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memri
July 25, 2006 No.
1211

Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah: I Told Lebanese Political Leaders We Would Abduct Israeli Soldiers

On July 24, 2006, Al-Jazeera TV aired an interview with Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah.

The following are excerpts from the interview: [1]

TO VIEW THIS CLIP, VISIT: http://memritv.org/clip/en/1200.htm.

We Did Not Expect the Arab Regimes "To Participate in Spilling the Blood of the Victim, and to Provide Cover for the Crimes of the Hangman"

Hassan Nasrallah: "The international community has never been with us, for us to claim that 'today it is not with us, it is besieging us, abandoning us, and neglecting us.' It has never been with us. On the contrary, it has been against us in the things that matter. For example, we have been on the American terrorism list since... since they began the terrorism list. We were among the first to be included in the terrorism list. Some European countries also include us in their terrorism lists. The position of the international community is clear, and therefore, we are not surprised by the international community, and we have never pinned our hopes on it."

[...]

"As for some of the Arab positions - this is, of course, something new. True. In the past, some of the Arab regimes renounced the resistance and its men. Today, we would accept it if the Arab regimes - I am being very objective and realistic... We would accept it if they were neutral. That's it. In the past, too, we accepted this from them. If you examine the rhetoric of Hizbullah... Maybe the rhetoric of our Palestinian brothers is different, and this is their right, because their circumstances are much harsher than ours. They always attack, accuse, and denounce the regimes and the rulers. This is not part of our rhetoric or writings. Why? Because we have forgotten about them. There is no need for it. If you assume someone exists, you can attack him, but if you feel that he does not exist, by attacking him, you would be aggravating yourself for nothing.

"Once we used to ask the international community to denounce the hangman and to have mercy on the victim. Then we got to the point where we said we would accept it if they denounce the hangman and the victim alike. This has become what we could expect from them. If a resolution denounces both the hangman and the victim - fine. As for the Arab regimes - all we expect from them is to be neutral. And if they do not want to be neutral - brother, let them treat Israel and us equally. We would even accept it if they treat the hangman and the victim equally. But for them to participate in spilling the blood of the victim, and to provide cover for the crimes of the hangman - I tell you that we did not expect this. This was indeed a surprise."

[...]

"I say categorically that the Israeli response to the capturing operation could have been harsh, but limited, if not for the cover provided by the Arabs and international community. It is not that Israel got the green light from America, Ghassan. Israel received an American decision that said: 'Go on and finish that business in Lebanon.'"

[...]

"In addition, some of the Arabs provided a cover, and encouraged Israel to continue the battle. Israel was told that this is a golden and historic opportunity to annihilate the resistance in Lebanon. They don't want to annihilate only the resistance of Hizbullah in Lebanon. They want to annihilate any motivation to conduct resistance in Lebanon, whether by Hizbullah or anyone else. They want to bring the country to a situation in which the word 'resistance' is considered derogatory. Martyr, jihad, wounded, steadfastness, challenge, liberation, freedom, power, honor, nobility, dignity - all these words must be removed from the vocabulary of the Lebanese, from the press, the political writings, from the political thinking, from the popular conscience. This is what Israel is doing. America needs this if it wants to reorganize the region."

[...]

"I Say to the Arab Rulers... Remain Neutral"

Hassan Nasrallah: "I am convinced that even the sons, daughters, and wives of some Arab rulers are with us. But I say to the Arab rulers: I don't want your swords or even your hearts. All I want is for you to leave us alone, as we say in colloquial Lebanese. In other words, remain neutral. We are fine with that. You've said what you said - you can relax now, thank you very much. Today there is a war that was imposed on Lebanon. Its purpose is to eliminate anything to do with the resistance or its fighters in Lebanon, and to punish Lebanon for defeating Israel. The truth is that the goal of the war against Lebanon is to eliminate the Palestinian issue. Everybody knows that the widespread Intifada in Palestine broke out following the victory in Lebanon. What is happening in Palestine is a similar and improved version of the Lebanese model. If today we destroy the Lebanese model, the message to the Palestinians would be that they should despair."

[...]

"The [Lebanese] Government Statement Says That [the Armed Resistance] has the Right to Liberate the Land and the Prisoners"

Hassan Nasrallah: "This thing you asked me about - that I didn't inform or ask [the Lebanese government]...

