Hezbollah falls in Lebanese vote


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Preliminary election results in Lebanon show that an American-backed alliance has defeated Hezbollah.

The March 14 coalition reportedly has retained a majority in the 128-seat Parliament, according to reports, but Hezbollah will still have a place in the Lebanese government. The United States and Israel consider Hezbollah to be a terrorist organization.

About 55 percent of registered voters turned out for the election, an unusually large turnout that required some voters to wait up to four hours to cast a ballot.

"Political developments in Lebanon are being followed with great interest by Israel and by all of the states in the region and the international community as well," said Israel’s Foreign Ministry in a statement. "It is incumbent upon any government that is formed in Beirut to ensure that Lebanon will not be used as a base for violence against the State of Israel and against Israelis. The Government of Lebanon must act to strengthen the country’s stability and security, to stop arms smuggling into its territory, and to implement the relevant Security Council resolutions, first and foremost Resolutions 1559 and 1701.

"Israel considers the Lebanese government responsible for any military or otherwise hostile activity that emanates from its territory," the statement said.

The United States has said that future aid to Lebanon will be determined based on the new government formed after the elections.

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