Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a visiting delegation of UN ambassadors in Jerusalem, Feb. 3, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Ronen Zvulun.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cautioned a visiting delegation of UN ambassadors on Sunday over growing Iranian influence in Lebanon, where a new national unity government — including a bolstered Hezbollah role — was formed this week.
“A great shift has taken place in the Middle East,” Netanyahu told the diplomats in a briefing before they toured Israel’s northern border. “That shift is the rise of the aggressive theocracy of Iran that seeks to conquer the Middle East, eliminate Israel and dominate many other parts of the world.”
“Iran has proxies,” he noted. “One of them is Hezbollah. Hezbollah just joined the government of Lebanon. That’s a misnomer; they actually control the government of Lebanon. It means that Iran controls the government of Lebanon.”
“It’s important to send this very powerful message just as we stop the terror tunnels coming into Israel, we will stop all the aggression — from Lebanon or from Syria or from Iran itself,” Netanyahu went on to say. “We are committed to preventing this aggression, and in so doing we’re not only protecting Israel itself, but also protecting our neighbors and world peace.”