Speech by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah on May 2, 2019, on the occasion of the commemoration of the martyrdom of Commander Mostapha Badreddine, known as ‘Zulfiqar’, who was killed in Syria in May 2016.

[…] The first topic that I will discuss is Israel. I have two issues to address concerning Israel.

First point: there is currently an atmosphere (of fear) in our country, maintained by both open and secret pressure by the United States, by some European and some Gulf countries, and by some Arab and Gulf media. I speak of the repeated assertions… Sometimes these words are attributed to me, and when I deny them, they cease to do so, but they peddle them on their own name –I speak of some journalists, media, (alleged) leaks and analyzes, etc. I mean the permanent threat of (an Israeli) war against Lebanon. (If we are to believe these journalists), Israel is about to attack, Israel wants to start a war, Israel will destroy the country, beware O Lebanese, etc.

What is the aim of this constant intimidation? To force (the Lebanese) to remove the causes that could push Israel to war. It’s not just mere media, political or diplomatic (empty) talk, constitutive of the ambient psychological warfare. Today I want to declare to the Lebanese and to all those interested in the situation in Lebanon: regarding (the Israeli enemy), all this (campaign of intimidation) has a purpose, and I’ll reveal this purpose. This (permanent) intimidation is a vast psychological, political, diplomatic –
through the States and embassies– and media war, meant to pressure the Lebanese government, Lebanese officials and the Lebanese people, to force them into submissions and concessions.

As you know, Pompeo came, and before him [David] Satterfield, and before him David Hill, and before him [Frederick] Hoff, and whatnot, (to discuss) the question of the land border (between Lebanon and occupied Palestine). And there are very sensitive areas at the land border, very sensitive strategically speaking. There is (also) a dispute concerning the maritime border. The question of the maritime border is not only a question (of quantity) of water and geographic scope, but it relates to the oil and gas resources that are supposed to be there.

So we have: 

1 / The issue of the land border, which must be resolved through negotiations naturally.

2 / The maritime border, and the issue of the oil and gas (resources), to be decided between Lebanon and Israel.

3 / The issue of the Shebaa Farms (Lebanese territory occupied by Israel): after Mr. Trump gave what he does not own, namely the Golan, to whom does not deserve it, namely Israel, there remains the question of the Shebaa farms which is the third (litigation) point.

4 / The question of the strength and power of Lebanon, embodied in (the equation) Army-People-Resistance; and in this equation, is the (Hezbollah) Resistance that is targeted specifically. The Resistance is the one targeted. 

In short, (the message carried by this intimidation is as follows): “If you do not want Israel to invade you, you need to cut off your (own) hand. You must get rid of your element of strength. You must abandon the deterrent capacity that you, Lebanese, have against Israel.” And that is why the ambassadors, Pompeo and everyone come and go to talk about one thing: the missiles of the Resistance. For the real problem for Israel is in particular the missiles of the Resistance.

So what is the specific framework of this intimidation (campaign) today? “Beware, if you do not make concessions on your (land) borders, if you do not accept what you are given as a maritime border, if you don’t forget the Shebaa farms, if you don’t settle the problem of the Resistance, of the weapons of the Resistance and of the missiles of the Resistance, Israel will attack you.” This is the message that has been addressed to Lebanon continually for weeks and months, and it keeps going on.

Let me briefly respond to this, even though today I don’t want to make a (full) assessment of the situation, but I just need to say this: my brothers, O Lebanese (people), do not let anyone intimidate you or conduct psychological warfare against you. You are not weak. Lebanon is strong, through its army, its people and its Resistance. Lebanon has a great force, a real force that is not a simple ceremonial force. We do not give at all in (military) parades, less than anyone else. We do not make show of our force. We are a real and serious force.

When we consider the ongoing discussions within the enemy entity, we see that the major Israeli military experts, although they emphasize the many strong points of Israel, (also) underscore their big weaknesses, which are numerous and deadly. And on the Lebanese side, to be realistic, we must recognize that Lebanon has many weaknesses, but it also has many strong points of the utmost importance, deadly and decisive (against Israel).  This must be taken into consideration.

