Ehud Barak, Israel’s defense minister, expressed alarm Tuesday at Hezbollah’s apparent growth as a threat to the Jewish state.
“Hezbollah’s strength at present is triple its strength at the end of the Second Lebanon War,” Mr. Barak told members of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. “The organization has rockets that are also capable of reaching Ashkelon, Yeruham and Dimona. They possess 42,000 rockets, as opposed to the 14,000 rockets that were in their possession on the eve of the war.”
The defense minister, who is troubled by the Iranian-supported Lebanese terror organization, said the recent maneuvers that Hezbollah carried out in southern Lebanon constituted prove that U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701 was not being implemented.
Mr. Barak’s stinging criticism of No. 1701 was interpreted as a jab against Israel Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who takes pride in that resolution which ended the conflict in Lebanon during Summer 2006
He cited yet another nuclear threat to Israel, citing Pakistan’s active nuclear program. Mr. Barak called it the “ultimate nightmare of many countries in the world,” which threatened Israel.
The current instability within Pakistan, Mr. Barak warned, could directly threaten Israel.
“The situation in that country is very disturbing to any rational person in the world,” he said, noting that Pakistan had a large nuclear arsenal, surface-to-surface missiles with nuclear warheads as well as advanced American-made F-16 jets, capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
Members of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee noted that General Pervez Musharraf, who governed Pakistan up until three months ago and who had cooperated with the United States, was forced to resign and has been replaced by Ali Zadari.
Some members of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee worry that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, due to the instability, could find its way into al-Qaida’s hostile hands. The international Islamist terror group has many supporters in Pakistan.
Regarding Iran, Mr. Barak said it was “continuing to deceive the world and to develop energetically its nuclear program, while trying to buy time.” The defense minister underscored that Israel had not taken any option off the table with respect to the manner in which the Iranian nuclear threat would be dealt with.
While addressing the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Mr. Barak also discussed Syria and said that it was helping Hezbollah, maintained a close relationship with that organization and intervened with political processes within Lebanon.