Hezbollah says Gulf normalisation with Israel to blame for Netanyahu's West Bank annexation threat
Lebanon's powerful Hezbollah organisation on Wednesday blamed Gulf countries for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's shock election pledge to annex the West Bank's Jordan Valley.
The Shia paramilitary group, which earlier this month exchanged cross-border fire with the Israel army, argued that steps towards closer Gulf-Israeli ties were emboldening Netanyahu against the Palestinians.
"Measures toward normalisation and Gulf attempts to foster alliances with the enemy have created an opportunity to chip away at more Arab lands," Hezbollah said in a statement.
Netanyahu, who is campaigning for 17 September elections, said on Tuesday that if re-elected, he would annex the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea.
Both are in the occupied Palestinian West Bank.
Gulf countries condemned Netanyahu's pledge, but Hezbollah argued that recent contacts between Israel and some of the US-allied, oil-rich monarchies had encouraged Netanyahu to take a more aggressive stance.
Hezbollah accused Gulf countries - most of them rivals of its own sponsor Iran - of "giving (Israel) a right of aggression against the Arab people of Lebanon and Palestine".
Supported by Washington, several Gulf countries, including the UAE, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia, have recently taken steps toward a thaw in relations with Israel, which shares their hostility to Iran.