Today, the Resistance is (still strong) despite all the sanctions (imposed on the Resistance Axis) and all the difficulties: (though these sanctions have been going on) for a long time, it has been in vain, and (our enemies) were unable to diminish the strength, capacity and readiness of the Resistance in Lebanon. And that is why no Lebanese should yield, submit to fear, etc.

This Israel would launch a war (against us)? Let them come! Let them come, (I dare them)! For Israel to launch a war against Lebanon, all (the political and military leaders) in Israel are unanimous: this war should be short, decisive, and lead to a clear and final victory (for Israel). How can Israel obtain such a result? Who can achieve such a thing? Who? Those times are over.

Today I can recall once again and confirm… I will not speak again (in detail) of the weak points of the enemy, the ammonia in Haifa or something else in Haifa that was revealed recently, and which, if it were hit by one of our missiles would do even more damage than a missile striking the ammonia depot in Haifa… I will not talk about the firepower and ballistic capability of Hezbollah, etc., etc., etc. 

There is a very important development which Israel discusses daily, namely the land offensive and defensive capabilities of Hezbollah. Our Resistance certainly has the ability to invade Galilee, and even the (Israeli) enemy acknowledges it. But I do not want to talk about this today, I speak only of the minimum, the absolute minimum of our abilities, and I assure you that Israel fully takes it into account in its calculations.

This Israel who is afraid to venture in Gaza, while Gaza is besieged on all sides, and exposed on all sides, this Israel would dare enter the south (of Lebanon)? They would dare invade the South? If they want to invade (South Lebanon), they could do so only with (whole) battalions and brigades. Today, on the occasion of the annual commemoration of the martyred Commander Sayed Badreddine, I reaffirm to you on behalf of your brothers and your sons in the Islamic Resistance (Hezbollah), and this is a categorical promise, (absolutely) sure: the brigades and battalions ​​entering southern Lebanon will be destroyed and annihilated, and the TV channels worldwide will broadcast this, with the grace of God!

[Audience: At thy service, O Nasrallah!]

In the past, Yithzak Rabin, a historic Prime Minister (of this entity), who was Defense Minister –that is to say War Minister– and Chief of Staff, a historic leader in the collective memory of the Israeli entity, what did he used to say after 2000?… Sorry, I mean before (2000). He used to say: “When we look at southern Lebanon, we see peaceful mountains, hills, valleys and villages, but it is unclear what lies behind and inside the mountains, the hills, the valleys, the villages, these houses and quiet paths. And therefore we cannot dare to venture out there.” Why couldn’t they venture out here? Because the times where a single Israeli music band could occupy Lebanon are gone, O Lebanese (people)! And after all these long experience, you must be convinced of that!

Some people in Lebanon still live in the culture and feelings of weakness and powerlessness towards Israel. These people are actually willing to submit (to US-Israeli diktats). As for those who trust in their God, in their people, in their army, in their strength and in their ability to inflict historic defeats to the enemy, they do not have the right to cede any inch of land or grain of sand (of our territory), nor, as said Professor Nabih Berri,  Speaker of the Parliament, give away any glass of our (territorial) waters, nor give any piece of our national dignity, nor anything that affects our sovereignty. It is when we believe that we are strong and powerful that we can work diligently to obtain the (land and sea) rights of Lebanon. 

My second point on the Lebanese-Israeli issue is a brief commentary on the Shebaa Farms (occupied Lebanese territory). As a reminder, on the evening of the Liberation (of May 24) 2000, because this debate was already present at the time, I remember that I gave a speech and said that following our internal discussions in Hezbollah and our consultations with the rest of our friends and allies, I then said that the issue of determining the borders of the Lebanese territory was the responsibility of the State. It’s not our role, Hezbollah, or any other party, movement or force, to decree that such a territory is Lebanese, and commit all Lebanon (to uphold these territorial claims) or to decree that such territory is not Lebanese, and commit all Lebanon. Any territory that the Lebanese government considers as belonging to Lebanon, the Resistance is committed for this occupied territory and considers that it is its responsibility to liberate it. You remember? That’s what I said in 2000. And many years have passed since.

