Israel is watching tensely as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visits Lebanon but is trying to keep a relatively low profile both with regard to its statements to the media and operationally, so as not to lead to an escalation on the border with Southern Lebanon.
Israel has made do mainly with conveying messages through diplomatic channels to Lebanon - via the United States, France and the United Nations. Israel has told Lebanon to avoid provocations in the area around its border with Israel, where Ahmadinejad is planning to visit.
Israel has told representatives of Western powers over the past few days that it believes Ahmadinejad's presence in Lebanon is proof that Lebanon is becoming more extreme.
A senior Israeli official, who is involved in Israel's responses to the visit of the Iranian president, said Ahmadinejad's visit "illustrates the completion of the process by which Lebanon is turning into a client state of Iran, and thus Lebanon has joined the axis of extremist states that oppose the peace process and support terror."
The official said Ahmadinejad was coming to Lebanon "like a commander reviewing his troops - the Hezbollah terrorists - that serve as the Iranian arm in this region."
The official said that everyone for whom peace and freedom are important views with concern Iran's defiance. "Lebanon, which should enjoy peace and prosperity, has become the servant of Iranian aggressiveness, led by Hezbollah."
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