‘DEVELOP YOUR TANKS THE WAY YOU WANT … THESE WILL BE CRUSHED AND DESTROYED IN OUR HILLS’ – Nasrallah tells Israel

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HASSAN Nasrallah, secretary general of Lebanon’s Hezbollah, has spoken at a ceremony marking the third anniversary of the July 2006 war with Israel.

Speaking in Beirut’s Southern Suburb, he said: ‘Brothers and sisters we are talking about a historic epic that was forged by Lebanon and the people of Lebanon, a real miracle that was performed by Lebanon and the people of Lebanon. I wish to present a reading that entails the adoption of stands and entails responsibilities – responsibilities and stands that concern all of us. . .

‘However, before I go into our main subject, I want to read to you a short text that is connected with the results of the July 2006 war. The text is by the present prime minister of the enemy, Netanyahu. He said this some time after the July 2006 war and before he became the present prime minister.

‘Netanyahu, who is comparing the 1967 six-day war to the 33-day war of 2006, says: “The six-day war made the continuation of the State of Israel possible and enabled the conclusion of peace treaties which we signed. The 1967 war pointed to the transformation from a state that had a question mark on the origin of its existence into a state that it is not possible to defeat.

‘ “This was achieved by expanding the state’s territory from 12km at its narrowest prior to the 1967 war

to 70km, and by our presence in the mountains of Judea and Samaria” – that is the West Bank – “whose altitude is 1,000 metres, thus preventing the possibility of throwing the Jews into the sea.”

‘In the aftermath of the results of the six-day war and the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) war in 1973, the consciousness of a part of the Arab World was pervaded by the saying that Israel is a state that cannot be defeated. The Israeli victory and deterrence formed a decisive factor in the Arab states

reaching the conclusion of the need to recognise the existence of the State of Israel and to conclude a

peace agreement with it.

‘Thus we signed peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan, and we reached indications of reconciliation with the Palestinians, whereas, ever since the unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000 and the unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip – and now after the second Lebanon war, the trend has been reversed. Now it has become clear that Israel is no longer a state that cannot be defeated, and the question mark on the origin of the survival of the State of Israel is looming once again, not only among enemies, but also among friends. Even Israel’s friends are asking: “Can this state continue to survive or not?”

‘Enough about this matter: let us talk about the results of the July war. Netanyahu was talking before the (2008-09) Gaza war. After the legendary steadfastness, and the other miraculous victory in Gaza, those words are confirmed more than at any time in the past.

‘Let us talk about our subject. In the past few weeks we have seen a great Israeli media and political clamour that was backed by some US and Western stands – especially the British. The subjects raised by the statements, clamour and threats were varied. They posed many questions and imposed themselves on the Lebanese and regional political reality. Many contacts were held regarding this matter and this dossier.

‘To take up the matter from the end – for we will get to it headline by headline – I say to you that we do not believe that those threats and all the clamour we heard from Zionist officials indicate or signify that there will be an Israeli war on Lebanon soon. We do not believe that.

‘Those threats and that clamour have other aims, numerous aims that include psychological warfare, but not only psychological warfare. The issue is not only that those threats are either psychological warfare or that they, the Israelis, are going for a real war.

‘No. There is no real war now. The subject is the threats and one of the aims of those threats is psychological warfare. In short, we can build on an indication – of course we do not build on it 100 per cent – namely that the Israelis have now become similar to what we used to be decades ago. He who speaks a great deal does not frighten. He who threatens a great deal does not frighten. When you see the Israelis are talking a great deal, it means that they will not do anything. Yes, when they are silent, when they weigh down like a snake, like a serpent, we must open our ears well and be vigilant.

‘Those threats and that clamour have many aims. We talk about the aims in order to confront them. I want to rely on Israeli texts, not on my own analyses. First, among the aims of the media clamour is the issue of forming the Lebanese government, by saying to those who are forming the Lebanese government that if you include Hezbollah in the government then Lebanon must bear the consequences, such as this and that, and we will destroy the infrastructure, and the Lebanese government will bear the responsibility, and so on and so forth.

