‘THE RESISTANCE MEN ARE MAKING MIRACLES’ – 60 Merkava tanks destroyed and over 100 Israeli officers and soldiers killed says Nasrallah

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HEZBOLLAH Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah said Wednesday that the ‘resistance’ men are making miracles in the south, noting that over 60 Israeli Merkava tanks and a ‘large number, scores of military bulldozers and scores of military personnel carriers’ were destroyed in the battles.

He also said that over 100 Israeli officers and soldiers were killed, with over 400 wounded. He noted that the rockets still pound Israel despite the Israeli claims that they managed to weaken Hezbollah’s capability.’

In a live speech carried by Al-Manar TV on Wednesday, Hassan Nasrallah said he wants to speak about some political developments and then deal with the field developments.

He noted that while speaking about the political situation, he wanted to indicate that the field situation is still ‘strong’ and ‘solid’. He said that since the start of the battle, his group stressed the principle of ‘unity of ranks’ and ‘popular and official solidarity’ and strengthening the position of the state.

Nasrallah added that he does not want to engage in any debate or quarrels with any Lebanese political party. He says that the priority is for ‘steadfastness’ and official and popular solidarity.

He asked the displaced Lebanese to be careful not to cause any problems at the places to which they have moved. He said that with regard to the city of Beirut, he wants people not to stage large demonstrations so as not to have slogans and counter-slogans and create splits in the street. He said that he is eager to maintain the solidarity of all.

The Hezbollah secretary-general pointed out that the Israelis and Americans want to cause ‘sedition’ and dissent among the Lebanese. He noted that some Israeli officials and press writers say that there are government quarters in Lebanon that call Israel and ask it to eliminate Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Nasrallah stressed that he does not believe this Israeli talk. He refers to a statement by the US envoy at the United Nations, John Bolton, in which he says that he was surprised by the position of the Lebanese government. Nasrallah says that this is also meant to cause differences.

He noted that serious efforts are made to end the existing solidarity, adding that when the Lebanese prime minister proposed the seven-point plan, Hezbollah dealt positively with the plan and that it was careful to approve the plan to face the world with this plan. He said that the Lebanese government proposed this plan to end the war. Nasrallah added that the Arab states supported the plan, noting that the plan was countered by the Americans and the French through an ‘unfair’ draft resolution at the Security Council.

The Hezbollah secretary-general added that what Lebanese parliamentary Speaker Nabih Birri said about the draft is enough. He added that the draft resolution sought to give the Israelis what they failed to attain in the fighting. He noted that efforts started to amend the draft resolution, adding that the political and diplomatic efforts will show who stands by Lebanon and who prefers Israel.

Nasrallah indicated that despite the Lebanese cabinet’s decision on its preparedness to deploy the Lebanese army to the south, the US Administration still insists on its conditions and sticks to its ‘arrogance’. He said that the United States sent US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Welch today to Beirut, and that this coincided with the Israeli government’s decision to expand ground operations to ‘frighten’ the Lebanese to make them accept Israel’s conditions.

Turning to the Hezbollah position on the proposed deployment of the Lebanese army to the south, Nasrallah said that Hezbollah had in the past objected to this, saying that the Hezbollah reservations were not out of lack of confidence in this army, but out of ‘fear for’ this army.

He noted that the Lebanese army may be destroyed at any moment by Israel. He added that Hezbollah held its ground so far because it is not a regular army. Nasrallah says: ‘Yes, we agreed in the government – and I will return to our considerations shortly – to the deployment of the army to the border area, but we do not hide our fear for it.’

Nasrallah added that when the army goes to the border, it should defend and guard Lebanon, and not guard ‘the enemy’. He said that this function is linked to a decision by the political authority, noting that the Lebanese government decided that the main task of the army is to defend and guard the country by deploying on the border. He said: ‘Therefore, there is a clear decision, and this fear is indeed out of place now.’

The Hezbollah secretary-general added: ‘Secondly, if everybody thinks that the deployment of the army helps in finding a political solution, which leads to halting the aggression – and this is, in our opinion, an honourable, national solution because it is the national army that will be deployed on the border, and not invading forces, mercenary forces, or forces that take orders from the enemies, but the national army that takes orders from the elected Lebanese government – in this sense, as a solution, we accept it despite the risks that I mentioned a short while ago, and we do not stand in the way of such a decision or option.’

Nasrallah continued that ‘despite the unanimous Lebanese national agreement on the government plan and adherence to the seven-point proposal, we see the Americans still obstructing any possibility of realizing a draft resolution that can take into consideration the Lebanese national demands and the Lebanese national rights.

‘The Americans are still working very hard to impose Israel’s conditions on Lebanon and to achieve all of Israel’s interests at the expense of Lebanon’s interests’.

Nasrallah said that he urged political determination and steadfastness, and refusal to yield to the US dictates and pressures.

He added that he will move to discussing the latest field developments, noting that Israel is still facing military failures and will continue to attack civilian targets as a result of these failures.

He said that the Israelis are attacking civilian targets and are deliberately killing civilians because such attacks are the ‘only painful means’ for the ‘enemy’ to pressure the ‘Lebanese people, the resistance and the state’.

The Hezbollah secretary-general indicated that it is unfortunate that all the UN draft resolutions lack any reference to the Israeli ‘massacres’. He said that he is not surprised because the UN Security Council is ‘toothless’ because of the US veto.

Nasrallah said: ‘We are still standing fast in the field.

‘We are still strong and capable. This, in itself, is a great achievement for the resistance and a big failure for the enemy.’

He added that the ‘resistance’ men are making miracles in the south, noting that over 60 Israeli Merkava tanks and a ‘large number, scores of military bulldozers and scores of military personnel carriers’ were destroyed in the battles.

He also said that over 100 Israeli officers and soldiers were killed, with over 400 wounded. He noted that the rockets still pound Israel despite the Israeli claims that they managed to weaken Hezbollah’s capability.

Regarding the Israeli decision to expand the ground offensive, he asks if this decision is part of the psychological warfare against the Lebanese to accept what David Welch, assistant secretary of state for Middle East affairs, has brought with him.

Nasrallah says: ‘We want an end to the aggression, the whole aggression, but if the confrontation is unavoidable, then we welcome any field confrontation as has been the case so far.’

Addressing the Israelis, he says: ‘You are the cowards. You are killing our women, children and elderly people and are destroying our homes. But we are killing your officers and soldiers and destroying your tanks and Saars (navy ships).’

Nasrallah added that Lebanon is still strong and that the enemy is ‘confused’, adding that he urges the Lebanese people and government to show more steadfastness. He urged the displaced people and those who are sheltering them to show more patience.

Nasrallah said: ‘To the Arabs of Haifa I have a special message. I say that we have been pained and are pained for the loss of your martyrs and for your wounded.

‘I urge you, I appeal to you to leave this city. I hope you would do that. In the past, your presence there and what happened to you has made us hesitate in attacking this city at a time when the southern suburb is being bombed regardless of whether Haifa is rocketed or not.’