Israel not affected by Hezbollah’s threats: Netanyahu

Israel not affected by Hezbollah’s threats: Netanyahu

Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah should not test us, says Israeli prime minister

By Zein Khalil and Muhammed Semiz

JERUSALEM (AA) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that threats by Hezbollah do not affect Israel and its secretary-general should not test the country.

Netanyahu, who was speaking during a weekly Cabinet meeting, was responding to statements issued a day earlier by Hassan Nasrallah, according to the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation (KAN).

Nasrallah said "the resistance in Lebanon will not remain indifferent and will be ready for deterrence and struggle against any kind of development or stupidity” on Israel’s part.

Netanyahu responded, saying: “We are not impressed by Nasrallah’s bunker threats. On the day of the test, he will find us standing shoulder to shoulder. It is not worth it for him to test us.”

In 2006, Israel and Hezbollah fought a 34-day war in which more than 1,200 Lebanese were killed, most of them civilians. Some 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers, were also killed in the conflict.

-Returning to negotiations with opposition

Pointing to the possibility of returning to negotiations with the opposition over the government’s controversial judicial reform, which triggered mass demonstrations across the country for 30 weeks, Netanyahu said the government will use Parliament’s summer break "to reach an agreement between us.”

Saying it was possible to reach an agreement with the opposition, he expressed hope that the parties would find common ground.

“It is possible and necessary to reach an agreement, and the vast majority of the people have also understood this simple truth," he added.

-Connecting Israel with Saudi Arabia by train

Netanyahu also said at the Cabinet meeting that they were working on a railway project worth 100 billion shekels ($27 billion) that will stretch from the north to the south of the country, according to Israel’s i24NEWS channel.

Noting that the project is also a harbinger of a regional railway line, he said: "We hope to connect Israel to Saudi Arabia and the Arabian Peninsula by train in the future."

Israel, which has signed normalization agreements with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan over the past three years, has not yet signed any normalization agreements with Saudi Arabia, which stipulates the settlement of the Palestinian problem.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa Mosque --Islam’s third holiest site -- is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It annexed the entire city in 1980 in a move never recognized by the international community.​​​​​​​

Israeli forces and fanatical Jewish settlers frequently carry out raids on Al-Aqsa Mosque to provoke Palestinians, and in recent years, the site has seen the incursions grow larger and more brazen.

*Writing by Merve Berker

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