Report: Israel Asks US to Condition Aid to Lebanon on End to Hezbollah’s Precision-Guided Missile Program
Israel has requested that the US and others condition aid to the Lebanese government on it taking action against Hezbollah’s precision-guided missile program.
Iran-backed Hezbollah possesses a large arsenal of missiles aimed at Israel, and the Jewish state has made clear for some time that it will not tolerate a major buildup of advanced weaponry in the hands of the Shi’a terror group.
At the news site Axios, Israeli journalist Barak Ravid reported that military assistance to Lebanon had reached $100 million annually and many White House officials agreed with the Israeli position that such aid should withheld to put pressure on Hezbollah. The State Department and the Pentagon, however, were reportedly opposed to such a move.
Israel is deeply concerned that Hezbollah may develop the ability to mass produce precision-guided missiles that could threaten the Israeli home front and IDF facilities.
The Israeli request to condition the aid, according to Ravid, came before the recent outbreak of mass protests in Lebanon, which Hezbollah views as a threat to its domestic political power.
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, an opponent of Hezbollah, resigned on Tuesday amid the ongoing unrest.
In a speech at a Jewish Agency event in Jerusalem on Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “Iran wants to develop precision missiles that can strike any target in Israel with and accuracy of five to ten meters, and it is doing so. … This is an enormous danger.”