Nasrallah Admits: Hezbollah Smuggled Advanced Arms Into Gaza

Nasrallah says group is a force of 'security and stability' in face of Israeli aggression; Lebanese President Michel Aoun's voices concerns of Israel as Arab League designation of Hezbollah a terrorist organization

(FILES) This file image grab taken from Hezbollah's al-Manar TV on May 11, 2017 shows Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Lebanon's militant Shiite movement Hezbollah, giving a televised address from an undisclosed location in Lebanon marking the 2016 death of Mustafa Badreddine, a key suspect in the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri.
The war of words between Saudi Arabia and Iran reflects a growing rivalry between the regional heavyweights, but experts believe the risk of a direct military clash between them is low. / AFP PHOTO / AL-MANAR TV / HO / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / AL-MANAR TV" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS
(FILES) This file image grab taken from Hezbollah's al-Manar TV on May 11, 2017 shows Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Lebanon's militant Shiite movement Hezbollah, giving a televised address from an und HO/AFP

Lebanese President Michel Aoun and Hezbollah both said on Monday that Lebanon still faces threats from Israel, with Hezbollah's leader Hassan Nasrallah claiming his group was the country's main defense against Jerusalem.

Nasrallah even claimed that his group's arsenal of weapons was a force of "security and stability" in Lebanon in the face of these threats. He also said his group "transferred arms, including Kornet missiles, to Gaza," referring to a Russian-made anti-tank missile. He added that recent Israeli comments indicate ties that country's ties with Saudi Arabia.

To really understand the Middle East - subscribe to Haaretz

Lebanese President Michel Aoun and Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Beirut Nov 20 2017
Uncredited/AP

"There is pressure on Palestinian to accept dictates that will kill the Palestinian issue under what some are calling the 'deal of the century,'" Nasrallah said, in reference to efforts to tie U.S. President Donald Trump's peace initiative to regional processes.

"There are Arab countries that want to forge ties with Israel – namely Saudi Arabia. The interview by [the head of the Israeli army Gadi] Eisenkot to the Saudi website Elaph is a dangerous development for the Palestinians."

>> When Jerusalem needs to talk to Riyadh: This Saudi newspaper is Israel's backchannel to the Arab world >>

Nasrallah's comments came hours after Aoun said that "Israeli targeting still continues and it is the right of the Lebanese to resist it and foil its plans by all available means."

Aoun's statement came after he met with Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit in Beirut, following the Arab League announcement yesterday that designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

"Lebanon has dealt with attacks from 1978 to 2006, and has succeeded in liberating its territory," Aoun added.

Nasrallah also responded to the Arab League, saying that "we have never transferred long-range missiles to any Arab state, but we did transfer arms to the forces of resistance in Gaza Strip and to fighters in Syria."

Aoun said that Lebanon is not responsible for regional power struggles, and that it's unacceptable that his conutry's stability and security are harmed because of them. Aboul Gheit responded, saying that it is not the Arab League's intention to harm Lebanon, and that the Arab League understands the complexities the former faces.

During this period, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri unexpectedly resigned from his position, Saudi Arabia arrested princes and businessmen in Riyadh and exchanged threats with Iran and Hezbollah - after Houthi rebels, supported by Iran, shot a missile from Yemen at Riyadh's airport.

>> Opinion // While America's AWOL on coordinating anti-Iran allies, Saudi Arabia is taking over >>

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that he spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron, who updated him regarding his conversation with Hariri.

The Israeli premier clarified to Macron Israel's interests regarding Lebanon , the first of which are Lebanese-based threats against Israel, including Iran and its proxy, Hezbollah.

Netanyahu added that he agreed with Macron to meet in Paris in early December in order to work together on issues like the situation in Lebanon as well as the Iranian nuclear deal.

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said a week and a half ago that Saudi Arabia is inciting Israel to attack Lebanon and that the Jewish state should not take advantage of Lebanon's situation. He added that Israel only acts in accordance with its own interests as well as those of the U.S, and as such is unlikely to initiate a conflict with Lebanon.

Finally, Nasrallah stressed that ever since 2006, Israel clearly understands the cost of military intervention in Lebanon.

Saudi Arabia and other Arab foreign ministers held an emergency meeting in Cairo under the auspices of the Arab League on Sunday to discuss ways to confront Iran and its Lebanese Shi'ite ally Hezbollah, who the Arab allies say are interfering in their internal affairs.