Speaking shortly after the Israeli attacks on Lebanon began, Shaikh Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah, the Secretary General of the Hizbullah spoke on the nature of the zionist problem and the importance of resistance, addressing the Lebanese people, the resistance fighters, and zionists and the wider Arab world separately. Here we publish a translation of his speech.
Peace be upon you and the mercy of God and His blessings!
To begin with, in this first address that I make to you since Operation True Promise [in which Hizbullah captured two Zionist soldiers] and the events that followed it, I would like to offer my appreciation and condolences to the families of the martyrs, those who have given the dearest of their loved ones during these hard and difficult days, and for all they have given in the most noble confrontation and battle that the modern age has known.
I want to salute the wounded, and beseech Allah — may He be glorified and exalted — to sustain them, heal them and bring them health. I also wish to salute our steadfast people in all the cities, towns and villages who are standing firm and immoveable, rooted in their land as they are rooted in their faith. I also salute my brothers the Mujahideen, the steadfast resistance-fighters, enduring hardship at their posts and in all our ranks, ever ready for sacrifice in the path of what they believe. They always have and always will regard their own safety lightly and hold their heads high with pride.
In this first address that I give in these days following Operation True Promise, I would like to say a few words — a word to the Lebanese people, a word to the resistance-fighters, a word to the Zionists, and a word to the Arab rulers. I will not offer words to the international community because I have never for one day believed that there is any such thing as an international community, just as many of our people feel.
First, I say to the Lebanese people: dear people — who embraced the resistance, by whom the resistance was victorious, and for whom the resistance won its victory on 25 May 2000, this people who were the makers of the first victory in the history of the Arab struggle with the Israeli enemy, despite the basic inequality in forces, and in spite of the fact that most of our Arab brothers and most of our Muslim brothers abandoned us and despite the silence of the whole world — this group of Lebanese people made the miracle of the victory that stunned the world and humiliated the Zionists. Those Zionists look upon this group of people in a special way because they accomplished in the history of the struggle with them a unique accomplishment.
The battle today is no longer a battle over prisoners or the exchange of prisoners. It might be said that the Zionist enemy is responding any time there is any operation where men are captured anywhere in any part of the world, by any army or any state that has borders and regulations. What is taking place today is not a response to a capture of their soldiers; it is a squaring of accounts with the people, resistance, state, army, political forces, regions, villages and families that inflicted that historic defeat on that aggressive usurper entity that has never accepted defeat.
Today, therefore, this is a total war that Zionism is waging to clear its whole account with Lebanon, the Lebanese people, the Lebanese state, the Lebanese army and the Lebanese resistance, in revenge and reprisal for the victory we won on 25 May 2000.
Dear steadfast, mujahid and noble people, I know that the overwhelming majority of you, in your minds, hearts, will, culture, thoughts, love, passion and sacrifice are a people of nobility, dignity, honour, distinction and pride, and not a people of servility, subservience, submissiveness and surrender. I say to you that in this battle we are faced with two choices — not we, as in Hizbullah, or as in the resistance, the Hizbullah resistance, but Lebanon as a state, a people, an army, a resistance, and a political power — we are faced with two choices: either to submit today to the conditions that the Zionist enemy wants to dictate to us all, using the pressure, support and backing it has from America, from around the world and, I am sorry to say, from Arabs.
Either we submit completely to its conditions, which means taking Lebanon into an Israeli age under Israeli domination — in total frankness this is the extent of the matter — or we stand steadfast. That is the other choice: that we persevere and confront. I, relying on Allah the Exalted, and on my faith in Him and the mujahideen and in you, knowing this people and this enemy, just as I always used to promise you victory, now I promise you victory once again.
During Grapes of Wrath in 1996, or Operation Settling of Accounts in 1993, in the beginning they had the upper hand and our situation was much worse. But today the situation is different. Believe me, and I mean this, the situation now is different. All we need is to persevere, stand steadfast, and confront them united. I know and am sure that the majority of our people are a people of steadfastness, a mujahid [struggling] people who can sacrifice, who have no need for pep-talks. What I'm saying now is only by way of completing the idea, and affirming the choice, and clarifying what this means.
