HEZBOLLAH leader Hassan Nasrallah, speaking via a giant screen on Saturday, vowed to respond to attacks on Hezbollah.

HEZBOLLAH leader Hassan Nasrallah, speaking via a giant screen on Saturday, vowed to respond to attacks on Hezbollah.

The speech was to mark the seventh anniversary of Hezbollah’s victory in the July 2006 war with Israel.

He opened by saying: ‘At the beginning, we should also remember what happened yesterday and pray to God to have mercy on and grant great rewards to the wronged martyrs who fell in the terrorist bombing in the southern suburb of Beirut.’

He continued: ‘Brothers and sisters, your historic victory on 25 May 2000, as we have said a few days ago and on more than one occasion, has ended and finished off the greater Israel project. This is because Israel and its army, which cannot stay in Lebanon, the weakest Arab state, the weakest and beyond any doubt, in appearance, cannot establish a state from the Nile to the Euphrates.

‘Your historic victory on 14 August 2006 has also ended and finished off the superior Israel project. Israel wanted to present itself as a capable, arrogant, and dominant force that imposes its conditions on the Palestinians, Lebanese, Syrians, Jordanians, Egyptians, all Arabs, all the peoples of the region, and Iran.

‘It also wanted to be a horrible and terrible power so that when its name and that of its army are mentioned, hearts and nerves will tremble. This fell on 14 August 2006. You who gather in Ayta today prove that this has fallen. Based on confessions by its leaders, generals, and people, Israel has emerged from the July war losing, failing, weak, and defeated.

‘It has been continuing to nurse its wounds until today through training, manoeuvres, planning, and this and that.

‘However, given these two great victories, two strategic results have been achieved for Lebanon and the peoples and governments of the region as well. The first result of the first victory is that a popular organized resistance that is armed and embraced by its people and kinfolk is capable of achieving liberation.

‘We do not want to speak the language of philosophical theories. The proof is what happened on 25 May 2000, and what happened in the Gaza Strip later. This is a strategic result on the intellectual level, on the level of options, on the level of visions, and on the level of action.

‘This is because some might acknowledge, by way of argument, that popular resistance is a force for liberation due to the fact that it is anchored in the use of guerrilla warfare, protracted struggle, engaging the enemy in a war of attrition, using the time factor, using a multiplicity of tactics, not to mention the enemy’s inability to withstand the struggle for a long time, and the fact that all this forces the enemy to carry out a withdrawal.

‘However, a popular resistance cannot be a defence force in the face of a ferocious and mighty military offensive – one that is multifaceted and multi-layered. This is how some might argue.

‘Well, the July war and the experience of that war showed clearly that a popular resistance that is organised and embraced by its people is capable of serving as a genuine defence force at a time when the country that comes under attack does not boast the military capabilities, the technology, the hardware and military strength, and the equipment boasted by an attacking enemy.

‘The proof is what happened in the July war. The July war created a full-fledged school of thought that has been studied at international studies centres since then; and it is also being taught at the world’s military academies even though some here might be wagering on getting rid of this school of thought or abandoning it.

‘We now reiterate our commitment to this school of thought, and to this path – the path of resistance to liberate the remaining parts of our occupied territory and to defend our people, kinfolk, villages, homeland Lebanon, and its sovereignty, territory, water, wealth, and resources.

‘In addition, we reiterate our unflinching and strong faith, which has been proven by the experiences of the many long years; namely, the past 65 years – this is because what we are now experiencing is the outcome of all these experiences undergone by the governments, peoples, armies, parties, and resistance factions and movements in the region – that the most precious assets boasted by Lebanon now, the best that Lebanon now boasts, and the strongest asset that Lebanon boasts is the golden equation anchored in the army, the people, and the resistance.

‘This is what we reiterate today. Similarly, we say to friends and foes alike that we will stay here, on the borders and in border villages, not to mention the interior and backyard of Lebanon, to plant our farms with our hands on the borders, to build our houses, not only on the borders, but also at the wire fence.

May the UNIFIL (UN Interim Force in Lebanon) and other agencies excuse us about this. We seek to build our houses at the wire fence; and you have already built your houses there. We will protect the waters of our rivers even if these waters were to sink into the ground or to go to waste in the seawater.

‘That said, we will not allow the waters to be stolen by the enemy. Our state must extricate its oil and gas from our sea and at our maritime borders with occupied Palestine. Meanwhile, Israelis cannot do anything to us.

‘Today, I will tell you more than this. With the message addressed by the quality ambush and the quality operation carried out in Al-Labbunah, we today reiterate what I said a few days ago: It is no longer permissible for any Israeli soldier under any pretext or any kind of leniency and tolerance to make one step to desecrate our Lebanese territory which was purged by the blood of our martyrs.

‘These feet will be cut off along with the necks. We will not be lenient in defending our villages, land, people, and I tell the Israelis that the era of Israeli military tourism on Lebanese border and inside the Lebanese territory is over.

‘These times have gone once and for all.

‘Moreover, I would like to affirm to you, O brothers and sisters, that your resistance today, seven years after the July war victory, and despite all that took place over these tough years,– I would like to affirm to you, not by way of courtesy, nor by way of seeking to boost your morale, but rather based on figures, statistics, and accurate information – that your resistance nowadays is stronger than ever before, that it boasts more hardware than ever before, that it boasts greater numerical strength than ever before, and that its will and resolve are firmer than ever before.

‘Let me move on to the second episode. As we have said, during our handling of the second episode, we need to be calmer, to speak quietly so that we together may shoulder the responsibility. For this audience; for this people; for this environment; for these children, women, men, and elderly people; for storekeepers and shopkeepers in the southern suburb, this is not something new.

‘Whenever it failed to face up to the men of resistance, the Israeli enemy resorted to attacking people – the constituency of the resistance, the people of the resistance, and the incubator of the resistance. This even included people who might not be supportive of the resistance. But, they happened to be living in this country, in these areas.

The history of Israeli wars and Israeli massacres, including the first Qana massacre, the second Qana massacre, as well as the preceding and subsequent massacres – those committed in Sihna, Al-Nabatiyah al-Fawqa, in Hula in the past, in many other towns, in the southern suburb, in Al-Shayyah, in B’albak, in Al-Nabi Shit, in Ali al-Nahri, and elsewhere during the July war – all these massacres offer cogent proof.

‘It goes without saying that based on its behaviour, the enemy views this as our weakness. They think that they are putting pressure on us where it hurts. This is what happens when the enemy fails to confront us militarily.

‘They think that this is a weakness. However, it is a source of pride. Why? This is because this indicates that the relationship between the resistance – between resistance leaders and resistance men on the one hand and people on the other – is an emotional, human, ethical, spiritual, and morale-related, and that they are one and the same.

‘Nor is it the end of the world. Likewise, this is neither the beginning of the battle, nor is it the end of the battle. It is only a link in this long path.’

• Continued tomorrow