- The speech delivered by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah during the “Dignity and Victory” Festival held by Hezbollah at Raya Stadium on Tuesday 26 July 2011.
Praise be to Allah the Lord of the world. Peace be on our Master and Prophet Abi Al Qassem Mohammad and on his chaste Household, chosen companions and on all prophets and messengers.
Peace be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings.
Allah Al Mighty says in His Holy Book: "Call to mind when ye were a small band, despised through the land, and afraid that men might despoil and kidnap you; but He provided a safe asylum for you, strengthened you with His aid, and gave you good things for sustenance: that ye might be grateful.
Praise be to Allah on His victory, support, mercy and kindness.
First, my salutations are for all of you. I thank you for your massive attendance on this great and holy commemoration of the fifth anniversary of the divine, historic victory which you made with your blood, tears, pains, aspirations, sacrifices and steadfastness.
Every year on this occasion, I find it my duty even if briefly to salute and thank the souls of the martyrs – the martyrs of the army, people and the Resistance with all its factions - as well as the families of the martyrs, all those who were wounded and their families, all those who were detained in that war and returned, all those who were displaced from their homes, all the good hearts who sheltered them and embraced them, all those whose houses were demolished and whose wealth was demolished and remained patience and all those who supported, backed and aided with a deed, action, stance, prayers, smile or tear in Lebanon, the Arab and Islamic world and all around the world whether countries, governments, peoples, institutions, forces, parties, groups, personalities or individuals. I also pay an ever renewed tribute to those whom I might have forgotten and to all who stood by Lebanon and the Resistance in Lebanon to make that victory.
Brothers and sisters! We recall the stage of war not only to hail the glory but also to draw morals to what might take place in the coming days and years and the upcoming stage.
Going back to the days of war, I believe that among the most important factors that contributed to the victory achieved by this front and the defeat that afflicted the other side were determination, mutual confidence, hope of victory, faith and steadfastness on all domains and dimensions. It’s the steadfastness of the people. Steadfastness mainly means not giving up to the conditions, pressures and settlements that might not be to the interest of Lebanon. It’s the steadfastness of the Army and the security forces. The main factor of this steadfastness which set the basis to every other kind of steadfastness is the steadfastness of the Resistance fighters in the battlefields. This steadfastness in itself and apart from its results was a real miracle. How could thousands of Resistance fighters who did not have an aerial cover fight night and day all through 33 days in all villages, towns, hills, valleys and posts? How could they practice all kinds of fighting, confront soldiers, battalions, brigades and squads, and face tanks and launch rockets while fire and shells were raining over them and while houses were being demolished all around them in an unimaginable way? This steadfastness is legendary. In fact and in all norms and military standards, man can not imagine such steadfastness and determination.
During July War, all those who were in the battlefield remained steadfast. In Bint Jbeil, the enemy made a gap with the hope that fighters run away. However, fighters remained and many others joined them. Here the element of strength which we must always pay attention to is asserted.
On the other side, the Israeli enemy started the war against Lebanon with arrogance, pride and overconfidence, though it was still under the effect of the defeat of 2000 and the defeat of pulling out of Gaza Strip in face of the Palestinian Resistance and the Intifada of the Palestinian people. Still that is its nature. It has a haughty arrogant nature. However, no soon that turned under the impact of the steadfastness of Lebanon with all its components and under the impact of the steadfastness of the Resistance fighters in particular into perplexity, weakness, confusion and led to crisis of confidence among Israeli soldiers, officers, leaders, and generals and among the army leadership, the cabinet and the people who is occupying Palestine. Here I may talk about two levels: a higher level which is the collapse of confidence and a lower level which is the shake of confidence to a great degree. This is what we witnessed in the remaining days of the war whether on the level of political, military or popular performance. As the Israelis and their generals, elites, leaderships and even their people and polls show and acknowledge, this war has left dangerous repercussions on the entity and its political, security and military present and future. However in my opinion – and we are talking in the fifth anniversary of that war - the most important and strategic outcome of July War was the crisis of confidence which was shaken to a great degree among the occupation’s people, political leadership and especially among the army. On the other hand, confidence increased at this side as well as certainty in the Resistance, the choice of the Resistance and the Resistance fighters in Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq and the Arab and Islamic world. This psychological factor – the confidence, certitude, respect and faith in the right path, choice and confrontation or the lack of confidence, certitude, hope and doubt in the right choice are both a very important strategic element. It might also be decisive on our or their side in depicting the image of the ongoing struggle in the region. As such we usher to the post war era. We find that Israel, backed by the United States and its supporters worldwide had since the end of the war put a group of targets on top of which is restoring or at least repairing this confidence which was lost between the people, the political leadership and the army at a time it is naturally trying to restore its power and political, military and security capabilities to impose the conditions it wants in the future whether on Lebanon, on our Palestinian brethrens, on Syria or on the other Arab or Islamic region. Here I might tackle some of the factors which the Israelis focus on now to restore confidence. I will talk about two important factors with little discussion because everything is reflected on our side. This evaluation is essential for everyone who wants to make an analysis or to make an assessment on all future possibilities: the possibility of a war taking place or not. The first element is military, mobilizing, executive procedures or efforts which the Israelis are undertaking since that time: the frequent drills, retraining troops, recalling the reservists and training them anew, developing arms and equipments in a bid to find a military solution to the problem of the falling rockets, which this time will fall not on Haifa and beyond but rather far and further beyond Haifa.