‘That is clear. It means pressure will be applied on the Lebanese government, first to obstruct the formation of a new Lebanese government, second in order to exert pressure on Hezbollah so that it will not participate in the Lebanese government that is being formed at present; and third – and that is a clear indication – the Zionist enemy is pained, disturbed, and worried by the formation of a national consensus government, a national unity government, and by the formation of a government of partnership and an all-inclusive national participation. That is the matter.

‘Of course I do not want to speak a great deal about each aim of the threats and clamour so that I will have time to speak about the entire subject. The response should be that:

1. We move quickly with everyone cooperating in forming the national accord government, the national unity government, the national consensus government, the coalition – call it what you will. There is a security, political, social, economic, and a subsistence need to have a government in Lebanon as soon as possible. Thus, the first response is that we cooperate in order to have a national accord government as soon as possible.

‘2. Hezbollah should participate effectively in that government. Perhaps you heard me at the anniversary of the Al-Ridwan Operation say that now we will enter the government, and ponder whether we will participate or we will not participate, and what we and our allies will do. Now, in order to spite Netanyahu, we must participate. I am joking.

‘That is the first response. Thus we will abort this aim of those threats when we, as soon as possible, come up to the Lebanese, the Zionists, and the world with a national accord government and a national unity government. Then we will be saying that all that clamour is of no value.

‘3. One of the aims of the clamour is to attempt to restore the back-and-forth, tension, and crisis situation to the Lebanese arena. It is not I who is saying that. The Israelis have said frankly that it seems the situation has calmed down in Lebanon in recent weeks and the tension has eased. There is soft and quiet discussion among the political forces, and that makes the resistance comfortable: “We” (the Israelis) “must not allow the resistance in Lebanon to be comfortable, therefore let us once again raise the subject of threats, the weapons, the resistance, and Hezbollah. We will threaten the Lebanese that we will destroy you and hit your government and your infrastructure, so that the tug-of-war returns with this side defending, that side attacking, and another side criticizing”.

‘Of course, that aim has also not been achieved. Thank God, the general climate in the country is good and positive. There has been a limited number of aberrant voices that have commented but soon the climate quieted down, and consequently the Lebanese people and political forces were not drawn behind that Israeli aim.

‘4. Among the aims of this clamour is to modify UNIFIL’s mission – as a reminder, today UNIFIL in southern Lebanon has one mission: namely to support the Lebanese Army and the Lebanese legitimate forces. That is all. Consequently, UNIFIL cannot erect check-points, raid houses, or search places, for that is the task of the sovereign institutions. Thus, if it is asked to provide support and assistance, UNIFIL comes to help. They wanted to modify that mission so as to transform UNIFIL into a multinational force, similar to what they had proposed during the July 2006 war, so that it operates independently of the Lebanese Army and the Lebanese government . . .

‘5. Among the aims of those threats and alarmism, is to open anew the dossier of the armament of the resistance. . . In the course of those discussions there is talk among Israeli officials about the arming of the resistance and the strength of the resistance. They begin to incite the international community and to exert pressure on Lebanon, the Lebanese government, Syria and Iran and to provoke a clamour that, unless decisive and firm measures are taken to prevent the resistance from arming, then the region is on the brink of war.

‘This is one of the objectives of this clamour. . . However, in commenting on this objective, I would like to tell all the Lebanese the following: ‘O our dear and beloved people of this dear and beloved land, we are bordering an enemy whose historical ambitions are known to us. It continues to rely on claims that go back over 3,000 years in history. In view of this enemy’s ambitions and threats, and in a world that is ruled by the law of the jungle and not the international law – in this world where the rule of the jungle prevails, the survival is for strong people, strong countries, and strong nations.

‘Those who imagine that they can protect their people or land through alliances and relations must be alert. They must learn from the experiments of history, otherwise we might be sold in the international political slave market when the appropriate price is paid. No people are protected by alliances or relations. They are first and foremost protected by their own strength, their unity, their resolve, their determination and willpower, and their insistence on living in dignity.

