Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri said Sunday that the Hizbollah resistance will remain active as long as Israel occupies part of Lebanon, as a bomb planted by the movement killed an Israeli soldier.
Hariri told a group of Egyptian newspaper editors that Israel was making a "big mistake" by continuing to use force as a strategy against the Arabs, as the Jewish state launched retaliatory air strikes in southern Lebanon for the first time since its withdrawal from the region in May.
It was not clear from Egypt's MENA news agency, which reported Hariri's comments, whether or not the Lebanese premier was responding directly to Sunday's events or speaking in general terms.
"The party (Hizbollah) will carry out its activities as a resistance party as long as Israel occupies a part of Lebanese land," Hariri said.
The Hizbollah attack on Sunday took place in the disputed Israeli-occupied Shebaa Farms border area which was captured from Syria but which Beirut and the rest of the Arab world claims belongs to Lebanon.
"Hizbollah is a Lebanese party which resisted Israel and played a fundamental part in liberating a large part of the south and it is part of the political activity in the country," Hariri said.
"Israel is making a big mistake if it believes that it can get out of its current dilemma by running forward, by continuing to use force," he added.
"The way out of this dilemma is to go back to the basics, to preserve international resolutions," MENA quoted him as commenting on the future of peace in the region in the light of the Palestinian Intifada and Israeli aggression.
"Israel should have realized a lot of truths including the fact that its dealings with the Arabs in this way will not do," Hariri said.
"The Arabs will never give in to feelings of depression," he added.
An Israeli soldier was killed and two others wounded by the Hizbollah explosion in the Shebaa Farms, a mountainous region on the Lebanese-Syrian borders occupied by Israel since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, the Israeli military said.
The bombing triggered heavy Israeli artillery shelling and air strikes on the other side of the border, the first using warplanes since Israel ended its 22-year occupation of southern Lebanon after a punishing guerrilla war spearheaded by Hizbollah -- CAIRO (AFP)
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