They are working at addressing the military gaps which emerged during July War: maritime ships, the tanks which were hit in South Lebanon, leadership and control, coordination between the military troops and the so called arms. They are exerting such effort in addition to starting maneuvers unprecedented in the history of the entity on the level of the internal front. The internal front means the people, the state, institutions and the society. They started with Turning Point One, Two, Three, Four and few weeks ago they wrapped up Turning Point Five. It was a drill at the level of all of Occupied Palestine i.e. all the usurping entity. The aim of this maneuver is training people how to act in case of war. Then they present in the media all what they do whether concerning arms, filling gaps, training and maneuvers or concerning the security, information or internal levels. One of the goals of presenting them in the media in an intensive way is restoring confidence to the Israeli people so as to tell them: Your government is a strong and a determined government. Your army is a strong and a determined army. You too must be strong in confronting any danger or challenge or war. However was this in fact able to lead to the results desired by the Israelis?
I will go back to the Israelis themselves, to the polls, to the comments made by generals, political, security and military leaderships, journalists, parties, Knesset members and others. We will see that they acknowledge and confess that there are very great dilemmas which haven’t been addressed so far whether on the military, security or internal levels.
Let’s take as an example Turning Point Five which took place weeks ago. It is enough to mention two associated results. I have referred to them or to one of them previously. What is the result? They have staged a drill. Indeed more than one showed up on the Israeli screen to say that all of that is in vain. When war takes place and rockets fall everywhere no one will respond. They said so. So apart from the cooperation of people and their seriousness, among the many results there are two clear results:
First: What do the Israelis say? The Israeli leadership tells the Israeli people: We are not able through military means – i.e. the Israeli army is not able through military means - to protect the internal front. The army is not able to counter all the rockets which will fall on targets inside the entity. So far the Iron Dome and all of that story did not lead to a total result. Also the Israeli army is not able to reach the posts of Resistance fighters and the rocket platforms whether in Lebanon or even in Gaza, Syria and Iran if we are to talk about what they suppose is a broader battle. Thus they are telling them that they are staging maneuvers to restore confidence and at the same time there is a message they are addressing the Israeli people with to the effect that time is over when we could as an Israeli army with our awe, shout, threat, air force and extensive arm protect the internal front militarily. This is over. This was over during July War.
What are they telling them as a second result? In any war, there would not be anymore an internal front and frontlines. That’s because the entire field would be the front, and the internal front would be part of the war. If Israel wanted to launch a war, what would be the psychological results which are related to confidence, hope, restoring the feeling of security and stability? So that is not leading to the desired results.
The second element: So the first element - these military and security procedures and maneuvers – addresses gaps and crises sensed by the Israelis who so far failed to address the existing crisis of confidence. As I have said confidence is a decisive element in any war and the evaluation of any war and the results of any war. The second element is related to psycho-media. As we said, they have been exerting great efforts especially lately to readdress confidence. Among what they are doing as far as media and politics are concerned is that some of them – some of the Israelis and not all of them – have started diminishing the results of July War and presenting a somehow different image. First the Israelis unanimously agreed that what took place in July War was a defeat, a crush and a beat. They formed Vin Grad. That was apparent. However lately and to diminish the catastrophe on their people and on themselves, they started searching thoroughly for some achievements made during the war. They say that the war included a defeat and a flop. However, great results were made during July war or what they call Lebanon war II.
