Hezbollah terror organization chief, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, threatened to respond to any “stupid act” made by Israel, as tensions heat up on Israel’s northern border with neighboring Lebanon.
“Israel is still occupying parts of Lebanese lands and brazenly talks about provocations,” Nasrallah reportedly said on video during Saturday festivities to celebrate the Shiite Muslim holiday Ashura.
“I say to the Zionists: ‘Beware of any stupid step or decisions of one kind or another, the resistance does not take its responsibility for responding and liberating lands, lightly,” the Islamist militant group leader warned.
“We are ready for any option and we will not remain silent in the face of any stupid act," Nasrallah affirmed.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to Nasrallah's threats during Sunday's cabinet meeting.
“Regarding Nasrallah's threats from his bunker, we are not impressed. At the crucial moment, he will find us standing together, shoulder to shoulder. Even Nasrallah knows that it is worth neither his while nor Lebanon's, to put us to the test,” Netanyahu said.
In June, the Iran-backed terror group set up an armed encampment on the Israeli side of the Lebanon border, crossing the Blue Line and pitching two tents manned by armed Hezbollah militants.
The Israeli government was reportedly initially trying to resolve the issue through diplomatic means, with discussions between Israel's Foreign Ministry and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), but the situation has only been exacerbated by recent conflicts.
One month before Hezbollah crossed Israel's border, IDF Intelligence Director, Maj.-Gen. Aharon Haliva had warned that the terror group could unintentionally trigger a major regional war between the Jewish state, Iran and its terror proxies.
“Nasrallah is close to making a mistake that could plunge the region into a big war. He is close to making this mistake from Lebanon or Syria,” Haliva said at the time.
Since June, Israel has continued to make attempts to remove the Hezbollah tents from the Mount Dov region, known as the Shebaa Farms. One tent was removed after Israel reportedly sent a message to Hezbollah threatening an armed confrontation if it did not remove the outpost.
On July 13, Israel Defense Forces prevented Hezbollah suspects from causing damage to the northern border fence, during which three members of the terror group were reported “lightly” wounded. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant reported that the IDF had “deterred Hezbollah activists with non-lethal means" and would "continue to guard the security of the State of Israel.”
The next day, Nasrallah again threatened Israel in a speech, affirming that Hezbollah would respond to any action against its outposts in the disputed border area.
Because of territorial disputes, Israel and Lebanon do not have a formal border and are expected to abide by a UN-recognized Blue Line, marked by a series of blue barrels, between the two nations.
The Hezbollah tents were pitched in the same region that Israel captured from Syria during the Six-Day War in 1967, an area that was later annexed, along with the Golan Heights and the village of Ghajar. The Lebanese government continues to claim this territory belongs to Lebanon.
Escalating tensions between Jerusalem and Beirut may now be at their highest peak since the end of the Second Lebanon War in 2006.
Senior IDF officials have warned that Israel's current political crisis, including the refusal of 10,000 military reservists to show up for duty last week, undermines Israel's national security. Other analysts believe Iran and its allies are observing the divisions in Israel closely and looking for opportunities to take advantage of the situation.
Last week, following the passing of the contentious Reasonableness Standard Law on Monday, Nasrallah declared that Israel is collapsing.
“Today, in particular, is the worst day in the history of the entity, as some of its people say.”
“This is what puts it on the path of collapse, fragmentation and disappearance, God willing,” he added.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.