‘The Israeli army is implementing a US decision to build a “new Middle East” ’

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Marchers on the 30,000-strong ‘Stop Israel’s attack on Lebanon’  demonstration in London last Saturday condemn US president Bush and Israeli Premier Olmert as terrorists
Marchers on the 30,000-strong ‘Stop Israel’s attack on Lebanon’ demonstration in London last Saturday condemn US president Bush and Israeli Premier Olmert as terrorists

HASAN Fadlallah, Hezbollah member of the Lebanese Chamber of Deputies for the Bint Jubayl constituency, said on Monday morning that ‘the Israeli Army is now implementing a US decision to build the so-called new Middle East.

‘Rice is coming to Lebanon to dictate terms and conditions’.

He added that ‘no serious initiatives have been presented’ to Hezbollah.

Fadlallah continued: ‘I repeat, and I am reiterating Hezbollah’s political stand, we will not accept any imposed political terms or conditions’.

Speaking to Al Jazeera TV Fadlallah emphasised: ‘It is common knowledge that Ms Rice had announced before her arrival in Lebanon that what is going on now in terms of Israel’s aggression against Lebanon is intended to build a new Middle East.

‘Therefore, Rice is carrying with her further pressures on Lebanon and a wider cover for the Israeli aggression.

‘We had not expected any US stand that might contribute to easing or stopping this aggression as long as the war decision against Lebanon is primarily a US decision.

‘We must remember that the US UN representative rejected any cease-fire resolution and we heard that a member of the Israeli Knesset criticised the Israeli stand saying that Israel is now implementing the US Administration’s orders.

‘The Israeli Army is now implementing a US decision to build the so-called new Middle East.

‘Rice is coming to Lebanon to dictate terms and conditions but I believe that the conditions in the battlefield between the resistance and the Israeli occupation army will change the US view and will undermine these US terms and conditions.’

Fadlallah continued: ‘I can tell you that so far no serious initiatives have been presented.

‘All that we heard were media reports. No initiatives with clear-cut points have been presented for discussion.

‘Moreover, there is an Israeli aggression. The priority is to stop this aggression.

‘Can we discuss any initiative under the pressure of the Israeli aggression?

‘Never, this is out of the question. In any case, I said that no initiatives have been received. Even the Lebanese government says that there have been no serious initiatives.’

Referring to the stories that the US wants NATO troops stationed along the lebanese Israel frontier Fadlallah continued: ‘Hezbollah cannot comment on information disseminated by the media or on certain leaks.

‘If we want to comment on any point, any initiative, we must first receive such initiatives through the channels that we have specified.

‘We said that Nabih Birri, the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, is now the channel through which negotiations can be conducted.’

Fadlallah was told that ‘There is a common denominator in everything that is being presented – Lebanese, Arab, or international – namely, implementing Resolution 1559 and disarming Hezbollah. This is the crucial point. What does Hezbollah say about this demand in the light of the current battle?’

Fadlallah responded: ‘After the US Administration imposed this resolution on the UN Security Council one and half years ago, it has been trying through political pressure to implement this resolution but without success.

‘Now it has entrusted the Israeli Army with the task of implementing this resolution.

‘Can Lebanon agree that the Israeli Army should impose the Lebanese state’s sovereignty along its borders? This is unacceptable.

‘Israel cannot be allowed to inflict on us all this destruction and massacres and savagery and tell us that it wants to implement this international resolution. The United States should have forced Israel to implement international resolutions.

‘Why does the United States want to impose this resolution by the shedding of blood and by force of arms?

‘Why has Israel been holding all international resolutions in contempt?’

Fadlallah added: ‘Allow me to comment on your correspondent’s reports on the area in which the resistance is confronting the Israelis.

‘I represent the Bint Jubayl constituency in the Chamber of Deputies and I know this area very well.

‘I can tell you that we have started a new phase of confrontation.

‘There are Israeli forces on the Lebanese territory. The resistance is now carrying out operations, as it used to do during the Israeli occupation of the Lebanese territory.

‘The distance is perhaps one or two kilometres. There is no depth. The town of Bint Jubayl is adjacent to the Marun al-Ra’s village.

‘Houses are indistinguishable. It is not far from the border; indeed, its land is on the border. The Israeli Army tried to establish a foothold in Marun al-Ra’s. The information I have been receiving from this area is that so far they have not been able to establish a presence in this area.

‘As your correspondent said, the resistance is not a regular army. These are resistance groups carrying out operations. Now we have started the phase of operations against the Israeli forces that are occupying Lebanese areas.’

Fadlallah was asked: ‘Has Hezbollah given the Lebanon government any bargaining chips? Hezbollah’s secretary general has been cited as saying that the government can negotiate the exchange of prisoners.’

Fadlallah answered: ‘The government can negotiate but the demands and the details of these negotiations require full coordination. I can tell you that today the whole of Lebanon is taking a unified stand because the aggression targets all of Lebanon. We have defined our main and clear demands: Stopping the Israeli aggression and holding indirect negotiations to exchange prisoners.

‘As for other points, we can negotiate over everything but after the aggression has been halted.

‘We will not negotiate under the Israeli aggression.

‘All issues are presented for discussion, especially among the Lebanese people.

‘There had been a national dialogue in Lebanon. Let us define the framework of Lebanon’s defence plans.

‘Today the Israeli scene and the Lebanese scene force us to stop the aggression first and then discuss other matters.

‘I repeat, and I am reiterating Hezbollah’s political stand, we will not accept any imposed political terms or conditions.

‘What is required now is a halt to the aggression. I believe that the United States – this includes Ms Rice’s visit – wants to make political moves but the Israeli Army is still being given the green light to carry out what the United States wants by force of arms, by destruction and by killing civilians.

‘Let us leave the developments in the field to take effect. I believe that one of the greatest surprises that the Israeli Army is discovering is the resistance performance only metres from the borders.

‘So far we are still waging a confrontation metres away from the borders. How will this confrontation be if the Israeli Army carries out its land operations deeper inside Lebanon?

‘The Marun al-Ra’s town is situated exactly on the border.

‘It is separated from the Palestinian territory (Israel) by barbed wire. This means that the land of the farmers of Marun al-Ra’s are exactly along the border. The distance from the border to the town is one or two kilometres.

‘For the past four or five days, the Israeli forces have been trying to enter the town, which is situated on a high hill overlooking a number of villages, including Bint Jubayl, which is adjacent to Marun al-Ra’s.

‘The houses of the two towns are indistinguishable. So far the Israeli forces have not been able to consolidate any of their positions inside Marun a-Ra’s.

‘Resistance groups are still carrying out operations behind as well as in front of the Israeli forces.

‘I learnt this morning that Israeli tanks tried to advance from Marun al-Ra’s towards houses in Bint-Jubayl, whose houses, as I said, are adjacent to houses in Marun al-Ra’s, but resistance men confronted them and inflicted losses on them.

‘So far, and according to the Israeli Army itself, there have been 11 deaths among the Israeli soldiers since the beginning of the battles at Marun al-Ra’s.

‘As for the resistance, three martyrs have fallen in the confrontations. I have no accurate information on the number of martyrs or losses today but the resistance has not announced the death of any martyr in that area.

‘Certainly there will be martyrs because the resistance men are engaged in fighting Israeli forces.

‘The Israeli forces might advance on land but they cannot consolidate their positions because the resistance does not establish defence lines. It is not a regular army fighting another regular army.’