Last Updated: Tue Nov 02, 2010 19:47 pm (KSA) 16:47 pm (GMT)

Israel fears Hezbollah may get Lebanon's arms

Hezbollah warned that its weapons arsenal was not a subject open to discussion (File)
Hezbollah warned that its weapons arsenal was not a subject open to discussion (File)

Israel fears that some military aid granted to Lebanon by the United States may fall into the hands of Hezbollah, the Shiite armed-group with which it fought a war three years ago, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Wednesday.

"When it comes to Lebanon... we have not much appreciated the delivery of American arms these past months," Barak told public radio. "We fear that a part of this material falls into the hands of Hezbollah."

Israel and Hezbollah fought a 34-day war in July-August 2006 after the Shiite group seized two soldiers in a deadly cross-border raid. The war killed more than 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers.

 When it comes to Lebanon... we have not much appreciated the delivery of American arms these past months. We fear that a part of this material falls into the hands of Hezbollah 
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak

Barak's comments came after a coalition defeated a Hezbollah-led alliance in a parliamentary election in neighboring Lebanon on Sunday.

The defense minister said the next Lebanese government must be given a chance. "Lebanon has the potential to become a calm place, only the future will tell if that's possible."

Since 2006, the United States has supplied close to $500 million in military aid to Lebanon, including aircraft, tanks, light arms, vehicles and training.

Hezbollah warned on Monday that its weapons arsenal was not a subject open to discussion and said Lebanon's majority must not start to question the movement.

"The majority must commit not to question our role as a resistance party, the legitimacy of our weapons arsenal and the fact that Israel is an enemy state," Hezbollah official Mohamed Raad said directly after the final results of the elections were announced.

 The majority must commit not to question our role as a resistance party, the legitimacy of our weapons arsenal and the fact that Israel is an enemy state  
Hezbollah official Mohamed Raad

Hezbollah's arsenal was scrutinized by the outgoing national unity government and was at the center of a national dialogue to define a defense strategy for Lebanon.

As preliminary results emerged earlier on Monday, Israel's foreign ministry said that the new government in Lebanon must act to prevent attacks from its territory.

"It is incumbent upon any government that is formed in Beirut to ensure that Lebanon will not be used as a base for violence against the state of Israel and against Israelis," a ministry statement said.

"Israel considers the Lebanese government responsible for any military or otherwise hostile activity that emanates from its territory," the statement said.

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