Likud Minister: Disarm Hizbullah

Transport Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) said Hizbullah’s defeat in the Lebanese elections should be used to disarm the terrorist organization.

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu,

Katyusha rocket
Katyusha rocket
Israel News Photo

Transport Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) said Hizbullah’s defeat in Sunday’s legislative elections in Lebanon should be used to disarm the terrorist organization. "We must now move to disarm Hizbullah in accordance with agreements made in the past," he said.

Minister Katz added that Hizbullah’s defeat "signals important tidings for the region and Israel.”

The Israel Foreign Ministry responded to the election results with a statement that “the government of Lebanon must act to strengthen the country's stability and security, to stop arms smuggling into its territory, and to implement the relevant Security Council resolutions…. Israel considers the Lebanese government responsible for any military or otherwise hostile activity that emanates from its territory.”

The United Nations Security Council ceasefire resolution that ended the 34-day Second Lebanon War in 2006 stipulated that “foreign armies” would be disarmed, but the mandate never was carried out. The party, which is sponsored by Iran and is supplied with weapons smuggled from Syria, has more then tripled its former stockpile of rockets aimed at Israel.

Foreign media proclaimed the victory by the pro-Western and anti-Syrian parties a decisive political blow to Hizbullah, but the organization, headed by Hassan Nasrallah, remains the same powerful force that it was before the election.

Unofficial results gave the anti-Syrian coalition 70 seats while Hizbullah and its allies won 58 seats. The results do not represent any significant change from the previous legislature, and Hizbullah probably will continue to insist that it hold its current power in the Cabinet to veto major legislation.

Hizbullah won all 11 seats it contested, but its Christian ally Michel Aoun suffered serious political losses.

Sunni Muslim Saad Hariri, son of assassinated former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, is likely to lead the “March 14” anti-Syrian coalition. During the election campaign, he refused to accept Nasrallah’s challenge that each coalition invite the other into a unity coalition after the vote.

The pro-Western coalition’s victory allows the United States to breathe a sigh of relief that the terrorist organization did not duplicate Hamas’s success in 2005, when it won a majority in the Palestinian Authority’s election.

However, many analysts fear that Hizbullah's minority status will enable it to continue to try to undermine Lebanese society.

The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), before Lebanese voters went to the polls, noted that Hizbullah has close ties with the Lebanese army, especially in southern Lebanon where Hizbullah virtually governs the area.

“Claiming that Hizbollah isn’t actually in charge would allow the United States to continue providing economic aid to Lebanon and arming and training the LAF,” according to JINSA. “That would suit Hizbullah and suit the United States – although it doesn’t do much for the long-term security of Israel.”

Hizbullah’s defeat also has no affect on its funding and weapons aid to Hamas in Gaza. Egypt has charged the terrorist organization with operating an underground ring in Egypt with the aim of undermining the government by carrying out terrorist attacks.