January 6, 2009
Tel Aviv has warned Hezbollah against intervening in the war on Gaza after Israeli fighter jets conducted overflights into Lebanon.
In a veiled reference to Hezbollah on Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Tel Aviv is on high alert to respond to any threat coming from its northern fronts.
"Let it be clear, we will make no compromise on our security… No one should get the wrong impression over our determination and our alertness on any front. We are not afraid of any confrontation or threat," Olmert said.
"We truly hope that no one will put us to the test," he added.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak also issued a strong warning to Hezbollah.
"Our eyes are also on events up north…We are ready, waiting and following all developments," he said.
His comments come after Israeli fighter jets conducted an overflight in Lebanese skies in what has been described by some as an attempt to provoke the Lebanese Hezbollah to intervene in the war on Gaza.
Tel Aviv waged war on the Gaza Strip on December 27 and began what it claims is a "long-lasting" ground invasion of the area on Saturday night.
Lebanon’s Information Minister Tarek Mitri made clear on Tuesday that Hezbollah would not get involved in the most recent Israeli war. "We have not received from Hezbollah any sign that they will risk dragging Lebanon into this conflict."
He, however, warned that if the conflict in Gaza carries on and casualties mount, there could be an escalation and "spillover of the violence".
"The more there is a delay for the international community to act, the more there is anger…..Whether this would lead Hezbollah to react, I don’t know," he said.
Hezbollah has reportedly doubled its military might since its victory over Tel Aviv in the 33-day Israeli war against Lebanon in July 2006.
Israel fought a 33-day war against Hezbollah in the summer of 2006 to destroy the military power of the Lebanese resistance group. According to a recently published Winograd report, the attack backfired and wreaked a humiliating defeat on Israel.
In a recent report, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy revealed that a third military conflict between Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Israel is likely to happen in the near future.