Let’s see the important achievements made during July War.
Before ushering into that, my comment is that imagine that Israelis are seeking to restore confidence to people and the army through lies, misleading people, and magnifying things to turn them to important achievements. I will give one example only which was given by Shimon Peres who is currently the head of the state but with little scrutiny we may say that he is the only one to remain from the generation of Sharon and Isaac Rabin. So what did the eldest of the Zionists find and always tries to reiterate? He found that there are two achievements. Now pay attention. There are two achievements which deserve a pose made during July War:
The first achievement is forcing so and so – meaning me - to enter the bunker.
The second achievement is preserving calm on the northern borders of occupied Palestine.
Let’s go to the text of the interview he made some short time ago in which he says: The war halted the lunching of rockets on our settlements and Hassan Nasrallah is hiding in his bunker and running away from the horror of the international law. These are the two great achievements.
Now where is the scandal? The scandal is that when they formed Vin Grad and met with the officials and Peres was part of the staff concerned in running the war, what did Shimon Peres himself say in Vin Grad report?
He says: After all, the whole world stood by our side because we are weak and not because we are righteous. There prevailed a feeling that during July War, Israel was not as it always used to be. It was not bright, not surprising and not creative. Thus we lost some of our international preventive ability; as such today we are considered weaker than before. We lost some of our preventive ability in the eyes of the Arabs. This is made clear in the aspects of stripping the existence of Israel from its legitimacy. Prior to this war, the Arab world has given in one way or another to the existence of Israel. However following the war, the retreat began. He himself gave this presentation. What is he saying now? He is saying that they won the war and made two achievements: So and so was forced to the bunker and they made calmness at the border.
I will comment on this. If you searched, you would find that these comments were made by the Israelis. So they themselves answered Shimon Peres.
First: Forcing so and so to the bunker was not even set among the war objectives. During the thirty three days, none of the Israeli leaders said that one of the war objectives was to prevent so and so from stepping the street.
Second: Such a result – i.e. preventing someone from stepping the street does not deserve launching a war that leads to serious results as far as the enemy entity is concerned. No rational human being might take such a step.
Third: None of the war objectives was achieved. This is said by the Israelis with the exception of those who try to mislead or lie. Among the war objectives was crushing and weakening Hezbollah; but it grew stronger. Among the war objectives was restoring the two Israel prisoners without negotiations. However, they returned following vertical negotiations and our detainees returned with pride. Among the war objectives was finding a new Middle East. This Bush-Condoleezza Rice version of the objective was put to an end as well.
Now we turn to the second achievement which is preserving calmness on the northern borders. Well people have logic and are rational. At times things are beyond question. For example, you built a house. Still someone comes and tells you I want to build a house for you. You do not have a house; I want to build a house for you. You tell him I have a house. This is beyond question. Another example; if someone is brown and you tell him I want to make you brown. You tell him but I am brown. This is beyond question.
The border between Lebanon and occupied Palestine has been calm since May 25, 2000. It did not need a war to be launched on Lebanon and afflict Israel with all of these losses so that calmness is restored at the border. The calmness along the border was imposed by the Resistance with its victory in 2000. The calmness, tranquility and serenity enjoyed by the people of the South who returned to their villages and fields and built their houses even at the barbed line were imposed by the Resistance through the balance of deterrence and the balance of terror in 2000. The Israelis, who are speaking of calm have forgotten that ever since 1948 and since their occupation of Palestine, were the ones who used to launch wars, perpetrate crimes, storm into our land, occupy our land and rob our natural resources. Years ago they used to rob Al Wazani River. However, because of the Resistance, calmness was imposed and the aggression was prevented. That’s because the Resistance is not a project of war. We always used to say that the mission of the Resistance is to defend its country, land, people and the dignity and honor of this people. This was achieved on May 25, 2000. So even talking about calmness at the border is beyond question. Consequently, it is not an achievement. With all the Israeli exerted efforts, the higher voice in the entity is for those politicians, generals and elites who still talk about the defeat, flop and inability and call for a serious and not a false address or else defeat will be reiterated in any future war.
