EUROPEAN Union governments agreed on Monday to put the military wing of Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah on the EU terror list in a major reversal of policy, driven by alleged concerns over the group’s activities in Europe.
This was despite an appeal by the Lebanon presidency on Thursday when it asked Brussels not to blacklist Hezbollah on the grounds the militant group was an ‘essential component of Lebanese society.’
Britain, backed by France and the Netherlands among others, argued that Hezbollah’s growing involvement in the Syrian war means Lebanon is already in a fragile situation and that the EU must weigh the possibility of future attacks in Europe.
Monday’s move also followed a major speech on Friday by Hezbollah Secretary General Hasan Nasrallah, during the annual Iftar Banquet, hosted by the Islamic Resistance Support Association; via a Large Screen.
In a wide-ranging speech he said ‘there is a new equation in Lebanon, and there is a new situation in Lebanon. . .
‘What happened in Lebanon is that there is a popular resistance that is supported by the people and that has, what we have mentioned a short while ago, faith, insight, determination, will, and field action, readiness to make sacrifices, capabilities, and good use of these capabilities.’
He warned that Israel has ‘no limits to its ambitions. The other day, there was a clear statement by the energy minister who sounded the alarm to all Lebanese, but things have passed as usual.
‘He said that the Israelis can siphon off our oil and gas, Lebanon’s oil and gas. No one has stirred a finger. This is the Israeli. If it can encroach on oil, water, land, sovereignty, decision-making, and this and that, it will do so. This issue is done with. So, this will continue to be a big obligation. . .
‘So, let us talk about the serious dangers. Let us see whether there are serious dangers or not and what is the size and nature of the serious dangers, providing I am talking about the Israeli dangers.
Then let us see what options are available to us as Lebanese and what the use of these or those options is. . .
‘We should not act as if we are discussing a scientific, legal, constitutional, or technical issue; namely, whether these weapons (of Hezbollah) are legitimate or not. Let us put this discussion aside.
‘Let us ask another question: Is the resistance within the framework of the map of the available options in Lebanon and is there any need for the resistance, for these weapons, these capabilities, or not?
‘What is the use of discussing whether these weapons are legitimate or not. This will lead to nowhere.
‘If we are talking about land, then we should realise that this is our country, this is our enemy, these are the ambitions and threats, this is the region around us, and this is the whole world around us; this is the international situation, this is the US situation, this is Europe’s situation, this is the situation of the Arab states, this is the situation of the states around us, and this is our situation in Lebanon; and these are the dangers posed to us and these are the available options.
‘So, this is how we should approximate the issue in a scientific and objective way.
‘The big question is what we should wager on in order to deter these Israeli dangers, ambitions, and threats to our country, and in order to protect our country, as Lebanese.
‘For example, should we obtain guarantees from the Americans or have an alliance with the Americans, but against who, against Israel?
‘This has not been the case over one or two years only, but the Arab and Muslim peoples have been living this experiment since Palestine was lost in 1948. The United States will sell out all Arabs, the entire Arab League, and the entire Islamic nation for the sake of Israel.
‘This is because Israel is America’s first project in the region. Even if we obtain guarantees from America or have an alliance with the Americans, or we say that Lebanon is a 100 per cent US country, that America is our friend and ally and we have strategic and historical ties with it, and that we are at the service of the Americans, because of Israel’s ambitions, this is useless.
‘Cannot we see what is taking place around us and how America abandons its allies who have served it for tens of years for its interests, taking into consideration that its top interest in the region is Israel?
‘Cannot we see that America is no longer the power that can impose anything it wants on the world? It was defeated in Iraq and withdrew defeated and it is now discussing how it can contain its defeat in Afghanistan.
‘When it approximates any of the region’s file, it approximates it with fear and caution because it is no longer the strong United States. The same thing applies to Europe.
‘Just see how Netanyahu ridicules, threatens, and attacks the Europeans over any issue, whether the Hezbollah issue and putting it on the European list of terrorism, the issue of the agricultural products of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank, and any other such issues. This is the situation.
‘What is the Arab situation around us like? Even when all Arab states were in good shape, in terms of the general meaning of security and stability, and when the Arab League was intact, were they able to do anything?
‘These are not questions for the future, but the answers of these questions exist in the past. All Lebanese have lived them and all our generations have lived these facts and these events.
‘Consequently, things are fully clear. Like the early beginnings, there is no Arab League, no Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, no UN Security Council, no America, and no Europe. Our problem, brothers, is with Israel, not with anybody else.