"First of all, the government statement, on the basis of which we joined the government, says that the Lebanese government adopts the resistance, and its natural right to liberate the land and the prisoners. Okay, how is the resistance supposed to liberate the prisoners? It should go to George Bush? I cannot and will not go to George Bush. When you say 'the right of the resistance,' you are not talking about the foreign ministry. You are talking about the armed resistance, and the government statement says that it has the right to liberate the land and the prisoners. I am a resistance movement. I am armed. That's one thing. This is the government statement, on the basis of which the government won the parliament's vote of confidence.

"Second, during the [Lebanese national] dialogue... Some people are now saying that I did or didn't say certain things... There are recordings. Yes, I did tell them that we are keeping the border calm, because this was our policy. But there are two issues in which we cannot tolerate this calm. I raised four issues. Two issues can bear delays, procrastination, postponement, and reminders. No problem. The first is the continued occupation of the Shab'a Farms. Never mind, we can take our time on this. This is a small and limited piece of land. We will not start a war over the Shab'a Farms. I'm referring to the kind of war we have now. The second issue was the aerial and naval violations [of sovereignty], and even violations by ground forces. We can tolerate this. True, violations of our sovereignty are deplorable. But are we supposed to destroy the world because of it? No. Two issues cannot tolerate any delay. One is the issue of the prisoners, because of the human suffering. The second issue is any attack against civilians. I told them on more than one occasion that we are taking the issue of the prisoners seriously, and that abducting Israeli soldiers is the only way to resolve it. Of course, I said this in a low-key tone. I did not declare in the dialogue: 'In July I will abduct Israeli soldiers.' This is impossible."

"I Told Them [Lebanese Political Leaders] That We Must Resolve the Issue of the Prisoners, and That the Only Way to Resolve it is by Abducting Israeli Soldiers"

Interviewer: "Did you inform them that you were about to abduct Israeli soldiers?"

Hassan Nasrallah: "I told them that we must resolve the issue of the prisoners, and that the only way to resolve it is by abducting Israeli soldiers."

Interviewer: "Did you say this clearly?"

Hassan Nasrallah: "Yes, and nobody said to me: 'No, you are not allowed to abduct Israeli soldiers.' Even if they had told me not to... I'm not defending myself here. I said that we would abduct Israeli soldiers, in meetings with some of the main political leaders in the country. I don't want to mention names now, but when the time comes to settle accounts, I will. They asked: 'If this happens, will the issue of the prisoners be over and done with?' I said that it was logical that it would. And I'm telling you, our estimation was not mistaken. I'm not exaggerating. Anywhere in the world - show me a country, show me an army, show me a war, in which two soldiers, or even civilian hostages, were abducted, and a war was waged against a country - and all for two soldiers. This has never happened throughout history, and even Israel has never done such a thing."

[...]

"If 60-70 people know all the details of an abduction operation, can it possibly be successful? No, it cannot. All the more so if I inform a government, which has 24 ministers, the heads of the three government branches, political forces, and coalitions. When we held the national dialogue, we talked and discussed things, and an hour later, the protocols of the meetings reached the embassies. Do you want me to tell the entire world that I am about to carry out an abduction operation? It's not logical."

[...]

"It is true that I did not inform the Lebanese government, but I did not inform my closest allies either. Syria and Iran did not know. No Syrian or Iranian knew. They did not know, and I did not consult any of them."

[...]

How Can the War Affect the Iranian Nuclear Dossier?

Hassan Nasrallah: "On the Iranian issue... Now there is a war in Lebanon. In one, two, or three months it will end. How long can it possibly last? Once the war is over, in what way will it affect the Iranian nuclear dossier? What effect will it have on it? On the contrary, if this is in any way connected to the Iranian nuclear dossier, the war being waged against Lebanon does not serve its interest. The Americans and the Israelis have always taken into account that if a confrontation breaks out with Iran, Hizbullah might intervene in Iran's favor. So striking Hizbullah now would weaken, rather than strengthen, Iran on the nuclear issue."

[...]

"Hizbullah has Always Placed Lebanese National Interests Above any Other Interest"

Hassan Nasrallah: "Hizbullah has always placed Lebanese national interests above any other interest. During the national dialogue, I said to them: You have known us for 23-24 years. I am ready to tell each and every one of them which battles he has fought - some of them, not all of them... I am ready to tell some of them which battles they have fought for the sake of foreign, rather than Lebanese, interests. Tell me when we, Hizbullah, did anything to Lebanon, or led it into war, for the sake of foreign, rather than Lebanese, interests. They could not give me a single example."

