Supporters in Beirut watch a televised speech by Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah on May 31. (Marwan Naamani/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Nasrallah Threatens Israel…and Gets No Response

Al-Arab, Saudi Arabia, June 6

The secretary-general of Hizbullah, Hassan Nasrallah, gave a green light to the Lebanese president to engage in negotiations with Israel in order to delineate and demarcate the land and sea borders between the two countries. This tacit agreement to directly engage with Israel is rather surprising given the recent remarks made by Nasrallah just a week earlier. In that speech, the secretary-general threatened Israel and the United States that any strike against Iran will not go by unanswered by Hizbullah. He specifically warned that his organization was developing precision rockets that would be used to target sensitive sites in Israel. Surprisingly, this speech received serious response neither from Israeli nor from American officials. What’s more, nearly 24 hours after Nasrallah delivered his threat, several mortar shells were fired at Mount Hermon, an unsettled zone in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. This suggests that the missiles were never intended to inflict any human or material damage to Israel, but rather to send a message. Israel retaliated by targeting military installations in southern Damascus, leading to 10 deaths and several injuries. Yet what is especially interesting is Israel’s silence in response to Nasrallah’s speech. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been particularly vocal about Hizbullah’s rocket capabilities and threatened to launch a war against Lebanon if such weapons made their way into Hizbullah’s hands. Indeed, the issue of precision missiles poses a great danger to Israel. However, it poses an even greater danger to Lebanon, which cannot control these weapons once they reach the hands of Hizbullah. The Lebanese government is not in a position to decide whether to use these weapons or not. Yet it is the Lebanese people who will eventually bear the consequences of any war between Hizbullah and Israel. The lack of response on both the Israeli and Lebanese side to Nasrallah’s threats is therefore conspicuous and alarming. – Ali al-Amin (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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