‘In the problem with Israel, O Lebanese, you have none to rely on but God and yourselves, your will, your resolve, your action, your faith, your readiness for sacrifice, and your dignity and readiness to defend this dignity.
‘If we have friends in Syria, Iran, or anywhere in the world who wants to stand by our side and help us, then this is one of the blessings of Almighty God. . .
‘Hence, I would like to stress tonight that the resistance that you support and celebrate tonight is based on this logic, this argumentation, this experiment, and this evidence.
‘It is also based on achievements and victories that have proved that it is worthwhile. . .
The resistance is based on this logic and on this popular will. People are convinced in what I am talking about. I am not a resistance faction dictating these convictions on people. People have come to believe in these convictions gradually, based on experience over years.
‘They tested, saw, prevailed, suffered, and offered martyrs and wounded. They were bombed and displaced, and they achieved. They saw the friend and foe, and they saw who is with you and who is not with you. They saw who cares about you and who does not care about you.
‘Therefore, when we come to talk to people about these things today in 2013, we find that these convictions are implanted in their hearts. They are like the blood that runs in people’s veins. They are part of their souls, hearts, and minds. They are part of their conscious and subconscious, and part of their feelings and sentiments.
‘Therefore, the resistance in Lebanon is strong and is firmly implanted in the people’s innermost feelings. That is why it enjoys this support, love, and great embracement. It is not a transient or alien state. Thus, it is unbreakable.
‘I am not talking about Hezbollah only, which is one of the resistance factions, but about all the resistance factions in the course of the resistance.
‘All those who tried to break or isolate this resistance since its beginning have failed to do so, for the resistance is not an organization, a party, a movement, or a faction. The resistance is an overwhelming and firm popular will, coupled with faith, insight, and great readiness for sacrifice. . .
‘The honourable people of this country have invested in the resistance with the dearest they have. They have invested with their loved ones, their blood, their souls, and dear ones. Therefore, the resistance is those people. The resistance is not a party or an organisation that can be besieged, isolated, or harmed.’
After calling for a national defence strategy, Nasarallah added that ‘when you see there is a resistance to the Israeli enemy and the Zionist project, then it is quite normal for this resistance to be targeted. . .
‘This is all part of the battle. This is normal. Why? This because since its launch with its new version after 1982 and with all its factions, the resistance in Lebanon managed to obstruct the American-Israeli objectives of invading Lebanon in 1982.
‘It also managed to change the balances and the equations. The equations of the conflict changed on 25 May 2000 in the interest of the resistance and the resistance movements in the region.
‘In 2006 it managed to destroy the New Middle East plan, which was the American plan of the Neoconservatives. Therefore, quite naturally, this resistance is targeted.
‘What was the objective of the enemy in 2006? It was to crush, smash, and eliminate the resistance. However, it failed. . .
‘We Lebanese have decided that Lebanon will remain for its people, that our water will be for the Lebanese, and that our oil wealth will be for the Lebanese.
‘We will not accept our sovereignty to be harmed, our land to be occupied, or our people be abducted. They (the Israelis) still abduct people. They abduct a Lebanese farmer or a Lebanese citizen. Afterward, contacts are held, after which the issue is resolved within 24 or 48 hours.
‘However, more importantly, the Israelis know that this issue cannot be tolerated. Since we have made this choice, then there will be consequences. It has had consequences since 1982. This is called the costs and sacrifices of a free, independent, and dignified country whose land is liberated and whose people live in dignity. This is quite normal.
‘We have shouldered the responsibility for these tasks from the beginning until now, and we have faced numerous difficulties, tests, ordeals, and plots, and overcome them, with the support of Almighty God and, God be praised, with the people’s determination, patience with us, sacrifices, magnanimity and sincerity.
‘Yes, we, all of us as Lebanese, and the entire region, entered a new phase. I also tell you that, God willing, and with the same spirit, perspicacity, determination, and will, and with the same performance, accuracy, patience, forbearance, and readiness for making sacrifices, we will bypass this phase. Rest assured that we will. . .
‘From now on, nobody will be able to impose on Lebanon his conditions and plans.’
On the political situation in Lebanon, Nasrallah said: ‘I think we can either calm the atmosphere or we can increase tension.
‘However, eventually, and as experience taught us, and as we tell the Syrians, the Egyptian, and the Iraqis, the Palestinians and others; namely, that there is no other option for people who want to live together, build their state, and face the future challenges, except dialogue, talks, and meetings, regardless of the enmity or the estrangement or hostility.’