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Israel: Lebanon's army is part of Hezbollah

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman claimed in front of a Knesset meeting early this week that he considers the Lebanese army as a unit of Hezbollah, Arabs48.com reported yesterday.

The Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennet, the head of the Jewish Home Party, also said during a cabinet meeting this week that Israel should not consider any difference between attacking military targets belonging to Hezbollah or targets such as that controlled by the Lebanese state in any potential war on the Lebanese front.

Bennet criticised the response of the former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to Condoleezza Rice, the former national security advisor of former US President George W. Bush, when he agreed not to target Lebanese infrastructure.

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The right-wing minister said that Olmert's agreement on this request blocked the road ahead of an Israeli victory in that war, noting that he was speaking as an expert because hunting rocket squads was an "impossible mission," in reference to Hezbollah rocket teams firing into Israel.

Israeli remarks against Lebanon and Hezbollah escalated after comments made by Lebanese President Michel Aoun who said that "as long as Israel is occupying Lebanese lands and intends to exploit Lebanon's natural resources…Hezbollah's armament is important."

He also said that Hezbollah is a "basic component in defending Lebanon."

A colonel in the Israeli reserve army Assaf Orion wrote in a recent study issued by a study centre affiliating to Tel Aviv University that the "Lebanese president cancelled the difference between the state as a sovereign body and Hezbollah."

Therefore, Assaf said, the Lebanese president is responsible for Hezbollah operations, including those against Israel.

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