WED 21 - 8 - 2019
Date: May 3, 2019
Source: The Daily Star
Nasrallah warns against Israeli invasion attempts
Ghinwa Obeid| The Daily Star
BEIRUT: Any Israeli forces that attempt to invade south Lebanon will be destroyed, Hezbollah’s secretary-general said Thursday. “We renew the resistance’s promise that the Israeli battalions and vehicles that think of going into south Lebanon will be destroyed,” Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah said.

Nasrallah was speaking in a televised speech to commemorate the anniversary of the 2016 death of Hezbollah commander Mustafa Badreddine while fighting in Syria.

Badreddine was also one of the main suspects in the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. He was indicted by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon for his alleged role in the crime, though the charges against him were dropped in 2016 after it was confirmed he had been killed.

Nasrallah reiterated that talk of conflict with Israel was part of a “psychological, political and diplomatic war in order to pressure the Lebanese state and officials.”

He said this pressure was embodied in conditions the United States and others placed on Lebanon to resolve issues such as the demarcation of Lebanon’s land and maritime borders with Israel, as well as Hezbollah’s weapons.

“This means that if [the Lebanese state] doesn’t yield [to the pressure] ... and if the issue of the resistance’s weapons isn’t resolved, then Israel is coming with a war,” Nasrallah said.

“It is enough to tell the Lebanese not to allow anyone to intimidate them. You are not weak.” He underscored that sanctions Hezbollah had been subjected to hadn’t affected its readiness or power.

The Hezbollah secretary-general also seized the occasion to implicitly respond to Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Joumblatt, who late last month declared that the occupied Shebaa Farms were not Lebanese.

“Following the liberation of the south in 2000, maps in the south were changed by Syrian and Lebanese army officers in order to keep Syrian and non-Syrian pretexts that the Shebaa Farms are Lebanese and they must be liberated by any means,” Joumblatt said in an interview with Russia Today.

He was referring to Hezbollah’s argument that it needs to maintain its weapons to liberate the remaining Israeli-occupied lands.

“The [Lebanese] state says that the Shebaa Farms are Lebanese, and this is mentioned in the [governments’] policy statements, and this matter has been decided on,” Nasrallah said.

“And any talk other than that from someone who used to believe it was Lebanese and now doesn’t, doesn’t have any value at all and will not change anything,” Nasrallah said, referring to Joumblatt’s shift in position.

Joumblatt has declared the Shebaa Farms are Lebanese on multiple occasions in the past. The Druze leader is known for changing his positions on major political issues.

During his speech, Nasrallah spoke of Badreddine’s insistence on being with Hezbollah on the ground in Syria, adding that the party was constantly reminded that it had made the right decision to head to Syria. Hezbollah has been fighting alongside the Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The group publicly acknowledged its involvement in 2013.

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