Now there is no time to tell you more, but I hope that you follow up with this issue. Senior current and former generals, former chiefs of staff, former Mosad heads, former heads of national security council besides political elites are warning the Israeli cabinet against taking any risk not at the level of a regional war – i.e. against waging a war against this entire axis – but also against Lebanon only and even against Hezbollah only. They are warning the Israeli cabinet against taking any risk of this kind. They are telling it that such a risk will lead unknown results. Even some say clearly that the results would be catastrophic and that defeat would be reiterated. This exists and it’s not I who is creating it.
Accordingly, these measures were fruitless to the effect of renewing confidence which I said is a decisive element.
On the other hand, i.e. as far as our front is concerned, since the end of war in 2006, very great efforts are being exerted to raise doubt around the Resistance and its victories, achievements, intentions, backgrounds and aims and for the sake of distorting its image. Millions of dollars were spent to that effect.
In this framework also comes the attempt to accuse the honorable Resistance fighters by the STL of the assassination of former Prime Minister Martyr Rafiq Hariri and to accuse Hezbollah of an enormous lies and fabrications that you daily read in newspapers, hear in radio and TV outlets and see at websites when you wake up in the morning. All of such articles are baseless and have nothing to do with the culture, mentality or conduct of Hezbollah. The aim of all of that is striking the strong deep-rooted confidence in the Resistance, the confidence of the Resistance in itself and the confidence of the people in the Resistance. To wrap up this part of my speech today, I would like to tell the friend as well as the foe: Our trust in Allah and our confidence in His promise, His victory and our right choice and path can’t be shaken. In fact, today our Resistance is stronger than in any time in the past thanks for experience, events and victories.
I tell you also from the post of someone acquainted with details that the strength of the Resistance today in Lebanon on the level of its morals, integrity, courage, human cadres and materialistic capabilities is better and higher than in any time in the past since its taking off. The enemy is familiar with this fact too.
Today the enemy in the framework of its psychological war and attempts to restore the confidence of its masses is resorting to our courtesies. This is imitation and that does not work with them but with us. Few days ago, the Israelis said they promise the Lebanese in any future war with surprises. That’s not for them. That does not fit them. We will not be taken by surprise. There is an essential distinctive property. That’s because we suppose that Israel owns the power, weapons and technology which America and the West provide it with unlimitedly. Thus we will not be surprised by anything. However, you who look at us always with superiority and haughtiness were surprised to find that the Resistance has a mind, plotting powers, courage, bravery and some developed weapons. I tell the Israelis in particular: Listen to your generals who tasted defeat in Lebanon. The current chief of staff was the leader of the squad which was defeated in Lebanon in 2000. With his eyes he witnessed how the Israelis failed even to take their tanks and offices along with them and how they left Lahd Army behind in the streets. The commander of the northern front was in Lebanon. He fell in an ambush set by the Islamic Resistance. He has four bullets in his chest. You generals have tasted defeat in Lebanon, and you will not taste but defeat in Lebanon. Despite all the developments and advancements made by the Israelis to fill the gaps, the developments in Lebanon and what is taking place around us in the region and all the current events, indeed we are not war seekers. We are a group who are defending our country and our honor. We do not seek war but in case of war, our responsibility is to confront it. If anyone asks me; In case a war takes place now, are you ready to say the same phrase you said during the first days of the war when buildings were collapsing?
Now I am ready to stand and say with all might, determination and even stronger faith what I will say now to wrap this part. I have come to know the enemy whom Allah talks about and made us know when He says: "Thou wilt find them, of all people, most greedy of life". Morals and trust that come with fake means no soon will collapse. They do not have innate courage. They do not have innate faith. They are a people who have doubt in themselves. In as much as I know this enemy, and in as much as I know this people and these heroic fighters, I say: As I used to promise you of victory always, I promise you victory anew. Thus I tell the Zionists: Do not attempt to approach Lebanon and abandon all your dreams and greed in this country forever.
The second issue is that of oil and gas and the maritime borders with occupied Palestine. Much has been said lately to this effect, but allow me to tackle this issue for its importance and benefit from this meeting and this occasion and explain this issue on my own way because it needs to enjoy popular and national interest, embrace and follow up.
