Normalizing ties with Israel would be ‘a sin’
19 September 09
BEIRUT: Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said Friday that taking time in forming a cabinet was better than dragging Lebanon into chaos. “Reaching a deal over a cabinet, even if it takes some time, is better than dragging the country into chaos,” he told supporters at the Sayyed al-Shuhada complex in the Beirut southern suburbs.
Nasrallah was speaking in a televised address during ceremonies marking Quds Day. Quds is Arabic for Jerusalem. Quds Day, the brainchild of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s late founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, is held each year on the last Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan as a display of solidarity with Palestine. “It is not worth dragging the country into political, sectarian and security tensions,” he said, stressing: “Let us stay calm in order to reach a solution.” Also on Friday, thousands of people – including women and children – formed a human chain for five kilometers along south Lebanon’s border with Israel, waving Hizbullah and Palestinian flags to denounce the creation of Israel in 1948.
Nasrallah vowed that his party would never recognize Israel and that no Arab state has the right to do so either. “No one has the right to recognize [Israel] or approve its legitimacy,” the cleric said. “No one has the right, no matter who they are, to give up on the land and water or to recognize Israel’s right to exist,” he said in a clear criticism of Arab regimes. “Normalization of ties [with Israel is a sin,” he added.
Nasrallah’s comments came hours after US President Barack Obama’s special Mideast envoy was unable to bridge wide gaps between Israelis and Palestinians on the terms of renewing peace talks. Mitchell had urged the Arab world to take steps toward normalizing relations with Israel as he pressed Israel to halt construction of settlements in the West Bank.
The Sayyed called Israel an “illegitimate cancerous entity” that should be “eliminated.” He added that “we will not recognize, deal or normalize with Israel even if the whole world recognizes it.” Nasrallah repeated his warning to Israel not to launch a war against his group saying the Israeli military will be “crushed” by Hizbullah.
Israel and Hizbullah’s war in the summer of 2006 left much of south Lebanon devastated. “I admit that Israel might launch a war on Lebanon and I declare that we do not want war,” he said, adding:“I do not know what excuse they might use for this war, but if Israel attacks us, we must turn the threat into an opportunity.” Nasrallah said Israel was a state that centered on its military, adding: “If we destroy their army here in Lebanon, what future does the state have? The next war will change the face of the region.” Nasrallah said Israel was arming and conducting military exercises “day and night because it is afraid.”
Nasrallah urged his local and Arab foes “to get off the resistance’s back.” He also thanked Iran for supporting resistance movements in Lebanon and occupied Palestine.
“You are totally free not to endorse resistance in Lebanon and Palestine, but get off the resistance’s back,” he said, adding: “I am not addressing the Lebanese because the majority of them back the resistance. But by this I mean some people in Lebanon and some Arab countries.”
He urged Arab states to either support the Palestinian people or leave them alone. “It’s not true that we have two choices of either launching large-scale wars or surrendering. There is a third option of remaining steadfast and resisting,” he told his supporters, who waved the party’s yellow flags and carried their leader’s pictures. “Experience and facts prove that only the choice of resistance would recover the land,” Nasrallah said.
– The Daily Star, with AFP and AP
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