Protest near parliament in Beirut
Protest near parliament in Beirut Reuters

Hezbollah is denying any connection to last week’s explosion at the port of Beirut, but no one appears to be buying these denials.

Yoni Ben Menachem, a commentator on Arab affairs and a senior researcher at the Jerusalem Center for Public and State Affairs, explained in an interview with Arutz Sheva on Sunday that Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has no choice but to deny involvement in the blast.

"Nasrallah has to deny involvement, but in the meantime a campaign has been launched on social media in Lebanon proving that his claims are false. It is clear that he is trying to keep his organization as far away as possible from the explosion in the port, but it is clear to all that Hezbollah is the sole ruler, not only of the port of Beirut, but of all of Lebanon’s border crossings.”

"No one in Lebanon buys Nasrallah's lies and it is not for nothing that his men were the first to arrive at the port in Beirut, even before the medical staff, to assess the damage," Ben Menachem continued.

At the same time, he said, the Lebanese people will not be able to rebel against Hezbollah. "Lebanon is at a crossroads and needs to decide where it is going. The demonstrations we saw over the weekend were rough and for the first time, protesters took over the Lebanese Foreign Ministry and that is unprecedented. However, there have been tougher demonstrations in the past and both the regime and Hezbollah have survived them."

Hezbollah's preoccupation with what is happening inside Lebanon should not make Israel less concerned about its security. "Hassan Nasrallah, in the speech he gave, completely ignored Hezbollah's tensions with Israel and the attempts by terrorists to infiltrate the northern border. This should worry Israel because the commentators in Lebanon believe he is planning something and the one who gave the indication of that over the weekend was the editor of the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar - Hezbollah's mouthpiece - who wrote an editorial in which he said that Nasrallah is determined to avenge the killing of a senior member of the organization and deter Israel.”

"It should be noted that the IDF conducted a situation assessment and decided to maintain the high alert level in the north and this shows that even in Israel it is estimated that Hezbollah will not keep quiet," Ben Menachem concluded.