Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Lebanon's Hezbollah on Wednesday against attacking Israel, after the organization's leader Hassan Nasrallah threatened to take over the Galilee.
"Nasrallah declared today that he will conquer the Galilee," Netanyahu told the Conference of Presidents. "I have news for you. He won't."
He stressed that "the army is strong and the people are united."
"Anyone hiding in the bunker will stay in the bunker, and would do well not to doubt Israel's ability to defend itself," the prime minister added.
Netanyahu's comments came in response to Nasrallah's earlier statements, in which the Hezbollah leader threatened to take over northern Israel and assassinate Israeli leaders. "I say to the fighters of the Islamic Resistance: Be ready. If a new war is imposed on Lebanon we may ask you to take Galilee, to free Galilee," he said. "I hope the people of Israel have good bomb shelters."
Nasrallah also vowed that the death of Imad Mughnieh, killed in a February 2008 car bombing also blamed on Israel, would not be forgotten or go unpunished.
"To the Zionist generals, I say: Anywhere you go in the world, at any time, watch out, for the blood of Imad Mughnieh will not go to waste," he said.
Meanwhile, In a statement that has no precedent since Jordan and Israel forged a peace agreement, the Hashemite Kingdom's new justice minister, Hussein Mjali, has called Israel an "enemy state and a terror state."
Interviewed by the Jordanian newspaper Al Arab Al Yawm, Mjali declared: "Israel is a terror state and a penal state which destroys things every day. These facts explain Israel's position with regard to the freeing of the Jordanian soldier Ahmad Dakamseh."
The reference was to the Jordanian soldier who murdered seven Israeli young women in 1997 at Naharayim. Jordan's justice minister stated: "Proof of the need to free Dakamseh is the fact that Israel fears his release. This is a terroristic, enemy state; and as a people, we must stand united against Israel."
Mjali clarified that he expressed his own views in this interview and not those of the Jordanian government. He added that the issue of Dakamseh's release is not dependent on him or the government, but rather upon King Abdullah II, who has the authority to pardon the imprisoned soldier. According to a Jordanian diplomatic source quoted in this report, a senior official in Jordan's embassy in Israel explained to Israeli officials that the justice minister's view is his alone, and that the Jordanian government has not discussed the topic of the imprisoned soldier.
Dakamseh murdered seven young Israeli women from Beit Shemesh and wounded five others in 1997. The victims were on a school outing at the Naharayim enclave. The soldier emptied two rifle cartridges, before other Jordanian soldiers apprehended him. Following this attack, King Hussein visited Beit Shemesh and apologized to the bereaved families. Jordan's current justice minister served as Dakamseh's attorney during his trial; the soldier was sentenced to a life term.
Widespread unrest continued across the Middle East today, with opposition activists staging protests in Bahrain and in Lybia, where thousands clashed with police in the coastal city of Benghazi and activists called for a popular "day of rage" today against the regime. In Egypt, labor strikes continued throughout the country, despite the military government's demand to stop all strike actions immediately. Opposition activists called for a rally in Cairo on Friday, both to mark a week since president Hosni Mubarak's resignation and to remind the military leaders that theirs was a transitional government only.
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