First: The Lebanese people are seriously before a true, historic and unprecedented opportunity in the history of Lebanon that makes Lebanon a rich country.
The Ayas we read a while ago do not say that Allah just made stronger and bestowed victory but also say "but He provided a safe asylum for you, strengthened you with His aid, and gave you good things for sustenance: that ye might be grateful." After all, these sacrifices will open new horizons. Today Lebanon has in its regional waters national wealth. So it won’t be portioned as the Lebanese way always goes. It is not the possession of a region or a sect or a side. What is in our regional waters mounts to be a national wealth. Official estimations which are true estimations say that the wealth in our regional waters – the Lebanese regional waters – worth billions of dollars. So they are facts and figures which we as Lebanese have never dreamt of. Unfortunately the greatest number we have heard of in Lebanon is not in our pocket. It is rather a debt on us: 50 or 55 or 60 billion dollars. I do not it know what is the number in particular.
So we are before a true opportunity if the Lebanese knew how to act and deal with this file away from childish misbehaviors and narrow-mindedness. If the Lebanese acted with national responsibility, we would be before an opportunity to pay back all the debts, enhance and develop our economy, resolve our financial and living crises and develop the living standards in Lebanon so that Lebanon becomes a strong able country that owns everything. Imagine what hundreds of billions of dollars may mean to a small country of a population of 4 or 5 millions. Here I would like to make a call so that those who want the Lebanese expatriates to return to Lebanon work seriously on this file since many people were forced to leave because of the social and living conditions. So we are before this opportunity. The current government and parliament must exert exceptional efforts. They made an Oil Law. The Ministry of Energy is setting implementation decrees and the current government has committed itself to endorse the implementation decrees of the Oil Law during 2011 meaning in the following few months. So it is supposed that with the beginning of 2012 things take a serious track with respect to invitations for tenders for companies to carry on researches and explorations and the like.
There is something that I would like to tackle in details as I do not know how much people follow up with it. It has to do with the economic area in the regional waters. According to officials in the state - as I do not have private information-, this area is 22500 square kilometers. It is a reservoir for an enormous oil wealth. There is an area in this region at the border between Lebanon and Occupied Palestine. This area is 850 square kilometers. Lebanon considers that this region is its and within its regional waters.
What did the Israelis do? They made a demarcation for the borders and included this area – 850 square kilometers – with the regional waters which they suppose is theirs at a time it is for Occupied Palestine. So it is a very big area – 850 square kilometers - which by the way researches say it includes oil resources worth billions of dollars; that is if we do not wish to say for hundreds of billions of dollars. Lebanon believes that this area (850 square Kilometers) is its and Israel has no right to adjoin it or search for oil or gas in it besides building facilities to dig out gas or oil from it.
This is a very sensitive issue. When it comes to the Lebanese economy, we used to benefit from agriculture. All of you know now what have become of agriculture. I do not want to open old files. All of you know what have become of agriculture. We used to live from industry; now all of you know what have become of industry. Finally Lebanon became a country of services. Now everyone is competing as far as services are concerned. After all, we are before an opportunity of a radical resolution. Lebanon is before an opportunity of a radical resolution for all its economic, financial, development and living crises. We must not waste this opportunity.
All officials expressed their stance. I would like to speak out about the stance of the Resistance also. However before going to first, second and third, I would like to give a remark or an explanation.
Indeed when I talk about the logic of the Resistance, any Resistance fighter does not believe in anything called Israel. We do not talk about Lebanese-Israeli borders. We talk about Lebanon’s borderlines with Occupied Palestine whether it is territorial or maritime. In fact, we do not acknowledge Israel’s right to exist besides yielding to its right to drill oil or gas from the Lebanese or Palestinian waters. However we reserve this convictional position to ourselves. I am talking here from a national position and from a position that preserves the Lebanese national interests.
As concerning the existing facts, first: In the Resistance, we believe that the maritime border demarcation process is among the duties of the state and consequently, as a Resistance, we do not have a technical view in that. We will not interfere as what took place on the eve of the pullout in 2000. When dispute over Shaaba Farms and Kfar Shouba Hills and others started we stood aside. I remember that I gave a speech in which I said that the territorial border demarcation process is among the duties of the state. When the Lebanese state through its official institutions says this land is for Palestine and that is for Lebanon, we will accept as a Resistance. If there is a piece of land which the Lebanese state considers Lebanese, the Resistance will act accordingly. The same logic applies to the maritime borders. The Lebanese state and not the Resistance sets the maritime borderlines. However, when the Lebanese state demarks or considers a region or an area in the regional waters as Lebanese regional waters, the Resistance will act accordingly.
