Israel does not seek another military clash in Lebanon, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday in a bid to downplay comments by one of his ministers.
Earlier in the day, Minister Yossi Peled said that he believes another war on Israel's northern border is only a matter of time. Yet in a statement published by Netanyahu's office, the PM says that "the State of Israel does not want any confrontation with Lebanon," adding that Israel seeks peace with its neighbors.
The prime minister's statement was issued over concerns that Minister Peled's remarks may be seen as a belligerent message on Israel's part. On Friday, the alert level was raised on the Lebanese side of the northern border in response to an IDF drill in the region.
PM Netanyahu ahs endorsed a restrained approach on the northern border in order to avoid needles friction vis-à-vis Hezbollah. His latest message was aimed to convey Israel's desire to avoid war to Hezbollah, Lebanon, and the international community at large.
Meanwhile, senior Hezbollah figure Sheikh Nabil Kauk charged that Israel's ongoing threats put the whole region on a path of "danger and aggression."
Speaking at a memorial ceremony, Kauk said that "these threats express the growing fear and horror within Israel as the anniversary of Commander Imad Mugniyah's assassination approaches."
The Hizbullah figure added that Israel wishes to sow fear in Lebanon, thereby compensating itself for the "frustration and bitterness of the defeat it sustained in July 2006." Kauk added that Israel's threats will not deter Hezbollah or prompt it to leave the path of Jihad.
Roee Nahmias contributed to the story