Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s speech delivered during the central Ashura Council –Sayyed Ashuhada (pbuh) Compound 31 – 12 -2008

Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the world. It is evidently clear that many people in Lebanon and especially after the invasion in 1982 started assuming responsibility. I mean that should Israel in 1982 have occupied Lebanon, people would have said what have we to do with that? Let Israel stay in our land! What have we to do with that? Let Israel stay in our land! What have we to do with fighting and politics and the like! Israel would’ve named rulers, formed the parliament, plundered our waters and wealth and hurled our youths in prisons. We have the Wazani in our lands and still we don’t benefit from its waters. What if Israel was present here?

So people are assuming their responsibility. They have driven away the occupiers and resisted until occupiers were expelled from the capital Beirut, Mount Lebanon, Bekaa, Sidon, Tyr and the Border Line. People did not say this is the duty of the people of Bint Jbeil, Hasbaya and Marjoun, and not our duty. Let them liberate their lands! No, it’s rather the national feeling and the sense of legal and moral responsibility that made resistance persist. Starting 1985 till 2000 when the Border Line was liberated, we are still all adherent to the resistance pursuant to our sense of responsibility and not for luxury. We have two choices: either to live with humiliation or to live freely with dignity on our land. If we chose the second choices, there are consequences and sacrifices. That’s why people cling to the resistance. This sense of responsibility leads to clinging to the resistance. This was most clearly manifested in July Aggression in 2006 and consequently the resistance remained steadfast. The resistance fighters remained steadfast. The people remained and embraced and defended the resistance. They refused that the resistance be harmed even if in words. They bore a grudge against everyone who was biased against the resistance, who used to fail the resistance and who used to do harm to the resistance despite the demolition, wounds, killings and great number of martyrs and injured. Thus was the victory in July.

Today what’s taking place in Gaza Strip? I said on the first day – and praise be to Allah what we’ve said on the first day is proving to be right so far – that what’s taking place there is a Palestinian replica of what happened in Lebanon in July 2006: the onset of the battle, the background of the war and its course. The war has started days ago. I like to say that in general what’s taking place in Gaza – the steadfastness, the resistance, the patience and firmness – is among the blessings of this sense of responsibility the people of Gaza are assuming whether its people, resistance fighters and leaders. This faithful, powerful, responsible struggling practice springs from their moral status, struggling and national and religious status; their belief and trust in Allah, the Al Mighty. They see that what’s befalling them – the pain and calamities – is in the eye of Allah and in the path of Allah, the Al Mighty. Their slogan is well known: “Sufficient unto us is Allah and how good is our Trustee.”

Well, let’s evaluate what’s taking place now on the light of our experience in July Aggression. I want you to listen to this issue and I want people to listen to this. There are two scenes: a scene which is controlling the media: intensive Israeli raids, the number of martyrs which is around 400, thousands of injured, demolition… Well, this is one scene. But this is not the whole scene and we can’t judge the battle in Gaza through this scene only. Let’s look from the other perspectives as we used to say in July War.

The first point: the Israelis have said many times that they have benefited from the lessons they drew from Lebanon’s Second War. But it seems that the resistance in Gaza is the one who benefited from these lessons and is following them practically more than the Israelis while the latter’s benefit is making them weaker, frailer and more hesitant. I’ll go through some titles:

The first title: Goals: You may’ve noticed that so far the Israelis haven’t named one clear goal for the war on Gaza! Neither Olmert, nor Livney nor Barak had. During July War, they went very much high since the first day. They put unachievable goals especially when dealing with such a steadfast resistance and such people who embrace the resistance. But now what is the announced goal from the war? Unknown! They did not even say that the goal is ousting the government of Hamas or putting an end to the state of resistance in Gaza.

The enemy’s deputy premier was reported as saying the goal is toppling Hamas government. No soon this was denied. Still, they don’t dare say that their aim is stopping rocket launching from Gaza. Well, what’s the goal? Indeed there is a much loose goal which bears many interpretations: changing the status on the ground. This is a loose title. Why are the Israelis running away from announcing a definite goal for the war? When they started they were afraid of flopping. They were suspicious of their ability of achieving goals. This is the first sign of frailty.

Our brethren fighters in the resistance in Palestine – through the stands of their leaders and people in Gaza – are moving with their trust in victory, certainty and persistency. But the Israelis are afraid from the beginning and worried whether they will be able to achieve their goals or not. Indeed there is an actual goal for the war which is being revealed day after day: ousting the government of Hamas, the resistance factions as a whole and the resistance in Gaza. This is taking place as the new administration in America takes power while information stresses – depending on very important sources – that there are preparations for an international conference to be attended by the Americans, Israelis, Europeans and so called moderate Arabs. The true problem is the Palestinian resistance and Hamas government in Gaza. Getting rid of this stumbling block is demanded to go to the international conference which puts an end to this struggle and imposes a humiliating settlement on the Palestinians. This is the true goal of the war that is taking place but they don’t dare announce it. Olmert today said Arab leaders contacted him and stressed on him to carry on the military operation. Still Israel which, claims power and strength and says it wants to restore its deterrence image doesn’t dare announce this goal for the war on Gaza because it’s not sure of achieving any goals.