Of course, that day, the issue of the Shebaa Farms was raised: were they Lebanese or not? Other people, including us, our brothers in the Amal movement and some national forces (went farther and) committed themselves alongside the inhabitants of the 7 (Lebanese) villages (still occupied by Israel). Let me remind you their name: Salha, Hounine, Kades, Melkiyé, Ibl al-Qamah, Tarbikha, Nabi Yusha’. These are the 7 villages.

And we also have border villages in South (Lebanon), such as Blida, Meiss al-Jabal, when they drew the borders… And who drew those borders? The Lebanese? The Palestinians? (Of course not !) it was the English and the French (Sykes-Picot) who came to draw the borders, and in addition to the 7 villages, tens of thousands of dunams (units of 1000 m²) belonging to the inhabitants of these border villages (were wrongly attributed to Palestine). These lands are Lebanese, and the 7 villages are Lebanese land. 

[In 2000] we said that the 7 villages were Lebanese land. Of course, the Lebanese government then did not support this position, nor did the majority of the Chamber of Deputies, and that’s why we did not say that the 7 villages being Lebanese, we would liberate them by force despite the opposition of the State and government, and despite the differences of opinion about it, no. We said that there was no problem (for now).

Now, if you ask us our opinion, we are positive: the 7 villages are Lebanese. And we firmly believe that the Lebanese border villages own tens of thousands of dunums of agricultural land occupied by Israel, on the other side of the border recognized by the international community. But since the State has not supported this position, we have left it out. It is still present in our culture and our heritage. But even in our habits, we do not talk about it in our political discourse, neither a lot nor a little. We left this issue (aside) for the future.

Ultimately, in our eyes, this position does not contradict our principles nor does it lead us to to a cultural crisis, because from my point of view, whether the 7 villages are Lebanese or Palestinian, they remain occupied territory belonging to our (Arab) people and to our (Muslim) Community. This is OUR country, whether it is considered Lebanese or Palestinian.

But on the issue of the Shebaa Farms, the Lebanese State and the Lebanese government declared in 2000 that it was a Lebanese territory, recalling that in the Ministerial Statement, and the Chamber of Deputies gives its confidence to the government on this basis. Since 2000 and to date [Laughter], this has been reminded (and confirmed). It is true that at the negotiating table, we debate about it. It is true that some people say yes one day and no another day, etc. But one thing is resolved and finally settled: the Lebanese government considers the Shebaa Farms as Lebanese lands. The question is settled. 

Now, regarding us as a Resistance, as long as the Lebanese state, the Lebanese government and the Lebanese Chamber of Deputies, that is to say the State in all its institutions, consider that the Shebaa Farms are Lebanese land, that the Shebaa Farms are Lebanese territories –I repeat myself to be clear [Laughter]… As far as we are concerned as a Resistance, we have no problem: this issue is definitely resolved.

And therefore, anyone who used to consider that this area was Lebanese and now says that he has changed his mind, or who considered this territory as non-Lebanese but said he changed his mind, it accelerates nor slows nothing (this changes nothing for us), and has absolutely no value, it’s empty talk. Let them say what they want [Walid Jumblatt, Lebanese Druze leader, said on April 25 that the Shebaa Farms were not Lebanese]. This accelerates nor slows nothing, and therefore, the Shebaa farms, as far as we are concerned, since the Lebanese State says that they are Lebanese… Whether we say that it is a Lebanese, Syrian or Palestinian territory, it remains OUR territory, that of our peoples, of our Community, of our families…

But because of the situation in recent decades and since the issue of national borders involves different responsibilities, since the Lebanese government declared that the Shebaa Farms are Lebanese, the Shebaa Farms are Lebanese! And the Resistance will take responsibility, alongside the State and the Lebanese people, to liberate the Shebaa farms, the Kfar Shuba Hills and the Lebanese part of the Ghajar village. 

And if you like, we have no problem debating the issue of the 7 villages and of the tens of thousands of dunams (of agricultural land) belonging to our families in the border villages that are occupied by Israel. […] 

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“Any amount counts, because a little money here and there, it’s like drops of water that can become rivers, seas or oceans…” Hassan Nasrallah