing with ways to prevent the sewer flooding, water salinization, prevention of hunger and diseases. My suggestion allows us to lift the siege in a security-controlled manner while maintaining security, to give Gaza an economic connection to the world, to free ourselves from our responsibility for the situation there and hand it over to the world.”
Katz said he was unable to confirm the New York Times report that Israel had attacked Islamic State targets in Sinai more than 100 times to assist Egypt in its battle against the jihadist organization, but stated that “in general, Israel and Egypt share a deep interest to prevent an ISIS entrenchment in Sinai. We must understand that after being defeated in Iraq and Syria, ISIS began flowing into Sinai, and it has Israel—and definitely Egypt—in its sights too.
“Naturally, there is intelligence cooperation and there will likely be other forms of cooperation to target ISIS and prevent it from making good on its threats,” Katz added. “We must also remember that ISIS attacked Eilat and the Negev. Israel definitely sees it as a threat it has to deal with alongside the Iranian threat from the north and from Gaza.”
‘Israel won’t wait for the enemy to reach the fence’
Education Minister Naftali Bennett, another member of the Political-Security Cabinet,” also addressed the growing tensions with Lebanon in an interview at the Ynet studio.
“I think that was isn’t a necessary and inevitable thing,” he said. “It depends on both sides, but on us too. The clearer we are in our words and actions, clarifying that we won’t allow threats on our borders, we will be able to prevent the third Lebanon war.
Asked who is expected to stop a war from breaking out, Bennett replied: “We only trust ourselves. At the moment, there’s a developing threat, the missile precision project in Hezbollah’s state of Lebanon, and we won’t let it happen. I must explain that the potential damage of tens of thousands of precision-guided missiles, God forbid, isn’t far and isn’t fundamentally different from the potential damage of a nuclear bomb. And just like we wouldn’t let Hezbollah acquire a nuclear bomb, we can’t let them acquire tens of thousands of accurate missiles that will hit us tomorrow.
“After the Second Lebanon War, (Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan) Nasrallah said that had he known how Israel would respond, he wouldn’t have kidnapped the soldiers. So we’re doing Nasrallah a favor and making it very clear that if a war develops, God forbid, and missiles are fired on us from Lebanon, Nasrallah will become Lebanon’s destroyer and the southern part of the country will sustain a critical blow because of his actions. There, we’re saying it.”
As for the report that Israel was assisting Egypt in its war against ISIS, Bennett said: “I have no intention of confirming or denying the reports. Let me just say this: The State of Israel won’t wait for its enemy to reach the fence. We are working against our enemies far away from the fence, so that the threat won’t reach our door. We are not prevented and are not restricting ourselves from operating anywhere, and the terrorists targeting Israel are at risk anywhere around the globe.”
Addressing the battle between religious-Zionist rabbis and the chief of staff over women’s service in the IDF and Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu’s declaration that “war is brewing,” Bennett insisted that “there is no war with the IDF, absolutely not. The IDF is us, and we are the IDF. The overwhelming majority of the Religious Zionism movement is part of the IDF and serves in the IDF. There is some criticism. There are ways to voice criticism, and it’s perfectly fine, but we must always respect the IDF and respect the rabbis too.”

How Lebanon sees Israel’s war threats/كيف يرى لبنان التهديدات الإسرائيلية
Smadar Perry/Ynetnews/February 04/18
Analysis: Over the years, we have gotten used to seeing Lebanon as a war games field; no one asks for permission to fly IAF planes and UAVs on their way to hit Syrian targets, according to foreign reports. Suddenly, Lebanon is acquiring the status of a responsible sovereign state, and the Lebanese are flexing their muscles before signing oil-drilling contracts in disputed territory.
The flagship trio leading Lebanon—the Maronite Christian president, the Sunni Muslim prime minister and the Shiite Muslim parliament speaker—is having trouble deciding whether the flood of threats from Israel is aimed at revealing contingency plans for a military operation, or that the only purpose of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and senior IDF officers is to intimidate.
And we haven’t mentioned Hezbollah, which is pulling all the strings in Lebanon and has no real interest in a third round of destruction and ruin. After 2,000 dead fighters in Syria and hundreds of disabled and wounded, as well as a painful cut in the Iranian funding budget, Hezbollah has more urgent matters to deal with.
As far as the leading trio in Beirut is concerned, when Lieberman talks about ‘boots on the ground,’ he is pointing to a hot summer
The Lieberman-style figurative promise, that in the next round there will be no images of Lebanese residents on the beach while Israelis are hiding in bomb shelters, led Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah to announce that “Israel also knows that it will pay a heavy price in the next war.” As far as the leading trio in Beirut is concerned, when Lieberman talks about “boots on the ground,” he is pointing to a hot summer.
We must pay attention to the fact that the top echelon in Beirut has failed to issue any denials concerning the Iranian plan to improve Hezbollah’s abilities by building factories to produce precision-guided missiles. Either they’re not in on the secret or they’re choosing to keep quiet. After Israel destroyed the Iranian military industry infrastrctures in Syria, according to foreign reports, the Revolutionary Guards are moving the effort to Lebanon without asking the leadership for permission.
The truth is that the amounts of missiles in Hezbollah’s possession even before the construction of new manufacturing houses in southern Lebanon are alarming. Nasrallah is getting the media, especially the foreign media, to do the work for him. We are already talking about thousands of missiles capable of hitting precise targets in Haifa and Tel Aviv and reaching all the way to Eilat. The amounts of inaccurate missiles, medium-range missiles and quadcopters are much bigger. Our censorship won’t allow an exposure.
And there’s a timing issue: The Lebanese parliament elections will be held on the first week of May. The term of the parliament, where Hezbollah has the right to veto important decisions, has been extended repeatedly for the past 10 years due to security issues, the civil war in Syria and internal conflicts. Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri is now swearing that the elections will be held on May 6 and that he has no intention of postponing them, no matter what. Exactly one week later, on May 12, US President Donald Trump will have to decide about the fate of the nuclear agreements with Iran. Trump keeps tweeting that he won’t be a rubber stamp.
From the Lebanese side, that week in May is expected to be dramatic. Officials at the Kirya Base in Tel Aviv are predicting that Hezbollah could reach a 70-percent majority in the parliament, pending any “black surprises.” As far as Israel is concerned, a Hezbollah takeover of Lebanon’s state institutions and decision-making process has to be curbed. How can it be curbed? It doesn’t take a wild imagination to figure it out.
What exactly can Hariri do to stop Hezbollah from building up strength with Iranian backing? Absolutely nothing. His majority party will keep working with Hezbollah’s representatives in the parliament, and Lebanon’s parliament is meaningless to begin with. All the worthless attempts to collect Hezbollah’s weapons have been scornfully rejected. Nasrallah is defending Lebanon from the Zionist enemy, and the terror organization’s fighters are his fighters against Israel, just like they fought for Bashar Assad’s survival in Syria.
Over the years, we have gotten used to seeing Lebanon as a war games field. No one asks for permission to fly Air Force planes and UAVs on their way to hit Syrian targets, according to foreign reports. Suddenly, Lebanon is acquiring the status of a responsible sovereign state, and the Lebanese are now flexing their muscles before signing oil-drilling contracts in Block 9 within the sea, which is subject to a border dispute with Israel. Official Lebanon is vowing not to cave in on this issue. It’s letting others handle the warmongering from Israel.