Speech by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah on May 25, 2021, on the occasion of the 21st anniversary of the Liberation of Lebanon.
Note: This is not a literal translation of Nasrallah’s speech, but a detailed summary of its content.
Praise be to God. Greetings on the Prophet and his family. Peace be upon you, as well as the Mercy of God.
I apologize for having given no speech since Al-Quds Day, I was a bit sick and I still am [Nasrallah clearly had difficulties breathing and was coughing; it was a pneumonia, not Covid, despite the usual Israeli propaganda about a terminal disease, as proven by his ability to make a 2-hours live speech on May 25, and by his healthy looks on his June 8th 1-hour-speech].
The days gone by have seen historical events which I have followed closely, but I could not speak publicly despite my will. I will speak extensively about the events in Gaza in this speech. Quranic verse: « And slacken not in following up the enemy: if ye are suffering hardships, they are suffering similar hardships; but ye have hope from God while they have none. » (S. IV, v. 104).
The month of May saw some unhappy events (the Nakba) and other happy ones (the Liberation of Lebanon on May 25, 2000). Congratulations to the people of Palestine who have added a new victory, from Gaza to Jerusalem to the territories occupied in 1948. Condolences to the families of martyrs and best wishes for recovery to the wounded. Congratulations in particular to the cadres of the Resistance & the people of Gaza who patiently endured Israeli barbarity.
I also congratulate the Lebanese on this Liberation Day. I want the Lebanese people, especially the new generations, not to forget that this Liberation of May 25, 2000 is the result of long years of sacrifices by many Lebanese and Resistance factions, not just Hezbollah. Let us recall the memory of the martyrs of Hezbollah, Amal movement, other nationalist movements, the Lebanese and Palestinian resistance fighters, as well as the Lebanese Army and the martyrs of the Syrian army. Let us not forget the Lebanese civilian martyrs, men, women and children, victims of the civil war and of the Israeli massacres. Finally, we should mention the martyrs of the Resistance and the people’s support for this Resistance. I don’t speak only of southern Lebanon, but of the Bekaa, cradle of Hezbollah, and all over Lebanon. May 25, 2000 (the date of the expulsion of the last Israeli forces occupying Lebanon) was the victory of all of Lebanon, of Beirut, of the North, of every place in Lebanon. The whole country helped shape this victory.
I recall in particular the martyr Sayed Abbas Mousawi (former Hezbollah Secretary General), assassinated by Israel with his wife and child; the martyr Sheikh Ragheb Harb; the martyr Imad Moghniyeh; the martyr Sayed Zulfiqar. A whole caravan of Hezbollah martyrs.
In addition to the Lebanese Resistance and the Lebanese people, we must salute the official Lebanese position embodied by President Emile Lahoud, Nabih Berri and Salim al-Hoss, as well as the majoritary position of the Lebanese government which supported the Resistance and its legitimacy. All this made it possible to obtain the Liberation, and to avoid the civil war that Ehud Barak was preparing (to devastate Lebanon after the departure of the Israeli troops).
I also praise the Syrian support of Hafez al-Assad and Bashar al-Assad, and the support of Iran, of Imam Khomeini and Imam Khamenei. And I especially salute Qassem Soleimani’s role in the 2000 victory, even though his name and role were kept secret at the time. This Liberation ushered in the era of victories for the Arab-Muslim world. On May 25, 2000, I dedicated this victory to the Palestinian people, with the Liberation of Palestine and Al-Quds (Jerusalem) being the ultimate goal. This victory opened a new culture, new values, imposing new clear strategic equations. In 2000, many Zionist leaders spoke of the dire consequences this humiliating retreat would have. Yithzak Shamir, at Ben-Gurion’s grave, spoke of Hezbollah’s victory as something that could lead to Israel’s demise. Then took place the first Intifada in 2000, and the Liberation of Gaza in 2005.
The Popular Armed Resistance established two strong bases in Lebanon and Gaza, which the enemy wanted to destroy. He failed, accumulating defeats and strengthening the Resistance, whether during the 2006 war against Lebanon, or the 2008, 2012 or 2014 wars in Gaza. The siege of Gaza for more than 15 years, assassination campaigns, etc. have also failed. The last 11-day war is very different. But all these wars won by the Palestinian and Lebanese camp have confirmed and strengthened the path of the Resistance.