[...]

"Victory in this case does not mean that I will enter and conquer the north of Palestine, and liberate Nahariya, Haifa, and Tiberias. This is not one of our slogans. This is a long process, which pertains to the Palestinians and to the nation. This is another issue. The victory that we are talking about - If the resistance survives, this will be a victory. If its determination is not broken, this will be a victory. If Lebanon is not humiliated, if its honor and dignity remain intact, if Lebanon continues to face all alone the strongest military force in the region, and if it perseveres and refuses to accept any humiliating terms in the settlement of this issue - this will be a victory. If we are not militarily defeated, this will be a victory. As long as a single missile is launched from Lebanon to target the Zionists, as long as a single fighter fires his gun, as long as someone plants an explosive device for the Israelis, this means that the resistance still exists."

[...]

"Today, we Shi'ites are fighting Israel. Our fighting and perseverance ultimately serve our brothers in Palestine, who are Sunni, not Shi'ite. In other words, we, Shi'ites and Sunnis, fight side by side against Israel, which is supported and strengthened by America. I'm telling you that if [Israeli Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert reaches a point at which he says to the Americans, 'I cannot complete this,' Bush will say to him, 'You go on, and if you encounter a problem, I will resolve it for you.' This is what I meant when I talked about 'a battle of the nation,' and I saw [on TV] that you commented on this. I am not fighting on behalf of the nation. But I say that the outcome of the battle that Hizbullah is fighting in Lebanon, for better or worse, is an outcome for the nation. Defeat in Lebanon is defeat for the nation, and victory in Lebanon is victory for the nation, just like in 2000."

[...]

"For 23 years, we have been talking to our people, motivating them, talking about martyrdom, the honor of martyrdom, and the place of the martyrs. Do the Zionists, or those who encourage them, believe that I, or anyone in the Hizbullah leadership, fears martyrdom? We love martyrdom. We take precautions in order to prevent Israel from making any gains. But on the personal level, and as a personal aspiration, each and every one of us hopes to be destined to martyrdom at the hands of those people, the killers of the prophets and the messengers, and most hostile to the believers, as it says in the Koran."


[1] For other MEMRI dispatches on the current Middle East crisis please see: Inquiry & Analysis No. 289, "The Middle East Crisis - Local, Regional, and Global; Conventional and Nuclear (2): The War in the Perception of Iran, Syria, and Hizbullah," July 24, 2006, The Middle East Crisis – Local, Regional, and Global; Conventional and Nuclear (2): The War in the Perception of Iran, Syria, and Hizbullah ;

Inquiry & Analysis No. 288, "The Middle East Crisis - Local, Regional, and Global; Conventional and Nuclear: The War in the Perception of Iran, Syria, and Hizbullah," July 21, 2006, The Middle East Crisis - Local, Regional, and Global; Conventional and Nuclear ;

Special Dispatch No. 1208, "Iran and the Recent Escalation on Israel's Borders (5): Reactions in Iran, Lebanon, and Syria," July 18, 2006, Iran and the Recent Escalation on Israel's Borders (5): Reactions in Iran, Lebanon, and Syria ;

Special Dispatch No. 1207, "Iran and the Recent Escalation on Israel's Borders (4): Reactions in Iran, Lebanon, and Syria," July 17, 2006, Iran and the Recent Escalation on Israel's Borders (4): Reaction in Iran, Lebanon, and Syria ;

Special Dispatch No. 1206, "Iran and the Recent Escalation on Israel's Borders (3):

Reactions in Iran, Lebanon, and Syria," July 14, 2006, Iran and the Recent Escalation on Israel's Borders (3): Reactions in Iran, Lebanon, and Syria ;

Special Dispatch No. 1205, "Iran and the Recent Escalation on Israel's Borders (2): Reactions in Iran, Lebanon, and Syria," July 14, 2006, Iran and the Recent Escalation on Israel's Borders (2): Reaction in Iran, Lebanon, and Syria ;

Special Dispatch No. 1204, "Iran and the Recent Escalation on Israel's Borders: Reactions in Iran, Lebanon, and Syria," July 13, 2006, Iran and the Recent Escalation on Israel's Borders.