"If you bomb our capital Beirut, we will bomb the capital of your usurping entity," Hezbollah head honcho Hassan Nasrallah told Israelis yesterday. "We will bomb Tel Aviv." Tel Aviv, of course, is not the capital of Israel; Jerusalem is. I understand that Nasrallah does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem. But as the reference to "your usurping entity" makes clear, neither does he recognize Israeli sovereignty over any part of Israel. The refusal to acknowledge Jerusalem as Israel's capital is usually associated with more moderate critics, for whom "the occupation" refers not to the entire state but to the land Israel took over in the Six Day War, including the eastern part of the city, which has been officially incorporated into Israel. The continuing dispute over the status of East Jerusalem is the reason most countries (including the U.S.) still have their embassies in Tel Aviv. But for Nasrallah, who sees the entire state as illegitimate, what's the point of pretending that Tel Aviv, not Jerusalem, is the capital?
Presumably it's to avoid the awkwardness of threatening to bomb a city that Muslims consider holy. Killing Israeli Arabs at random is one thing, but dropping a rocket on the Al-Aqsa Mosque or the Dome of the Rock is another. Or maybe Hezbollah's "long-range" rockets just can't reach that far. Still, Nasrallah could just as well proclaim that Haifa is the seat of the Israeli government, in which case Hezbollah has already bombed the capital. Take that, usurping entity!