At mass rally in Lebanon Hezbollah rejects new Israeli threats
Dahia, Lebanon - The pride was palpable and the emotion stirring. It was the pride of a people who have twice freed their land from U.S.-backed Israeli forces.
Huge crowd outside Beirut commemorates
defeat of Israel’s 2006 invasion.
WW photos: Joyce Chediac
Tens of thousands of men, women and children gathered in this poor neighborhood south of Beirut on Aug. 14 to stand firm against a new round of Israeli threats to Lebanon. They also marked the anniversary of the Lebanese people’s victory over the U.S.-backed Israeli invasion, siege and bombardment of their country in 2006.
The Divine Victory rally called by Hezbollah, Lebanon’s national resistance movement, took place in the Shia suburb of Dahia, which was punished brutally by Israeli bombers three years ago.
Just days before the planned rally, several Israeli officials—including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu—challenged Hezbollah’s right to have arms and threatened more violence against Hezbollah and Lebanon. Israel has invaded Lebanon nine times since 1945, but was driven out by the Lebanese people in 2000 and again in 2006.
Addressing the rally via a satellite television hookup, Hezbollah General Secretary Sayyed Hassan Nasrullah answered these threats. He called Hezbollah’s forces “deterrent,” adding, “We do not want war, but we are not afraid of it, and we say to you: If you bomb Beirut or its suburb, we will bomb Tel Aviv.”
Nasrullah said that the strength of the Hezbollah movement was not its weapons but the unity of the Lebanese people and the determination of its supporters. If the Aug. 14 rally was any indication, Hezbollah’s support among Lebanese people, particularly the oppressed Shiite population, is hard-won, enthusiastic and enduring.
People’s victory in 2006
The people, under the leadership of Hezbollah, withstood Israel’s devastating military assault during the 2006 war while simultaneously fighting back against enormous odds. Lebanon’s resistance stopped cold a ground advance of Israeli soldiers less than a mile into Lebanon and sent them scuttling back home. It was a huge disaster for Israel.
In retaliation, Tel Aviv waged war on the civilian population of Lebanon. For 34 days it bombed houses and apartment buildings and destroyed Lebanon’s civilian infrastructure, including its main power and water purification plants and 60 bridges. In this scorched-earth assault, more than 1,000 Lebanese civilians were killed, a third of them children.
The U.S. government and media blamed the victims and the resistance. Just as the U.S. ruling class showed no sympathy for the heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto in 1943 who perished fighting the Nazis during World War II, it has no sympathy for the heroes of southern Lebanon who in 2006 stood up to the Israeli army and its modern U.S.-supplied weapons. Hezbollah, the defender of the Lebanese people, has been branded as a “terrorist” group by Washington.
New threats from Israel backed by U.S.
Once again, Israel is rattling the saber of war. On Aug. 5 Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that Israel was “not ready to accept” the Lebanese resistance’s “40,000 rockets aimed at Israel.” (Daily Star, Aug. 13)
On Aug. 10 Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon added, “If one hair on the head of an Israeli representative or tourist is harmed” anywhere in the world, “we will see Hezbollah as responsible.”
The next day, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that if Hezbollah joins the Lebanese government, “the Lebanese government will be held responsible for any attacks coming from its territory against Israel.” These threats and blatant interference into Lebanon’s internal affairs come at a time when Lebanon is trying to form a cabinet.
Israel would never have made these threats without full support from Washington. In fact, two weeks before the recent Lebanese election, Vice President Joseph Biden went to Beirut and said that if Hezbollah made significant electoral gains, the U.S. would cut off all aid to Lebanon. Nevertheless, Hezbollah held its own in that election.
Rally reviews people’s victory
The Dahia rally began with footage on a giant television screen of some of the people’s victories. Cheers went up when an Israeli tank was taken out and an F-16 helicopter brought down. A huge roar rose from the crowd when an Israeli gunship was hit by the people’s forces. A caption followed on the screen with the equivalent of “This is Lebanon, stupid!” In other words, “Haven’t you learned yet? Lebanon fights back!”
Nasrullah was welcomed with tears and shouts of support.
He called the 2006 victory “a miracle made in Lebanon and by the Lebanese people.” Nasrullah said that after the Israelis were forced out of Lebanon in 2000, then had to withdraw from Gaza, and three years ago had to pull back after the second Lebanon war, “It is evident that Israel is no longer an unbeatable state.”
He restated Hezbollah’s position that the organization had no problem with Judaism, that the problem was Zionism. He said that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s warnings were “psychological warfare” and served to sow discord among Lebanese parties, hinder the formation of a cabinet, and prevent Hezbollah from joining a new Lebanese government.
Regarding Israeli charges about Hezbollah’s weaponry, he said, “Search for what we are made of before researching on arms, combat formation, strategies and tactics.” He added, “Ultimately those who have the determination can fight and win.”
Nasrullah ruled out an imminent war, but said that in case Israel waged war, there were two options, “To surrender, disarm ourselves and become weak—this is out of the question. The second option is to be ready and to consolidate our power to prevent war; and in this way if war is waged on us, we will win it.
“Can we prevent an Israeli war on Lebanon? Yes, we can. Can we stop Israel from thinking about waging war on Lebanon? Yes, we can by having a deterrent force. In Israel it is not easy anymore to take a decision to go to war with Lebanon.
“The objective of any coming war will be to eradicate the resistance, but can this current Israeli army and this Israeli government wage a war to eradicate the resistance in Lebanon? They cannot . ... It is our right to tell the Israelis that if you bomb Dahia or Beirut, we will bomb Tel Aviv. We have the ability to hit any city or town in your entity. Carry out as many drills as you want, develop your tanks’ armors and train your brigades; they will be crushed in our towns, villages, valleys and hills. ...
“Our strength lies in our resistance and the future is ours; we make it with our own hands, with the blood of our martyrs, with our faith and belief. This is the lesson of this historic victory.”
- All quotes from Nasrullah
are from almanar.com.lb.
Fathers put their sons on their shoulders; women held up pictures of fallen leaders and destroyed Israeli tanks. Thousands waved the yellow Hezbollah flag and the red, white and green flag of Lebanon. The crowd stood and roared in pride, determination and dignity.
Bonus by Paul Wilcox
WW’s ‘Top Ten’ reasons. Why U.S. ruling class hates Hezbollah
It isn’t Hezbollah Inc.
Unlike the Pentagon, when Hezbollah gets money for reconstruction, it uses it for reconstruction.
Unlike the Israeli army, it is defending its legitimate homeland.
Unlike in New Orleans, it helps people return home after a disaster.
Unlike U.S. military recruits, its volunteers know what they are fighting for.
And they actually believe in it.
Hezbollah doesn’t have to pay its recruits $30,000 signing bonuses.
It doesn’t send its militia to fight poor people overseas.
Like George Washington, it is called “terrorist” by the colonialists, but Hezbollah has never owned slaves.
It doesn’t need the “private option” to provide health care to the Lebanese people
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