THE Hezbollah leader Hussein Nazrallah has been speaking about the significance of the heavy clashes with Israeli troops on the border with Israel, in the Shab’a Farms area, a part of Lebanon still occupied by Israel.
He said: ‘The clash that took place on Monday is not a transient one, in terms of its causes, nature, or repercussions.’
He continued: ‘The Israelis, for several months, have had a certain reading of the situation in Lebanon, and they acted based on this reading. If we want to understand or know the Israeli understanding or approach, we should follow the statements by enemy officials on the one hand; that is, what they say, and, on the other hand, the field performance in the south and in Lebanon; that is, what they do.
‘We should link their statements to their actions to discover the Israeli understanding and background concerning what happened recently.’
Nasrallah added: ‘I have said previously, on more than one public occasion, that there could be some Lebanese who understand economy and politics better than we do, but allow us to claim that we are the specialists when it comes to the Israeli issue.
‘People who have not been following statements by Israeli officials over the past months are doing that because the Israelis do not mean much to them, as if Lebanon is away from Israel.
‘Maybe they read what the newspapers Tishrin and Al-Ba’th (Syrian dailies) say, but what Ha’aretz, Yediot Aharonot, and Ma’ariv say, this is maybe the last thing they may hear about by chance.
‘We do not do that. We are specialised in the Israeli issue, and we follow what the Israeli officials say.
We know what the Israeli press says, and also we are on the ground and we are following in detail what is taking place in the field.’
Quoting Israeli press articles and statements, Nasrallah says that the Israelis think that Lebanon had changed and that ‘the Syrian forces’ departure from Lebanon, according to the Israeli understanding, has weakened the resistance and weakened the will of the resistance.’
Nasrallah also notes that according to the Israeli view of things, there are divisions in the Lebanese arena and there are differences in views over the resistance weapons.
He adds that the Israelis think that ‘the level of international pressure on Lebanon, government and people, and on the resistance, particularly Hezbollah, is unprecedented.’ He says that the Israelis concluded that Hezbollah was facing a very difficult domestic, regional, and international situation.
Nasrallah says: ‘What helped this Israeli analysis was our calm. We were quiet. We had been quiet for six or seven months. Things were quiet at the Shab’a Farms and the situation was quiet on the border.
‘The Israeli planes were flying back and forth. Therefore, the Israelis misread our calm and the fact that we did not react at all to their violations. They added this fact to their political analysis of the domestic, regional, and international situation and concluded that this was the right moment to advance into Lebanon. For what purpose? Simply, to change the rules of the battle – they call it rules of the game – in order to change the rules of the game or battle.
‘There were rules for the fighting or confrontation that had existed before the withdrawal in May 2000, and there are rules that were established after the withdrawal in 2000.’
He continued: ‘The Israeli violations continued. There was shelling in the periphery of Al-Naqurah, but what was more serious is that, for the first time, Israeli helicopters were over the coast between Sidon and Tyre.
‘This is very serious because this means starting new assassination operations. Of whom? We do not know. And for the first time, Israeli gunships reached the area opposite Adlun and close to the coast.
‘The international community did not see this. The Security Council did not see this. The world is not seeing all the Israeli violations. Killing, or kidnapping, the Lebanese fisherman is not seen by the world.
Violating Lebanon’s sovereignty is not seen by the world.’
Nasrallah said: ‘This confrontation was unavoidable, despite its harshness and violence. I tell you that the response by the Islamic Resistance was harsh and violent. What you saw on television screens was only part of that response, and not the whole response.’
Nasrallah said the aim of this ‘fierce and violent confrontation is to fulfil a duty and confront the incursions and attacks. There was a message which should have been delivered, and indeed it was delivered.’
‘Nasrallah said that the message says that the ‘Israelis and the entire world must understand that the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon’ has not changed despite all local, regional, and world developments.
He said that this ‘resistance remains unchanged, and this party remains unchanged, with its courage, firmness, willpower, and determination to continue the path, achieve the goals, protect the homeland, and serve the cause regardless of all sacrifices.’
Nasrallah added: ‘The facts on the ground over the past few days proved the truthfulness of this message. Through their statements and stands, the families of the martyrs proved the truthfulness of this message.
‘Nothing has changed. They must know that we are not weak. We are not weak and will not be weak. We were not and will not be afraid. We were not and will not be frightened.
‘All Israeli calculations are based on illusion. Have they not said that they were on the highest degree of alertness on the borders?’
He cited the Israeli press as saying that the command of the northern region lost control in the area for 45 minutes.
Nasrallah says: ‘Doubtless, one of the elements of strength was this Lebanese-Syrian unity and agreement. The atmosphere that prevailed in Lebanon against the backdrop of this issue (assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri) in Lebanon has negatively affected the situation in general.
‘The national consensus is an element of strength.’
He said: ‘The other point is that much has been said about some issues. Some people and the Israelis say on a daily basis that Hezbollah or the resistance want to kidnap or capture Israeli soldiers. Is this a crime? No, this is not a crime.
‘We want to be clear and agree that if anybody in Lebanon believes that capturing an Israeli soldier is a crime and a terrorist act, then he should tell us now. I am concerned about Lebanon.
‘I personally lost hope in the international community and the UN Security Council. You agree with me. Some people still have hope; they are free. I am not waiting for the international community, which has not done anything to me or to Lebanon, neither in 1982, 1985, 1993, 1996, in Qana massacre, nor in resolution 1425.
‘It has failed to return our prisoners. It has not done anything, especially with regard to the Israeli file.
‘So, I am not expecting anything from it. Yes, it is our natural right to capture Israeli soldiers. Can I be clearer? We have the right and even duty to do this.’
He said that there are still Lebanese prisoners in Israel. He says that Hezbollah might resort to this option one day, unless the international community and the UN Security Council resolve this issue through peaceful means.
Nasrallah added: ‘We have been, and will remain, friends to Syria; we are proud of this friendship. We have been friends to Syria since 1982. We were friends in 1982, 1985, 1990, 2000, and 2005 and will remain so today. We do not hide our friendship with Syria and we are not embarrassed by it. We believe in this friendship, and we call on all the Lebanese people to enhance and strengthen this friendship since it serves the interests of Lebanon in the first place.
‘We publicly say that we are the friends and allies of Tehran just as we are the friends and allies of Syria in 1982, in 1985, in 1990, in 2000, and 2005. Nothing is hidden.
‘We are the only Lebanese party that benefited from Syria for the sake of liberating Lebanon, and benefited from Iran for the sake of liberating Lebanon as well. From now on, we will not be modest vis-a-vis anybody who wants to accuse us. We will be modest with those who seek to have dialogue with us.’
Nasrallah then praises the martyrs, saying that they sacrificed their lives for Lebanon. He adds that there are many people who are still waiting to walk along the same path to confront the occupation and the schemes aimed at weakening Lebanon and its sovereignty.
The master of ceremonies then announces the arrival of the bodies of the ‘martyrs.’ He then calls on the attendees to chant the slogan: ‘Death to America’ and ‘Death to Israel.’ Nasrallah then leads the funeral prayer for the dead.