The Dangers of Israeli Threat

  • 28 July 2010

The recent threat made by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak to Lebanon during his US visit sheds light on the dangerous approach adopted by his government and its aggressive policies that undermine regional stability. Barak said that his country will consider striking any target in Lebanon if Hizbullah launches any missile on Israeli cities. This was a continuation of Israel’s destructive Lebanon mandate, its continued intervention in the country’s affairs that amount to provocation. There was no justification for the Israeli minister’s threat at this time yet Tel Aviv has chosen to do so. This is happening amidst controversy over the charge sheet to be issued by the special international tribunal – investigating the assassination of the former prime minister Rafik Al Hariri – and the possibility of implicating elements of Hizbullah. This is also a means to justify Israel’s continued intrusion of Lebanese airspace which has escalated significantly in recent times.

The Israeli threats to target Lebanese government institutions should encourage the different political parties in Lebanon to work on two levels going forward. First of all, they should avoid giving any excuse to Tel Aviv to carry out the destruction of Lebanon as happened in the 2006 war especially when it is clear that it is looking for such an opportunity. It is important for the country and its political parties to maintain their capabilities and give top priority to developmental and reconstruction work, both on the domestic front and in terms of foreign relations. There is also a need for the country to overcome differences over the Hariri tribunal and prevent such differences from creating a rift.

Lebanon should tackle this sensitive situation confronting the country with responsibility and wisdom and in a manner that ensures that the country doesn’t return to the cycle of conflict that it has suffered from for several years. It is time for Lebanon to close its ranks so that Israel doesn’t project the situation in the country as a threat. Perhaps the statement of Lebanese Prime Minister Sa’ad Al Hariri that the case of his father’s assassination will not be a cause of strife in Lebanon forms a solid basis for consensus that is important for the country. If it is the responsibility of Lebanon’s political parties to avoid giving any excuse to Israel to carry out aggression, then the international community must also prevail upon the Israeli government to stop its repeated provocation and threats of aggression. Since the situation in the region in general and on the Lebanon-Israel front in particular is very complex, such provocations might lead to a conflagration that will threat the entire region’s security.