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Monday, July 24, 2006
MEMRI: Nasrallah: I Told Lebanese Political Leaders We Would Abduct Israeli Soldiers

Special Dispatch - Lebanon/Jihad & Terrorism Studies Project
July 25, 2006
No. 1211

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

To view this Special Dispatch in HTML, visit:
http://www.memri.org/bin/opener_latest.cgi?ID=SD121106 .

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://www.memritv.org/search.asp?ACT=S9&P1=1200
.

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."

Endnote:
(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,
http://memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=IA28906 ; 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, http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=ia&ID=IA28806 ;
Special Dispatch No. 1208, "Iran and the Recent Escalation on Israel's
Borders (5): Reactions in Iran, Lebanon, and Syria," July 18, 2006,
http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=sd&ID=SP120806 ;
Special Dispatch No. 1207, "Iran and the Recent Escalation on Israel's
Borders (4): Reactions in Iran, Lebanon, and Syria," July 17, 2006,
http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=sd&ID=SP120706 ;
Special Dispatch No. 1206, "Iran and the Recent Escalation on Israel's
Borders (3): Reactions in Iran, Lebanon, and Syria," July 14, 2006,
http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=sd&ID=SP120606 ;
Special Dispatch No. 1205, "Iran and the Recent Escalation on Israel's
Borders (2): Reactions in Iran, Lebanon, and Syria," July 14, 2006,
http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=sd&ID=SP120506 ;
Special Dispatch No. 1204, "Iran and the Recent Escalation on Israel's
Borders: Reactions in Iran, Lebanon, and Syria," July 13, 2006,
http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=sd&ID=SP120406 .

*********************
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