‘Another objective of this clamour and these threats is the psychological warfare. This is one of a number of objectives. The permanent and continuous psychological warfare is intended to undermine the convictions of our people and the convictions of the peoples of the region. It is intended to weaken our minds and hearts, our awareness, determination, willpower, seriousness, our self-confidence and our hopes for the future, and keep the Lebanese people and the peoples of the region in a state of worry, tension and disorder.

‘This psychological warfare is an abortive war. . . This psychological warfare is of no use. It was useless in the past and will be useless at present as well as in the future. . . After the experience of the July war in Lebanon, and the experience of the Gaza war, I tell all the students of these wars, here and elsewhere in the world: Before looking for arms and the type of these arms, before asking whether we have anti-armour weapons or not, whether we brought in aerial defence weapons or not, the kinds of missiles we have and how many there are – before asking about the weapons, their type and quantities, the combat formations, the strategy, the tactics and the plans and the planning, you should look for the human being.

‘I am prepared to repeat this sentence to you and to the world, based on our current reality and the future threats, and on an increasing certainty and greater conviction. I repeat this sentence and say: As I had promised you victory at all times, I renew my promise of victory, God willing.

‘We move to the other issue in my speech; namely, the issue related to the war as a war, apart from threats that I have been talking about. I am doing this because some have said that these threats are Israeli preparations for the 15 September war. This means that some have fixed the date on 15 September. Some think that the war will start by the end of September. . . Will this war break out in 2010, 2011, 2012, or 2113, or God knows when? Some believe that in principle a war is coming, God knows when. They cited various and numerous political indications to prove the credibility of this belief . . .

‘Now in view of this hypothesis we have two options as Lebanese people. Let us talk about our responsibilities. Let us not stop at our analyses. The first option is to capitulate. We might tell the Israelis to slow down, and then we might ask them: What do you want? Probably the Israelis might say: First thing is disarming the resistance. I do not want armed resistance in Lebanon. Based on this we might say: That is simple. Come, fellow Lebanese, let us hide our weapons. Then we might hide our weapons because we are a weak country that has no means of defending itself.

‘The second option is to reject this. This does not mean that we will start a war. . . Therefore, the second option is either to work together to prevent the enemy from launching a new war against Lebanon, or to emerge victorious if the enemy launches such a war. This is the second option. . . Lebanon must have the necessary deterrent military power and strength. . . If we present this logic and this scene to the Israelis, they will begin to think a thousand times. . .

‘My question to the military and political experts, to analysts, and to you now is: Does the current Israeli Army or the present Israeli government have the power or ability to launch a war that can destroy the resistance in Lebanon? I tell you no. . . Today, I can say with great pride that the Lebanese resistance has offered the world a military school. We are better entitled to this school than others because we created it with the blood of our martyrs and brain of our mujahidin, headed by martyr leader Al-Hajj Imad Mughniyah. . .

‘Yes, it is also our right to tell the Israelis: We told you during the July war that if you shell Beirut, we will shell Tel Aviv. And we tell you today: If you shell Beirut or the Southern Suburb, we will shell Tel Aviv. We want the enemy to understand this: If you launch war on Lebanon, imagining that you can bomb any city or village in Lebanon, I will then tell you that we are now capable of shelling any city or town in your usurping entity. . .

‘We told it and today we tell it and stress to it again the following: Develop your tanks the way you want and train the brigades and divisions you are preparing to invade our land as much as you want, but I tell you that these will be crushed and destroyed on our hills and mountains and in our valleys and villages.

‘This will happen if we build this force and it is there. What is required is boosting it. We made the enemy understand this. Does this not deter Israel from waging a new war on Lebanon? This prevents and deters it and protects the country. I stress to you – and I am not talking about figures but saying what I am supposed to say – is that in the same way as there were surprises in the July war, there will be surprises in any Israeli war, God willing.

‘By saying this to the Israelis we deter and prevent them. Let them think a million times before waging a war on Lebanon. Let them look for other ways to confront us, but not war.’