WITH huge Lebanese popular support the Dignity (Karama) boat sailed into the port of Tyre in South Lebanon on Tuesday accompanied by a Lebanese Navy boat.
Earlier in the day, an Israeli patrol vessel rammed the boat which was carrying a shipment of medical aid that tried to break the blockade of the Gaza Strip.
A crowd of Lebanese southerners gathered near the port of Tyre where the boat was received with a warm welcome and declared, once again, support for Gaza and for all moves aimed at fighting the Israeli occupation and lifting the siege.
The Hamas representative in South Lebanon, Jihad Khaled Taha, thanked Lebanese President Sleiman for the national position he has taken to save the Dignity boat, saying it was a support for the Palestinian steadfastness.
‘The Israeli siege will make us more committed to our principles,’ he added.
Tens of thousands of Lebanese, Palestinians and Arabs responded on Monday to Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah and gathered in Beirut’s southern suburb in solidarity with Gaza and to pay tribute to the 318 martyrs who had fallen so far in the barbaric Israeli attack on the Strip.
Nasrallah addressed the protesters through a wide screen and praised their resolution and determination to support their brothers in Gaza.
‘I thank you and appreciate your response to the call to support Gaza. Today you are expressing your constant commitment to respond to this yearly call and today is one of Imam Hussein’s days and one of the days of Jihad and martyrdom.
‘Today you are responding to the call of this great Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei for this nation to express solidarity and pride in the martyrs. To Gazans I say: your pain is our pain and your wounds are our wounds.’
Nasrallah stressed the whole world should understand that Gaza is not alone. ‘Palestine will remain right and Israel will always be wrong,’ the Hezbollah leader said.
‘Today we meet again to express pride in the martyrs of Gaza, because we are the nation of martyrs and we bear the culture of martyrdom that is the culture of life with dignity.
‘Those martyrs have fallen in the greatest most sanctified battle. Those are the martyrs for the sake of Allah, on His path where there is no room for abandoning a grain of sand from our sacred land,’ Nasrallah added.
‘I do not want to repeat what I said yesterday but I would like to add something. On your behalf, I call on Lebanese President Michel Sleiman as a consensus president to spare no effort to push for holding the Arab summit because some sides are already trying to frustrate it.
‘Today, Lebanon’s position should support Gaza and should not take the same side as this or that Arab regime.
‘The president is cognizant of Lebanon’s triumphant experience in 2006 and based on this he is requested to play a central role and hear his brave voice in support of the oppressed Palestinian people in any summit just as we heard him in the conference for the dialogue of religions.’
Nasrallah urged the Palestinians everywhere to unite and cooperate.
‘It is wrong to believe that this war is waged against Hamas. It is in fact waged against all the Palestinians and their will, right and determination.
‘The US administration’s scheme is to establish the Zionist entity over the heads of all Arabs in the region. It does not care who governs Arab states.
‘In principle, the US administration has no objection if an Islamist, extremist or fundamentalist rules any Arab country.
‘What’s important for the US is the ruler’s political programme and his stance regarding Israel and the US; will he sell his oil and yield to Washington and Tel Aviv’s political and economic terms or not?
‘Will he abandon his rights and the rights of his people or not? That’s what governs the US position concerning any political regime in the Arab and Islamic worlds.
‘The US administration regards any Islamist party according to its position on Israel but not according to its religion, religious rites or ideology.
‘The war is waged today on the programme of the resistance. If our brother Khaled Meshal calls any of the mediators and says that he is ready for negotiations with Israel, the bombardment of Gaza would stop in no time and Hamas would govern Gaza and the West Bank as well.
‘Israel and the US problem with Hezbollah is not based on the party’s religious nature. If one Hezbollah leader calls Washington, and they really wish we’d do this, and told the American that we are ready to discuss our weapons, our resistance and our sovereignty, the Americans will help us govern Lebanon.
‘Their real problem is with our political programme that refuses to abandon prisoners, land and sovereignty.’
The Hezbollah chief also stressed the target in Gaza was the remainder of the resistance and the will of the Palestinians.
‘This is why I support all calls for a third Intifada in Palestine and similar uprisings in the Arab and Islamic worlds.
‘We call on all Palestinian factions to unite and work on stopping this aggression without allowing the Israelis to achieve their goals. . .
‘The people of Gaza are the purest and most honorable people, and those who abandon them are participating in the crime, killings and treason.
‘We have been calling to open the Rafah crossing; today if you hear all speeches you will see that the calls for Egypt to open the Rafah crossing are unanimous.
‘We are talking about steadfastness in Gaza and the first condition to consolidate steadfastness there is to open the gates for it.’
Sayyed Nasrallah continued: ‘The war in Gaza is a matter of time, and the Israelis can’t endure a long war.
‘Questions about the feasibility of the war will emerge soon. In Lebanon, Israel’s strategic stockpile of missiles was depleted and the Israeli air force failed to achieve its goals although there were many martyrs, many injured and many destroyed houses, however we did not lay down arms and our will was not taken from us.
‘Israel is involved in a psychological war campaign against the Palestinians through news about masses of soldiers and tanks preparing to storm into Gaza.
‘But when they begin their ground offensive, they will begin to lose as they will be faced by brave resistance fighters.’
The leader of the resistance addressed Egypt and renewed his call to open the Rafah crossing. ‘We are asking Egypt and the Arab leaders to secure the requirements of steadfastness for the Gazan population if they were not able to stop the aggression.’