BEIRUT, Lebanon, March 23 (UPI) -- An armed Hezbollah militia is a valid deterrent against the lingering threat to Lebanese sovereignty from Israel, the Lebanese defense minister said.
Israel and Hezbollah fought a bruising 34-day war in 2006. U.N. Resolution 1701, which helped broker a cease-fire to the conflict, calls on Hezbollah to disarm while mandating Israel respect Lebanese territory.
Both sides have violated the agreement. Beirut in 2009 filed a series of official complaints with the United Nations complaining of Israeli incursions into Lebanese territory.
The Lebanese military reportedly fired on Israeli jets during the weekend.
Lebanese Defense Minister Elias Murr told Hezbollah's al-Manar news station that "logic says" that an armed resistance is a valid deterrent to Israel.
Lebanese lawmakers backed a measure in 2009 that lets Hezbollah, now a Cabinet member, keep its weapons so long as the threat from Israel remains. Lawmakers in 2010 are divided over the issue, however, with opponents saying Israel wouldn't act belligerently if Hezbollah disarmed.
Murr was among the five Cabinet ministers nominated to the government in 2009 by Lebanese President Michel Suleiman.