I now come to the last battle named “Sword of Al-Quds” by the Palestinian Resistance. I will not go into detail, but explain why this is a great victory and what it announces for the future of the struggle against Israel. The beginning was in Al-Quds (Jerusalem), with Israel’s insistence on ethnically cleansing Al-Quds and the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, attacks on Palestinians, preventing worshipers from praying at Al-Aqsa during Ramadan (the Palestinians from the territories of 1948, 1967 and Jerusalem itself). Israel did its best to prevent worshipers from going to Al-Quds and Al-Aqsa, and repeatedly assaulted those who did manage to get there.
There was a real threat to Al-Quds, which caused the Resistance in Gaza to issue a historic ultimatum to Israel: cease your ethnic cleansing in Sheikh Jarrah and your assaults on believers in Al-Aqsa, or we will intervene militarily. The threat was carried out by Hamas and Islamic Jihad, who launched their rockets/missiles at the promised time.
This whole crisis was caused by the stupidity of Netanyahu & the Israeli leaders, their arrogance, hubris, contempt and underestimation of Arabs, traits which are a constant in the history of Israel. All previous wars had the same cause, and this enemy will remain blind, arrogant, stupid, making mistakes and miscalculations that will lead to its downfall and demise. Imam Khomeini said “Praise be to God who made our enemies stupid”. Netanyahu and the Israelis believed they could take over Jerusalem and Judaize it, expel Palestinian families, replace them with Jewish settlers, assault the Muslim/Christian worshippers, without anything happening, just empty protests. They did so, deeming the Arabs defeated and having normalized their relations with Israel. They believed that the Arab world had abandoned the cause, that the Palestinians of the territories occupied in 1948, of the West Bank and of Gaza were powerless.
The enemy never even imagined that Gaza could intervene militarily in defense of Al-Quds and Al-Aqsa. It hadn’t occurred to anyone within the Zionist entity, neither the political leaders, nor the military leaders, nor the security services. But Gaza surprised both the enemy and the friend. Israel did not imagine such a thing, and therefore persevered in its indiscriminate aggression in Al-Quds (Jerusalem). That’s why Israel was surprised and defeated.
Gaza’s decision is historic, and its lessons must be understood. Previously, all the wars in Gaza had causes linked to Gaza: reaction to assassinations or Israeli aggressions in Gaza, struggle against the severe siege of Gaza, etc. The Resistance’s calculations were still purely Gazan, protecting only the residents of Gaza. But what happened in this last round is that Gaza intervened to protect Al-Quds (Jerusalem), Sheikh Jarrah, Al-Aqsa. This decision is historic, exceptional, and turns things upside down. The Resistance knew it was heading for war, massacres, destruction of Gaza. But the Gaza Resistance was ready to sacrifice itself to defend Al-Quds (Jerusalem) and Al-Aqsa.
Gaza and all of its inhabitants sacrificed themselves to preserve Islam’s 3rd holiest site, considering themselves to be in charge and responsible for it. It was a decision of a high level of jihad and sincerity, and that is why it had this enormous influence, rocking the Palestinians all over occupied Palestine, with the support of the refugees and the whole world, except the minority of zombies (Arab dictators) who normalized their relations with Israel. The protests on the Lebanese-Israeli, Jordanian-Israeli border and all around the world, the popular support and final victory were exceptional, commensurate with this exceptional decision of the Gaza Resistance.
The Zionists must understand this, as must the Muslim community and the Resistance Axis, but I am addressing the enemy and its leaders: this experience must lead you to redo all your calculations. You should know that laying your hands on Al-Quds and Al-Aqsa is a red line. Assassinations here or there, expropriations here or there, besieging here or there has nothing to do with laying your hands on Al-Quds and Al-Aqsa, our holy places, as demonstrated by what Gaza has done, the promises made and kept by the Resistance in Gaza. They were sincere and will stand ready to do what they did again if Al-Quds and Al-Aqsa are threatened or desecrated again.
All the factions of the Resistance Axis (Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, Irak’s PMU & Yemeni Resistance) were in constant contact, hour by hour during this war. In the future, we will ensure that touching Al-Quds and Al-Aqsa will not only involve Gaza but the entire Resistance Axis. The Resistance in Gaza has imposed a new equation: if Israel lays its hands on Al-Quds and Al-Aqsa, Gaza is going to war. What we must now impose is that if Israel lays its hands on Al-Quds and Al-Aqsa, then there will be a regional war!
