Lebanon’s top security body on Wednesday instructed the country’s military to confront Israel if it goes ahead with plans to build a cement border wall along the border to prevent terrorists attacks, labeling it as an “aggression” against its sovereignty.
Lebanese leaders have accused Israel of threatening the stability of the border region. Arguments over the wall and Lebanon’s plans to explore for oil and gas in disputed Mediterranean waters have increased friction between the two enemy states.
“This wall, if it is built, will be considered an aggression against Lebanon,” the statement said. “The Higher Defense Council has given instructions to confront this aggression to prevent Israel from building this so-called wall barrier on Lebanese territory,” it added.
Andrea Tenenti, spokesperson for the United Nations peacekeeping force in Lebanon known as UNIFIL, said the force is “fully engaged with both parties in order to find common solutions.”
Lebanese and Israeli military officials met Monday to discuss the issues in regular U.N.-sponsored talks. Tenenti said both parties demonstrated their commitment to preserve stability.
Israel is ready for an all-out ground operation in Lebanon in the event of a military conflict with Beirut, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said earlier this week.
“We must prepare for maneuvering on the ground too, even if we do not use it,” Liberman said.
“No one is looking for adventures, but if we have no choice the goal is to end [the fighting] as quickly and as unequivocally as possible,” the minister said, adding that Israel’s past experience has shown that “all the conflicts in the Middle East” do not “come to an end” without “soldiers on the ground.”
Israel will act tough on Lebanon, the minister warned. He particularly said that the situation of the Second Lebanon War, “in which the residents of Beirut were at the beach and in Tel Aviv [they were] in bomb shelters,” will not repeat itself if a new conflict breaks out. “If in Israel they sit in shelters, then in the next fighting all of Beirut will be in shelters,” Liberman added.
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