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Israeli Minister: 'We will prevent Iranian activity in Lebanon as we did in Syria'

January 31, 2018 at 4:06 am

A senior Israeli minister said the Israeli government will prevent Iran from arming Hezbollah in Lebanon, “just as it prevented it in Syria.”

“We have prevented Iran’s countless attempts to arm Hezbollah from inside Syria, and now they (Iranians) are trying to do the same on Lebanese territories,” said Ze’ev Elkin, Minister of Jerusalem Affairs.

In an interview which was published on the website of Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, on Tuesday, he added: “But as we knew how to get them out of Syria, we will do the same in Lebanon,” without stating further details.

Elkin accompanied Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, on Monday, in which they focused on developments in Syria and Lebanon.

Talking about the meeting with Putin, Elkin said: “First, we discussed the issue of Iran’s continued attempts of military positioning in Syria. Second, we discussed the issue of Iranian attempts to establish precision missile factories in Lebanon. Third, we discussed the step the US president led to amend Iran’s nuclear deal.”

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The Israeli official refused to reveal Russian President Vladimir Putin’s stand point about these issues. He said: “What Putin said in the room should be kept in the room. This is one of the reasons that allowed the two leaders to build such an open and frank personal relationship, because it is credible that what is said in meetings will not be leaked.”

In an indirect confession about Israel’s air attacks in Syria and Lebanon, Elkin said: “The Russians have been in Syrian air space for two and a half years, but Israel has managed to freely maintain the status quo to operate in the Syrian and Lebanese fields, despite the existence of Russia.”

He added: “This should not be considered as an inevitable situation since it is clear that the Iranians and the Syrians are not very happy with it.”

Elkin continued: “If you had asked me two and a half years ago whether there is a chance for Israel to succeed in preserving this freedom to act in the Syrian territories, which is fundamental to our security, there would be little chances, but again and again Netanyahu has managed to secure that through these meetings.”

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Elkin was not clear about the possibility of a new war on Lebanon. He said:”If Lebanon manages its own affairs, we will live in a somewhat more transparent world. Nevertheless, it is clear that it has no interest in fighting with Israel and has been severely damaged by the previous round of hostile activities.”

Elkin added: “It’s not just about us, but also about Hezbollah or, in other words, Iran. Hezbollah is just a long arm of Iran.”

In a similar context, the Israeli newspaper stated that a Russian delegation, headed by Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, will arrive in Israel on Wednesday in an official visit.

The newspaper added: “The delegation will discuss the Iranian position in Syria and possible amendments to the Iranian nuclear deal.”