- Calm Urged as Lebanon, Israel Exchange Fire on Border
by http://global.chinadaily.com.cn/ , 10 Aug 2021
United Nations/TEL AVIV, Israel－UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres repeated his call on Sunday for calm on the Lebanon-Israel border, as Israel’s prime minister said he holds the Lebanese government responsible for rocket fire launched from its territory, regardless of whether the Hezbollah militant group launched the weapons or not.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s comments came days after one of the heaviest flare-ups in violence between Israel and Hezbollah in several years. Bennett indicated that Israel could expand its response if the rocket fire continues. “The country of Lebanon and the army of Lebanon have to take responsibility (for) what happens in its backyard,” Bennett told his Cabinet.
Last week, militants in Lebanon launched a barrage of rockets into Israel, drawing rare Israeli airstrikes in Lebanon. On Friday, Hezbollah fired additional rockets toward Israel, and Israel responded with heavy artillery shelling. “It is less important to us if it’s a Palestinian organization that fired, or independent rebels, the state of Israel won’t accept shooting on its land,” Bennett said.
Bennett spoke a day after Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the militant Hezbollah, said he would retaliate against any future Israeli airstrikes on Lebanon, adding it would be wrong to assume that Hezbollah would be constrained by internal divisions in Lebanon or the country’s harsh economic crisis. “Don’t miscalculate by saying that Hezbollah is busy with Lebanon’s problems,” said Nasrallah, adding that the firing of rockets was a clear message.
Israel and Hezbollah are enemies that fought to a stalemate in a monthlong war in 2006. Israel estimates that Hezbollah possesses more than 130,000 rockets and missiles capable of striking anywhere in the country. In recent years, Israel has also expressed concern that the group is trying to import or develop an arsenal of precision-guided missiles, according to a report from The Associated Press.