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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Lebanon promises more border violations? Lebanon Will Use Confiscated Hizbullah Arms to Fight Israel

In Lebanese mythology, the recent aggression by the Lebanese army, in which they opened fire on Israeli bulldozers operating inside Israel, is already enshrined as an Israeli "violation." Apparently, hating Israel is the only way for the "democratic" Lebanese government to assert its legitimacy over the Hezbollah.

Lebanon Will Use Confiscated Hizbullah Arms to Fight Israel
Defense Minister Elias Murr, who rejected Hizbullah demands that a truckload of weapons seized by Lebanese authorities be returned to the group, has said the army will keep the ammunition and use it if Israel attacks.
"The truck and the weapons are now with the Lebanese army in southern Lebanon," Murr said after talks Friday with the new commander of the U.N. peacekeeping force in south Lebanon, Major General Claudio Graziano.
"If Israel carries out another violation, we will use these weapons to confront it," he said.
Murr said he told Graziano that "the Lebanese army deployed in southern Lebanon has orders to confront Israeli forces in case of any new violation" of Lebanese sovereignty.
The shipment was seized on Thursday in the Hazmieh suburb east of Beirut, raising tension between Hizbullah and Prime Minister Fouad Saniora's government, which are engaged in a power struggle.
U.S. Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman sharply criticized Hizbullah for the arms shipment, which according to the daily An Nahar included forty-eight 60mm mortars, sixty 120mm mortars, 52 Grad rockets and 118 cases of mortar shells.
"We've heard Hizbullah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah talk very proudly of the weapons his organization already has. So one has to ask what are these for now?" he asked Friday.
Nasrallah boasted soon after a cease-fire ended the July-August war between his guerrillas and Israeli forces that his group had replenished its arsenal of rockets, numbering some 33,000.
Hizbullah had acknowledged the ammunition seized Thursday belonged to the group and demanded the government immediately release the shipment. It urged the government to abide by its own policy, proclaimed in 2005, to support the "resistance" in the south.
Hizbullah senior official Mohammed Yazbek reiterated on Friday that the seized truck was carrying munitions destined for his group's fighters and demanded the return of the weaponry.
"The security and judicial authorities should return the truck which was carrying arms for the Resistance from the (eastern) Bekaa to the south," he said at Friday prayers in the eastern city of Baalbek.
"The Resistance did not breach any agreement by transporting these arms ... in line with the 'ministerial declaration,'" which recognized the right to resist Israeli occupation, Yazbek said.
"We are still in a confrontation with the enemy which continues to occupy parts of our land and continues to hold Lebanese detainees," he added.
Lebanon claims sovereignty over the Shabaa Farms along the Lebanon-Syria-Israeli borders which Israel captured from Syria during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and then annexed along with the rest of the Golan Heights.
Hizbullah was the only armed group which was not asked to surrender its weapons after the country's 1975-1990 civil war because it was considered a "resistance group" then fighting Israel's occupation of Lebanese territory.
U.N. Security Council resolutions have called for the disarming of all militias in Lebanon.
On Thursday's Kalam el Nas talk show, Murr criticized Hizbullah's statement, saying he would have liked to see the group offer the shipment to the Lebanese army which on Wednesday engaged in a shootout with Israeli troops on the tense Israel-Lebanon border.
It was the most serious clash since the Israel-Hizbullah summer war.
Hizbullah legislator Hassan Fadlallah said Hizbullah insists on recovering the ammunition.
"When we want to give gifts to the army we will do it, because the army is defending the border," he said at a press conference Friday.

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