Senior Hizbullah Official: The Smuggling Of Rockets Into Palestine Continues At Full Force

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May 23, 2021

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Naim Qassem, Hizbullah deputy secretary-general, gave an interview to the Al-Nour, Hizbullah-owned radio station in Beirut, on the occasions of the 21st anniversary of the Israeli withdrawal from South Lebanon, and the ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian factions, which went into effect on May 21, 2021.

In the interview, he discusses the relationship that pertained between his organization and the Palestinian factions during the fighting, and the support that his organization gave, and will continue to grant, to the factions. He asserts that "the smuggling of the rockets into Palestine continues at full force." He also says that Palestinian operatives have undergone instruction and training by members of the "axis of resistance" in order to develop their capability to produce weapons.

Qassem explains that his organization was responsible for "most" of the demonstrations and protests that took place on the Lebanon-Israel border during the last round of fighting, and that the Lebanese citizen who was killed by IDF fire during the protests was a member of Hizbullah.

He stresses his organization's rejection of the two-state solution and asserts that the only solution is the return of "the Zionists" to the countries from which they came, i.e. the elimination of Israel.

The following are translated excerpts of the main sections of the interview conducted with Qassem, as published on the Hizbullah websites  Alahednews.com.lb and central-media.org.[1]

At the start of the interview, Qassem relates to Israel's withdrawal from South Lebanon on May 24, 2000, and its consequences for the Palestinian struggle. He asserts that "the victory in May [2000] restored to the Palestinian people the vitality and the insistence on the resistance and the confrontation [with Israel]… regarding the direct influence [of the war in Lebanon] which the Palestinian brothers built upon…"

Qassem repeats the position of his organization that it is the U.S. that supports the Islamic State (ISIS) and explains: "Lebanon did not fall, Syria did not collapse and Iraq did not fall apart despite the extraordinary American support of ISIS. Yemen stands firm in an exceptional manner. Regarding Palestine – it conducted four wars in Gaza and succeeded with them… The [most recent] victory in Palestine is a strategic phase and a historic turning point. This is not a usual victory. The Palestinian resistance and the Palestinian people attained a very great achievement, which we will build upon from now on…"

Qassem emphasizes that the unity of the Palestinians is a very important turning point which destroyed all Israel's efforts to divide the Palestinian issue into several separate subjects. He stresses that "Palestine and Jerusalem belong to the Palestinians and must be restored to them in their entirety from the river to the sea."

Regarding the relationship between his organization and the Palestinian factions during the last round of fighting he says: "We were in daily contact with the leaders of the resistance and the [Palestinian] jihadi fighters. Our position was that we would assist the [Palestinian] resistance in every way that we can and that we will do what we must do at the appropriate time and in the way that we choose…"

He also states, "Today the Palestinians have a significant capability to produce [weapons]. I can reassure you that the smuggling of rockets into Palestine is continuing at full force. There are important Palestinian brains which are helping in the creation and establishment of the capabilities. They have trained and been in contact with the axis of resistance. The support will not cease but will only increase."

Qassem relates to the involvement of his organization in the demonstrations which were held on the Lebanon-Israel border during the recent confrontation between Israel and the Palestinians, during which a Lebanese citizen, who tried to breach the border fence between the two countries, was killed. He says, "The martyr Muhammad Qassem Tahan was a member of Hizbullah's Education Mobilization Association.[2] Hizbullah supervised most of the activities on the border. We assisted everyone who requested our help to express his position on the border…"

In response to a question about the body which launched rockets from South Lebanon into Israel on May 19, Qassem says that he is not interested in discussing this or whether it was right to fire rockets, explaining that there are "elements concerned with this issue which are dealing with it."

The senior official repeats that he rejects the two-state solution, stating that, "If the Americans want to solve the Palestinian issue, it will not be by means of the 'two-state solution' as the American President Joe Biden refers to it, but by restoring Palestine to its residents and sending the Zionists back to the countries from where they came."

Regarding the possibility of a renewal of the relations between Hamas and the Syrian regime, which ran aground following the civil war in Syria,[3] and have recently improved due to Iran's mediation,[4] he says, "The campaign in Palestine indicates that we are on the way to renewing the relations between Hamas and Syria."

 


[1] Central-media.org, May 22, 2021; Alahednews.com.lb, May 22, 2021.

[2] The objective of this body is to educate the younger generation in Lebanon in accordance with the values of Shi'ism and Hizbullah, so that in the future its members may be recruited into the ranks of Hizbullah. On its website its objectives are described as "to unite between the knowledge and the jihad, between the education and the faith, in order to serve the resistance and the homeland and in preparation for a just country," Tarbaweya.org, on May 23, 2021.

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