The whole Resistance Axis must be ready and make this clear to Israel: we will never allow the Al-Aqsa Mosque to be endangered. For the outcome of any regional war can only be the eradication of the Zionist entity. It is this new equation that will allow us to protect the holy city of Al-Quds (Jerusalem) and its Muslim and Christian holy places. We are working very seriously on it. When our holy places are in danger, there is no more red line, no more calculation (= it will be total war).
I will not analyze all the consequences of this war, but highlight a few of them:
1/ The soul of the Resistance resurfaced in all the Palestinians, who all united and rose up as one man, in Gaza, the West Bank, the territories occupied in 1948, the Palestinians refugees all over the world, etc. The decades-long division and dislocation is over: the Palestinian people are united.
2/ The Palestinian cause has been revived all over the world. It was deemed buried once and for all by Trump and normalization, but this cause has reclaimed its prominent place all over the world, in all media, all minds and all consciousnesses.
3/ The Palestinian identity and the dream of Liberation have been brought back to the fore.
4/ Belief in the Armed Resistance and the Intifada has once again become the best choice to obtain Liberation. The soul of Resistance has returned to our peoples.
5/ All the claims of the normalizers, who said that the Palestinians themselves had abandoned the cause, have been proven to be untrue. The Palestinians have proven that they remain committed to their cause and ready to make any sacrifices.
6/ The process of normalization itself is in jeopardy, as well as all the Arab regimes that are committed to it.
7/ The Deal of the Century is definitely buried. The Resistance in Gaza and the Israeli failure to win made the Biden administration abandon Trump’s concessions. Biden put East Jerusalem back on the table and called on the Israelis not to expropriate the residents of Sheikh Jarrah. The heart of the Deal of the Century was to give all of Al-Quds (Jerusalem) to Israel, but that is forgotten now. Of course, Biden did not intervene for humanitarian reasons, but because he saw Israel’s helplessness and the risk of an explosion in the region, which thwarted his own international priorities.
8/ The true face of Israel, barbaric, bloodthirsty, slaughtering children, racist and Jewish supremacist, clearly returned to everyone’s eyes and mind, despite Israel’s grip on media and social networks. Israel couldn’t care less about the opinion of the Arab world, but not that of the Western world, and we have seen that even EU countries were forced to condemn Israel in one way or another, and put it in an awkward position.
9/ One of the most important political results is that the compass of conflict in the region has settled again on Israel, after years of civil wars, creation of bogus enemies like Iran, etc. Today, it is clear to the whole world (and not just in the Arab-Muslim world) that the enemy of humanity, of justice, of truth, the racist and criminal entity is Israel and nobody else.
After discussing the political consequences of this Gaza-Israel war, I now come to the military consequences. We must take into account the scales (in this asymmetric conflict): on the one hand, Israel is the regular Army of a State, US-backed, which has the most powerful air force in the region, and on the other hand, Gaza, under siege for more than 15 years, is a tiny territory surrounded on all sides, with +2 million inhabitants, and an ungrateful geography (from the point of view of Resistance opportunities: no mountains, etc.). Some weapons from Gaza are imported and others are manufactured locally. But we can clearly see that despite their very limited possibilities, and Israel’s total control over information (Gaza is under constant surveillance by all means: drones, electronic surveillance, spies, etc.), Gaza has been able to demonstrate courage, sagacity and victorious struggle against one of the most militarily powerful States in the world.
I will quickly set out the military consequences of this conflict:
1/ The entry of Gaza into the protection equation of Al-Quds, Al-Aqsa and Sheikh Jarrah. In fact, Gaza has entered the issues of all of Palestine, shifting from defense to attack.
2/ Despite the severe siege, the Resistance was able to greatly improve its rocket/missile & fighting capacities. For 11 days, they continued to fire rockets/missiles despite Israel’s best efforts, its planes, drones, artillery strikes, etc.
3/ Gaza even proved its ability to fire rockets/missiles at times announced in advance, to the point that some brothers were surprised, advising not to give this information to the enemy (which would allow him to better defend itself), but it was a point of strength (psychological warfare).
4/ The number of rockets/missiles fired was very large, hundreds every day, which reflects very large stocks and great skill. The type of rockets/missiles fired, the targets hit, the damage done, it was all very powerful.