Now, as for my words for the resistance fighters, for my dear and beloved brothers: upon them rest the hopes of every Lebanese, every Palestinian, every Arab, every Muslim, every free and decent person in this world, every oppressed, tortured victim of injustice, every lover of steadfastness, courage, dignity, values and nobility — the characteristics they embody by their presence on the field of battle and in their fight with this enemy, the fight of valiant heroes. I say to them: today, after Allah the Supreme, you are the hope of our people. You are the symbol of our nobility. Our honour is in your hands.
This honour is yours, and by means of you our honour is preserved. After Allah the Exalted, it was you who were responsible for the victory of 2000. Today it is you, before all others, who are responsible for preserving the victory, for achieving liberation, standing steadfast with honour. This places demands on you that you, in practice, have proved until now and during these days that you are entirely worthy of, as you are worthy of our esteem. Those who put their trust in you, after Allah, their charge is great, the reward will be grand, and the mighty victory — a clear triumph — is near.
To the Zionists and to the people of Israel at this hour I say: you will soon discover how foolish and stupid are your new rulers, your new leaders. They do not know how to assess reality. They have no experience in this area. You say in opinion polls that you believe me more than you believe your officials, so now I call on you to listen well and believe me. Today we have persevered despite the attack that took place last night in the southern suburbs. However the attacks multiply in every village, neighbourhood, street and home in Lebanon, there is no difference between the south Beirut suburbs, the city of Beirut, or any home in southern Lebanon, in the Beqaa, or the north, or Mount Lebanon, or any corner of Lebanon.
The situation has now changed. I will not say today that if you strike Beirut, we will strike Haifa. I will not tell you that if you hit the south Beirut suburbs, we will hit Haifa. You wanted to get rid of that situation, so now we and you have got rid of it in actuality. You wanted open warfare, and we are going into open warfare. We are ready for it, a war on every level. ToHaifa, and, believe me, to beyond Haifa. We alone will not be paying the price; our houses will not be the only ones destroyed, nor our children alone killed nor our people alone displaced. Those days are over. That was how it was prior to 1982, and before 2000, but not now.
Those times have ended. I promise you those times have passed. Therefore you must also bear the responsibility for what your government has done, for what that government has undertaken. From now on, you wanted open warfare, so it will be open warfare. You wanted it. Your government wanted to change the rules of the game, so let the rules be changed. You don't know who you are fighting today. You are fighting the children of Muhammad (upon whom be peace), of Ali, of al-Hasan, of al-Husayn, of the Prophet's family, and the Prophet's Companions.
You are fighting a people who have faith such as no one else on the face of the earth possesses. And you have chosen open warfare with a people who take pride in their history, their civilization and their culture, and who also possess material power, ability, expertise, knowledge, confidence, imagination, determination, steadfastness and courage. In the coming days it will be between us and you, God willing.
As for the Arab rulers, I don't want to ask you about your history. I just want to say a few words to you. We are adventurers. We in Hizbullah are adventurers, yes. But we have been adventurers since 1982. And we have brought to our country only victory, freedom, liberation, dignity, honour and pride. This is our history; this is our experience; this is our adventure.
In the year 1982 you said — and the world said — that we were crazy. But we proved that we were the rational ones, so who then was crazy? This is something else and I don't want to get into an argument with anyone. So I tell them simply: go rely on your reason and we will rely on our adventure, with God as our Supporter and Benefactor. We have never for one moment counted on you. We have trusted in God, our people, our hearts, our hands and our children. Today we do the same and, God willing, victory will follow.
The surprises that I promised you will begin starting now. Now, out at sea off the coast of Beirut an Israeli military vessel that attacked our infrastructure, that struck the homes of our people, our civilians; you can see it burning. It will sink, and with it dozens of Zionist troops. This is the beginning. There will be a lot more said before the end.
Peace be upon you, and the mercy of God!