Israeli warnings troublesome, Beirut says

July 7, 2009 at 12:30 PM
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BEIRUT, Lebanon, July 7 (UPI) -- Israel is sending a dangerous message in its continuous belligerence toward Lebanon as the country moves to form a new government, Beirut said.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned Beirut that Lebanon was accountable for any aggression by Hezbollah as it moves to join the next government following the June 7 parliamentary elections.

"We consider the Lebanese Cabinet a sovereign entity, and any attack launched against us from the Lebanese territory is (approved) by the government," Netanyahu said.

Israel and Hezbollah fought a bitter 34-day battle in 2006. Despite its label as an international terrorist organization, Hezbollah has secured a position in the Lebanese government through the March 8 opposition movement.

Presumptive Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri lashed out at Netanyahu, calling on the international community to condemn his statements as evidence of continued Israeli violations of Lebanese sovereignty, the Lebanese Daily Star reports.

"Lebanon was the victim of Israeli aggression for many years in addition to their enduring occupation of the Shebaa Farms," said Hariri.

President Michel Suleiman, for his part, noted the Netanyahu statements amounted to meddling in Lebanese internal affairs and reminded Israel of its international obligations in regard to Beirut.

Lebanon has complained repeatedly that Israel continued to violate various U.N. mandates concerning Lebanese territory.

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