The second point is that we fully trust the current government which is following up with the topic and will not relinquish, waste or neglect any of Lebanon’s rights in the regional waters or in its oil resources despite pressures and fears. Perhaps - I will not be decisive - this government at this timing is Lebanon’s opportunity to preserve these rights and restoring them.
Third, we call on the Lebanese government to make haste in taking the executive steps. If we divided the file and said there is the area of 850 square kilometers at the border and there is internal regional waters with is undisputed. This internal region includes gas and oil. It is demanded that the Lebanese government make haste in wrapping up all measures concerning it. Consequently it must finalize the implementation decrees and invite for bids so that drilling starts to be followed later on by digging out. Time is very important. This is linked to the Lebanese government dealing with this issue as a national priority above any other priority. That’s because when Lebanon comes to have billions of dollars, it will be easier to address crises. As far as this point is concerned – i.e. as far as the internal regional waters which is indisputable are concerned – I may as well today on the fifth anniversary of July War say with all confidence to all the states, governments and companies which would want to come to Lebanon to share in bids and start drilling and digging that Lebanon is able to provide these companies and their oil and gas facilities with protection. Lebanon is able to do that with all confidence. Do you know why? It’s not because it owns a strong air force but rather because who might attack these facilities have oil and gas. Whoever might attack the future oil and gas facilities in the Lebanese regional waters will have their facilities attacked. So let them know that Lebanon is able to do that. From this perspective Lebanon is fit of this blessing and of guarding this blessing. At times Allah bestows His blessing when He finds His slaves fit of guarding it.
Fourth, as far as the above mentioned 850 square kilometers are concerned, even this area has resources which worth billions of dollars. So hereof, as long as the Lebanese state considers this area Lebanese, it is Lebanese according to the Resistance. Consequently, in our courtesies, it is not a disputed area but rather an aggressed area. This area is aggressed against. Lebanon has its political and diplomatic chance to restore it through demarking the borderlines. However, we warn the Israelis against extending their hand to that region and undertaking any action that might lead to robbing Lebanon from Lebanon’s water wealth.
Here also we say that in listing priorities, Lebanon might not take the excavation companies to the area of 850 square kilometers. It might take them to the area adjacent to the secure coasts. Until Lebanon decides to benefit from this area, the Israelis must be warned against extending their hand to it. Also as far as the area of 850 square kilometers is concerned, we call on the state to exert every possible and legal effort to restore this area and spread the state control over it.
Here also I address all the Lebanese people to follow up, support and back the government as far as this great national event is concerned. In case this government or this state was able to pull out gas or oil, that will go to the Lebanese state treasury and all the Lebanese people will benefit from it. So it is neither March 8 Bloc or March 14 Bloc.
Finally I address the friend and the foe alike that Lebanon is able and will rely on all the elements of strength it owns to preserve its natural rights and restore its natural resources, and the most important element of strength is the army-people-Resistance formula. We all as Lebanese are concerned in this great national event.
As far as the upcoming state is concerned, we must be aware that any Israeli threat or act of arrogance is part of a psychological war which is launched against our peoples and societies. It is also a part of the campaign that aims at restoring confidence on their behalf. However following July War, Lebanon has entered to a totally different stage. Still what is important is that we cooperate and preserve the elements of resistance in it.
Again at the end of my word, I felicitate you and the Muslims in particular on the occasion of the Holy Month of Ramadan. I pray to Allah Al Mighty that He assist us in fasting and worshipping Him in it besides guarding its sanctity, giving it its right so that it really becomes a month of forgiveness, absolution and restoring dignity and esteem.
I pray to Allah that He pull affliction and sedition away from our Islamic and Arab countries and guide us to the honor, dignity, pride and happiness of this world and the Hereafter. Hundred returns. Peace be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings.
Lebanese State University Professor (EFL-EAP-ESP). News and Political Talk Show Anchor, Author & Producer.