5/ All of this shook the Israeli State like never before. All countries can go through civil wars, very trying crises, and remain. But Israel is a fake, artificial State that has been shaken to the point that its very existence has been called into question. Israel is a State whose precondition for existence is security. If security is no longer there, all Israelis (who all have dual citizenships) will come back from where they come from: Europe, USA, Australia… At the first (serious) storm, Israeli society will pack up and leave! This sets Israel apart from all other countries: the Palestinians, despite 1948 and 1967, remained attached to their land. They are willing to sacrifice themselves by the hundreds of thousands to return there, until this day. They have not abandoned their territory! But Israel, no! The Israelis have their second passport ready, their suitcase ready, and they will leave at the first storm: if neither the government nor the military can protect them, why would they stay? This consequence, namely to shake Israel to such an extent, is unprecedented, even during the 2006 war. Never before has such a large area of Israel been under rocket fire: Tel Aviv, Beer Sheva, Ashdod, airports, the Negev… 70% of Israelis were holed up in shelters for 11 days ! The worst for Israel was not the material losses, but the psychological losses: the warnings rang everywhere, introducing terror into their hearts. It doesn’t really matter if the rockets hit their target or not!
6/ In addition to all the economic losses and the feeling of insecurity at home, it is the same abroad: who is going to come and invest in Israel without guarantee of security for their investments, without stability? Israel’s dream of becoming an economical/financial hub in the Mediterranean is over!
7/ For the first time, the Palestinian territories occupied in 1948 entered into revolt. It’s not just Gaza and the West Bank anymore. All Israeli leaders recognize that this is an existential threat for Israel!
8/ The Gaza Resistance was also exceptional: the way they carried out the fight, the way they prepared for a ground invasion, to the point that the enemy did not dare to set foot in Gaza, all of this is a huge victory.
9/ The Resistance was able to present to its people, to the whole world and to its enemies a brilliant image of victory.
On the other hand, let us see the failures of the enemy, as admitted by their officials and experts:
1/ Failure to achieve any strategic success after 11 days. Nothing!
2/ Israeli officials speak of tactical successes, but these are insignificant for such a powerful army: destroying some tunnels, killing some cadres, it’s negligible! The rocket fire could not be stopped, and Israel did not even know where it was coming from. Even when they knew the time of the rocket salvos in advance, their planes and drones were unable to locate them. The Iron Dome was also a failure. The 90% interception figure is a lie, it’s more like 50-60%. The damage proves that their 90% figure for the Iron Dome is a lie. The proof of the failure of the Iron Dome is also the fact that Netanyahu asked for military aid from Biden, who immediately granted it. The rockets kept hitting all of occupied Palestine!
3/ The failure of the trap set for the Resistance in Gaza, which Israel had been preparing to neutralize for years, but the Israeli Army proved to be powerless.
4/ The failure to prevent weapons from reaching the Resistance. The rockets did not stop and could have been launched at this rate for months on end. Israel is incapable not only of knowing where the rockets are, but has no idea how many they are, which is a colossal failure of their intelligence.
5/ The failure to locate (and assassinate) the main military leaders. Israel came up with several names, including Hamas Commander Mohamed Dayf, but they failed to kill them. That some (minor field commanders) were killed is normal in a war, but it is far from what Israel wanted.
6/ Israel, both in terms of political, military and security leaders, was unable, as I said, not only to anticipate, but even to imagine that Gaza would enter the scene militarily to protect Al-Quds, Al-Aqsa and Sheikh Jarrah, just as Israel was unable to anticipate or imagine that all of Palestine would rise up in the face of Israeli aggression at Al-Quds.
7/ The worst part is that Israel found itself completely taken aback, lost, not knowing what to do with this unforeseen explosion on all sides.
And now I ask a question to the Chief of Staff of the Israeli Army, Aviv Kochavi, this so-called “philosopher” who for 3 years has been rethinking Israel’s strategy, organizing colossal maneuvers, etc. His main thought was that the infantry was the basis for achieving victory. But this great strategic thinker [irony] bit the dust against Gaza, despite all his measures, all his maneuvers, all his preparations. There was not even a land incursion into Gaza! It’s a humiliating mark of their defeat.
I am not claiming that Israel is incapable of carrying out a major ground operation, no, but I am claiming that the morale of the Israeli troops is shaped by fear: they are terrified at the idea of a ground operation, whether in Gaza, Lebanon or anywhere. Despite their technology, weaponry, planes, tanks, etc., they are scared to death to conduct a ground operation. They are still haunted by their bloody debacle in 2014 in Gaza (+60 soldiers killed), with soldiers they did not even know if they were alive. That the so-called most powerful army in the region is so afraid is a major strategic failure.
