07:36 GMT25 February 2021
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    The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have launched an operation they say is aimed at neutralizing alleged tunnels dug from Lebanon into Israel by the Hezbollah organization.

    The IDF announced the operation on Twitter, but used photographs of a Hezbollah branch in Iraq, not Lebanon, according to the flags held by the fighters.

    The move comes just days after Israeli police on Sunday recommended for a third time that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu be indicted on fraud and bribery charges in a scheme to get positive media coverage.

    Miko Peled, a former member of the IDF turned pro-Palestinian activist and author of "The General's Son — A Journey of an Israeli in Palestine," says that the anti-Hezbollah offensive is "of course" related to the corruption probe.

    ​"When [Avigdor] Lieberman, the previous defense minister, resigned, he handed Netanyahu a wonderful gift, which is the Ministry of Defense, and now Netanyahu is defense minister, as well as many other things," Peled told Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear.

    "Being defense minister allows him to parade and portray himself as this military expert," he added.

    "Yesterday, if you look at the Israeli papers, there was some mention of the corruption charges. Today, it's all southern Lebanon, it's all Hezbollah, it's all pictures of Netanyahu with his senior security staff, with the generals and so-forth. So this is a great PR and political gift that he got when Lieberman resigned, and now he's making use of it," Peled told Loud & Clear hosts John Kiriakou and Brian Becker. "And of course the police chief who recommended that Netanyahu be indicted was just fired."

    Former Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman resigned in protest of Netanyahu's ceasefire in Gaza on November 14, which made Netanyahu officially the defense minister. Netanyahu also occupies the positions of Foreign Minister and Communications Minister in addition to the position he was elected to — Prime Minister.

    "He's half the Israeli government, practically," Kiriakou commented on what is considered to be the "one genuine democracy in the Middle East" by outgoing US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley.

    "It's ridiculous, but it allows him a lot of wonderful PR and a lot of political maneuvering, and he does it really well, to the point that indicting him seems extremely unlikely," Peled told Kiriakou and Becker.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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    corruption, fraud, Bribes, bribery, Israel, IDF, Hezbollah, Israeli Defense Forces (IDF)
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