Secondly: let’s go back to the first day of the operation and the scenario that was implemented on the first day. I’d like to tell you – as I told you in July War – it’s a show of God’s mercy that we kidnapped that Israeli soldiers on July 12th or else the war was schemed for us on fall 2006. The fall 2006 scenario was very similar to what’s taking place in Gaza. The world sent it reassuring notes. Some 80 warplanes took off and shelled in three minutes a hundred tons of explosives on positions in Gaza! A great number of martyrs fell. This is a war but what’s important is that Gaza grasped the first blow and emerged firm and solid. In this Israeli scheme, some Arab countries are involved. I insist on that. These countries would have warned: don’t let your performance be similar to that in Lebanon. Don’t take 33 days and then prove futile. Let go in a few days. We can’t stand demonstrations, pressure and the media. So it was supposed that the first aerial blow on the first day lead to the collapse of Hamas government and the Palestinian factions while causing the largest number of martyrs and wounded among leaderships of the resistance. The resistance would then contact the concerned Arab countries and tell them: wrap it up in whatever form. We can’t carry on. This is what was schemed. Then when the collapse happen and when it would’ve been reported to the Israelis via the collaborators in Gaza or through some Arab governments that the status of the resistance in Gaza is shaking and hard, the land operation starts to be confronted by a collapsing miserable difficult status on behalf of the resistance. This was the scheme. Thus the operation must’ve taken few days as they assumed in July Aggression. Four days after the aggression, Olmert announced victory but Allah Al Mighty who guarded us in Lebanon will guard our people in Gaza.

Our brothers in Gaza woke up from the shock and grasped the situation. True there are many martyrs and wounded but the build-up of the resistance is still united. The resistance military and political leaders are still safe. The available capacities are not seriously harmed. The Israelis confess that. Consequently, the Palestinians took the initiative and started shelling rockets. On the very first day on which the resistance was supposed to fall down in Gaza, Israeli settlements were bombarded.

Thirdly: Still the air force is to accomplish its mission. The air force is not able to decisively end the battle. It’s not I who is saying that. It’s Phinograd and his committee and the Israeli society. Now these are the goals. The Israelis are saying so. There are no more goals for warships to bombard. In Lebanon too, after four or five days they were through with the goals: centers, headquarters, houses of leaders and storehouses. They were through with all goals they know. When they had no more targets they bombarded the people’s houses and buildings that they’d left. This is not much compared to what they’re doing in Gaza. That’s because in Lebanon, people left the South, the southern suburbs (Dahieh), Baalbeck, Hirmil and West Bekaa among various other regions. The Israelis were bombarding relatively uninhabited regions. While in Gaza, there are more than one and half a million human beings. Wherever they bombard, houses will be demolished on heads of the people. The Israelis can carry on doing this for one, two, three days no mote. Leaders are not more within the reach of the Israelis. Consequently, what goals the Israelis want to bombard in Gaza? Now the Israelis are spreading unmanned airplanes over Gaza which are tracking cars, ambulances, trucks which are carrying gas bottles under the pretext of carrying rockets as they did in July 2006 when they rocked water drillers. Consequently, air goals are exhausted. Should the air force carry on for several days, it’ll not be able to decisively end the battle in Gaza. Even if the battle continued, what are the choices? A land operation? Before going to a land operation, let’s watch the scene in Gaza. In Gaza, the resistance is taking the initiative. It’s shelling rockets. Let’s take into consideration the area of Gaza and the places which can be targeted from it and compare it to Lebanon keeping in mind the differences in distances and capacities. We find that the resistance is launching daily between 50 and 70 rockets as an average. Barak is even arousing them saying the resistance can launch 200 rockets. Maybe they can shell 200 to 300 rockets. That doesn’t mean that they are taking into consideration doing that. As with the resistance in Lebanon, I assure you. During July Aggression, we had the ability to launch 1000, 2000 or even 3000 rockets. We had no problem in that; neither in the ammunition nor in our status in the field. The brothers in Gaza are taking control of the number of rockets because they are taking time into consideration. This is from the lessons of the war. Being able to shell this number of rockets daily is a great and important achievement. So far, the Israelis and their air force couldn’t claim that they have targeted one rocket propeller as couldn’t in Lebanon. They hit the propeller after rockets are launched. They find it and destroy it. This is not important. What’s important is that they hit it before rockets are launched. So far they aren’t able to do that in Gaza. So rockets will continue to be shelled. As to what range, I’ll give you Israeli numbers:

If we are talking about a radius of 20 kilometers from Gaza Strip, the number of settlements and Israeli cities is 115 settlements inhabited with 261 thousand settlers. If we are talking about a radius of 30 kilometers, the number of settlements is 168 cities and settlements including the city of Bir Sabaa which is a very important city. The number of settlers in these settlements is 555 thousands. If we talked about 40 kilometers – and the brothers in Gaza shelled rockets from Gaza which reached 40 kilometers away from Gaza – the number of settlements is 208 inhabited by more than 635 thousand settlers. Now you know, if one, ten or a hundred rockets were shelled on a settlement, there are measures to be taken. “There are elections daily there.” They hide the settlers to the shelters. Schools, universities and factories are put off. They have done that already. This is the deed of “weak Gaza”. Still some blabbers show up on some Arab channels and say: “The eye can’t resist the broach.” This is Gaza with its humble capacities but strong will. Now it’s putting at stake 208 settlements and cities and 635 thousand Israelis. This negatively affects the Israelis on the economic, psychological, “American” and financial levels. Gaza is able to carry on this way. “You are not able to stop rocket launching”. The air force is not able to decisively put an end to the battle. On the other hand, the resistance woke up from the shock. It’s taking the initiative. More important, the people of Gaza – like the people in Lebanon – embraced and are still embracing the resistance. The Israelis are saying also that if you are waiting for demonstrations to take place against the resistance and for women and children to come and call on the resistance to give in that will not take place. That did not take place in Lebanon and did not and will not take place in Gaza. We are hearing in the media what the people of Gaza are saying. So as long as the leadership is courageous and firm and as long as the field resistance is steady and faithful and as long as people are patient and steadfast, what can air force do? Still we have the land operation. I’m not saying there is no land operation. I can’t say whether there is a land operation or not. But it’s clear that so far the Israelis are clearly hesitant concerning a land operation. That’s because the aggression comes closely before Israeli elections are due. So it’s a double-edged sword. It’s a sword in their hands if they gained victory and a sword against them if they flopped. So they are swinging between the possibility of winning and flopping. They aren’t sure they will win. So what’s making them hesitant is that they fear they’d flop. This is what Israeli analysts and military experts are saying. Yes, there is an actual fear they’d flop. First Ehud Barak – who is on the verge of elections – would be held responsible for any flop. Secondly Livney and Kadima Party will also be held responsible and they are also on the doors of elections. Then come Natanyahu and Likud Party who overbids them saying: Were I the head of the cabinet, I would have done such and such and won and achieved my goals. So this is a factor of worry especially that they are facing in a limited area one and a half million human beings who are embracing the resistance and tens of thousands of fighters. Now a land operation doesn’t need high tech capacities if the will and determination are there. As far as I know that’s available in Gaza Strip. So the Israelis have the right to feel frightened and hesitant and be worried about embarking in a land operation and true confrontation. Men to men confrontation will reveal the Israeli failure and shouts will be heard high. So far, I can say that what took place there is similar to what took place here. So if fighters carried on there, victory will be awaiting them as it was here. Time is not on the side of Israel despite martyrs and demolition. Time and demonstrations are pressing on all those involved and on the enemy from all perspectives. So until this very moment, I can say that what’s recorded in Gaza is but victory despite the pure bloodshed. It’s a victory as long as there is steadfastness, as long as there is resistance and as long as the leadership and the people’s will is firm and steady and refuses submitting to the humiliating conditions. So until now Israel is in a state of failure. If you still remember, during the last days of July War, I told you: the feeblest air force is able to kill children and civilians and demolish universities and mosques and not the strongest air force in the Middle East which is the Israeli air force. The touchstone is the land operation. In Lebanon, when the land operation started and tanks destruction and soldier killing started while rocket shelling continued, time was to the interest of the resistance and not Israel. Until this very moment, the Israelis refuse to make a temporary stop of fire due to a French, Turkish or European demand. Why? Because as they said a temporary stop of fire now is a total Israeli flop. That’s because Israel did not achieve any of its goals. That’s because Israel did not achieve any of its hidden goals. Nothing changed. Martyrs fell. Houses were demolished. This is the nature of wars. But let’s talk about the goals of war. It hasn’t achieved any of its goals. So I like to conclude saying this war will end with an Israeli flop, God willing. The responsibility of the nation as I said since the first day of the war: we still insist on calling on Arab rulers and we insist that Arab peoples call on the Egyptian government to open Rafah Cross point.

If anyone still has doubt that Gaza Strip will win, after these days, no one must be doubtful. If Gaza Strip will win and it’s besieged, what if the cross point was opened and it was destined that the wounded be transferred, their wounds soothed and aids made accessible. Providing support and aids is necessary to the people of Gaza and the resistance in Gaza. All what we’ve heard during the past two days from Egyptian officials and all feeble pretexts they gave for not opening Rafah Cross point do not convince anyone in neither the Arab nor Islamic worlds. These pretexts do not convince anyone who has mind and conscience. These pretexts have no political, legal, moral or religious values. The duty still necessitates opening the cross point because the war is still ongoing. You and we all over the Arab and Islamic worlds must carry on taking action and providing whatever form of support to this resistance in whose victory we believe. That’s because we believe in its faithfulness, sincerity and steadiness. This victory – as that in Lebanon – is a divine evidence to the whole world. Gaza’s evidence will be a greater evidence even because the circumstances are more difficult and the conspiracy is more knit and the involvement is deeper. Our brethrens are fighting in much more difficult conditions. We have a great hope – God willing – in achieving this goal and in the divine promise in the failure of this diabolic conspiracy. So we must all be on the side of the brethren fighters. I say my final word based on a sense of moral, human, national, religious and legal responsibility. Peace be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings.

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