Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Philadelphia Bulletin: Hezbollah Victory Will Give Israel Sway

by David Bedein

Should Hezbollah prevail in Lebanon’s upcoming parliamentary elections next month, it could place Lebanon in Israel’s crosshairs.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Israel TV a Hezbollah election victory would render the terror group more vulnerable than in the past to the Israel Defense Force (IDF) because Israel would have freer rein in the event of a conflagration.

If the Iranian-financed terror organization were to become significantly stronger and were to hold a majority in the Lebanese government, Israeli security sources say Israel would directly retaliate against Lebanon in the event of a war along its northern border.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently said if Hezbollah were to win the Lebanese parliamentary elections: “[T]hat would be a troubling development, and our deployment will be in kind.”

Israel Defense Minister Barak also remarked on that issue, saying: “At present, Hezbollah already holds a third of the ministerial posts in the Lebanese cabinet. If Hezbollah receives a bigger chunk in the upcoming elections, that will expose it more than it was in the past to the IDF’s might, and will allow us freedom of action that we didn’t fully have in July 2006, during the Second Lebanon War.”

The Strategic Affairs Minister said he did not see any chance an independent Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria, also known as the West Bank, or in the Gaza Strip, would be able to maintain an independent economy or be able to maintain its internal security.

Mr. Yaalon referred to the experience gained from Israel’s total withdrawal from Gaza in August 2005, which occurred two months after former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon removed him as IDF chief.

“It could be presumed with certainty that any territory that Israel would evacuate in Judea and Samaria would immediately turn into a second Hamastan,” Mr. Yaalon said.

Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai told the seminar attendees Israel should stop trying to seek favor in the eyes of the world and work to get them to see the truth.

“The Palestinians are not even willing to recognize the state of the Jewish people, because they want to eliminate the Jewish people,” Mr. Yishai said.

Former Israel National Security Council director Maj. Gen. (res.) Giora Eiland said, commenting on the seminar, that an independent Palestinian state would not be an ideal solution for the Palestinians.

“Many senior Palestinian figures would support the idea of establishing a Palestinian confederation under Jordanian rule. They realize that a Palestinian state would be controlled by Hamas and would prefer to be under Jordanian rule,” Maj. Gen. (res.) Eilan said.

Following the seminar, some members of Israel’s Knesset suggested turning Jordan into a Palestinian state, which Israeli President Shimon Peres called “ridiculous,” even though he is not supposed to express himself politically in his non-partisan position.

After Mr. Peres’ comment, Jordan’s ambassador to Israel filed an official complaint against the government of Israel for allowing a member of Israel’s Knesset to suggest replacing the Jordanian kingdom with a Palestinian state.

View this story in the Philadelphia Bulletin
View this story at Israel Behind the News

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