Israel to U.S.: Prevent Precision Missile Development in Lebanon

YERUSHALAYIM -
A Lebanese police removes a concrete block used by demonstrators to block a highway in Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday. (Reuters/Mohamed Azakir)

Israel has asked the U.S., and several European governments to condition aid to Lebanon on the country taking action against Hezbollah’s arsenals of precision-guided missiles, Israeli officials said Wednesday.

Israel has characterized the Hezbollah terror group’s precision-missile production efforts, which could hit any target in Israel, as a strategic threat. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu earlier this week warned that Iran, which backs Hezbollah, was working to establish similar missile programs among its allies in Yemen, Iraq and Syria.

The Israeli officials said that several weeks ago the Foreign Ministry ordered Israeli ambassadors in several capitals to convey the message to decision-makers in the countries regarding the need for stopping aid to Lebanon as long as Hezbollah is part of the Lebanese government.

The officials noted that the Israeli messages on conditioning aid to Lebanon began before the latest protests in the country. The officials added that Israel has said it doesn’t want to get involved in the recent domestic protests in Lebanon.

The officials also stress there is close coordination between Israel and the Trump administration on curbing Hezbollah’s funding channels. As a result, the U.S. Treasury designated several individuals and companies who are connected to Hezbollah’s financial system.