Lastly, Israel has failed to present even an image of victory, short of a real victory! Polls indicate that no more than 20% of Israelis consider Israel to have won. So much for the description, consequences and lessons to be learned from this confrontation in Gaza.
I come now to Lebanon. On this day commemorating the Liberation of Lebanon, I assure the Lebanese people that Hezbollah has never been better off than today. We are more powerful than ever (weapons, numbers, experience, preparation, faith, courage, morale, etc.). I tell the Israelis not to be stupid, not to be arrogant, not to miscalculate against Lebanon. The rules of engagement remain valid (the slightest aggression against Lebanon will trigger a response). You made a big miscalculation with Gaza and saw what it cost you, so imagine what it would be like with Hezbollah, which is in a much better situation than Gaza! Despite the sanctions and the difficulties, we are not under siege! We will not tolerate any aggression against our territory or population!
Third point, the masses who support Hezbollah remain firmly attached to the Resistance despite the economic difficulties, which will not change the massive support of our popular base. The President of Lebanon, Michel Aoun, continues to support the Resistance and the rights of Lebanon. The same goes for the government and the Parliament. All US sanctions and threats weaken neither the Resistance nor those who support it.
Fourth point, in terms of our pending accounts with Israel, we add (to our 2 martyrs in Damascus to avenge) the martyr Mohamad Tahan, killed on the Lebanese-Israeli border while demonstrating unarmed for Palestine. I renew my congratulations and condolences to his family. This blood will be avenged: we had the patience not to avenge it immediately, but we add it to the pending accounts (and he will be avenged sooner or later).
Fifth point before the conclusion: the formation of a new government is the key to everything. There is no need for the resignation of President Aoun, nor the resignation of Prime Minister Hariri charged with forming the government, nor the simultaneous resignation of both. What prevents the formation of a government are purely internal obstacles.
There are two solutions:
– either Hariri sits down with Aoun for as long as it takes to achieve the formation of a government. Lebanon is in your hands.
– or a friend intervenes to help you, like Nabih Berri, the President of the Chamber of Deputies. Everyone must help them to achieve the formation of a government to save the country. There is no other solution. Because the country must move forward: the dire economic, social situation can’t stand the vacuum.
In conclusion, looking back on all that has happened over the past few days, months and years, the Middle East has gone through the 10 most difficult years it has ever experienced. Entire countries were targeted for destruction. But the Resistance Axis thwarted these plans. The Resistance Axis not only preserved the Middle East, but also enabled Palestine to stand tall and achieve victories. If it hadn’t been for Iran who faced ISIS alongside the local forces in Irak and Syria, where would we be? What would have become of Lebanon, of the other countries? Iran has overcome the threat of (US) war, triumphed over sanctions, and is heading towards presidential elections. ISIS is almost eradicated in Iraq. All of Iraq supported Gaza and the Resistance. Syria is recovering from ISIS, and will also hold presidential elections tomorrow. Lebanon is holding on despite everything. But imagine what the situation would be in Palestine if Iran, Syria and Lebanon had been defeated? Where would we be, with all the regimes having normalized with Israel? Today, the Arab-Muslim world stands alongside Palestine, from one end to the other, and joins the Resistance camp at least at the level of the populations.
And in terms of political and military forces, Yemen has joined the Resistance Axis, and it is ready to share its bread with Gaza despite the famine there (Nasrallah is moved to tears): the solidarity of famine-stricken Yemen with Palestine, ready to share the very bread it lacks, while the billionaire oil monarchies normalize with Israel! This is a basis that makes you optimistic about the future.
The Liberation of Al-Quds is closer than ever, and the demise of Israel is very near. Independence, stability, noble and dignified peace are the future of our region.
I thank all those who have supported the Resistance, in one way or another, first and foremost the Islamic Republic of Iran & Sayed Khamenei, as well as the soul of Hajj Qassem Soleimani who has dedicated more than 20 years to strengthen our region. When he came to our help, he had not a single white hair on his head, and when he left, all of his hair was white. I salute the soul of this great martyr, Soleimani, who sacrificed everything for the region and Palestine, tireless even when others got tired.
Peace be upon you, as well as the Mercy of God.
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