Lebanese President Michel Aoun has dismissed claims that the Shia militia known as Hezbollah should be disarmed as long as Israel “fails to respect” U.N. resolutions and international law, the Jerusalem Post reports.
Aoun – a Christian – said the Lebanese-based Iranian-proxy army ensures Lebanon’s “resistance against the State of Israel,” in an interview published Friday by French newspaper Le Figaro. He rejected the notion that Christians needed specific protection in Lebanon, saying the army protects the entire country, “including its Christians.”
In the interview, Aoun also defended his close ties with the proxy army, which is rumored to have played a major role in his election victory in 2016.
Just weeks ago, Lebanon filed a complaint to the U.N. against Israel for violating the country’s airspace and causing damage by breaking the sound barrier in the southern part of the country. According to Lebanese sources, the resulting sonic booms broke windows and shook buildings for the first time in years.
In the interview, Aoun used this recent development to explain the double standard between what Hezbollah was alleged to have done in 2006 (its actions kicked off a short-lived war between Hezbollah and Israel at the time) and what Israel continues to do on a regular basis.
“It’s a classic border incident which escalated due to an Israeli overreaction,” he explained.
You’ll say that Hezbollah violated territory that day – it’s possible. But these types of incidents happen very frequently. A few days ago, Israeli fighter jets broke the sound barrier above [Lebanon]…violating our airspace and shattering glass everywhere.”
In July of this year, U.S. President Donald Trump committed one of his most unusual faux pas when he mistakenly said to Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri “Lebanon is on the front lines in the fight against ISIS, Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah.”
In actuality, Hezbollah makes up a significant component of the Lebanese government, and Aoun’s interview helps us understand how the Lebanese leadership truly feels about the designated terror group.
Hezbollah are not using their weapons in internal politics. They only ensure our resistance against the State of Israel, which continues to occupy part of our territory and which refuses to apply UN resolutions regarding the Palestinians’ right to return,” he said.
Unbeknownst to most people is the fact that at the start of September, Israel held its largest military drill in 20 years, which simulated a full-on invasion of Lebanon. The target of the drill was Hezbollah, and the mock enemy soldiers even donned the Lebanese militants’ attire and flags.
“You cannot disarm Hezbollah at the same time that Israel fails to respect UN Security Council resolutions,” the Lebanese president explained.
Israel would have the right to wage war whenever it wants at the same time that others would be deprived of their right to weapons to defend themselves? No, it’s not possible.”
Top photo | Supporters of Christian leader Michel Aoun hold his picture and Free Patriotic Movement, Lebanese flags and Hezbollah flag as they celebrate the election of President Michel Aoun, in Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. (AP/Hassan Ammar)
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