Hezbollah leader calls for unity to aid Gaza

Hezbollah General Secretary Sayed Hassan Nasrallah made a major speech on al-Quds Day, July 25, in Beirut, Lebanon. Workers World is publishing lightly edited excerpts from an unofficial transcription and translation made in Lebanon. It focuses on Nasrallah’s evaluation of the fighting in Gaza as a failure for Israel and a victory for the resistance and also on his call to all Arabs and Arab governments, whatever other disagreements they may have, to come together to support the people of Gaza.

The Israeli terrorist war has been waged for days now on Gaza. And it was in a similar framework that the war on Lebanon in 2006 and on Gaza in 2008 was waged. What has the target of the war been each time?

Crushing, humiliating, breaking, imposing surrender, disarming, snatching away all your positions of strength, leading you to despair, and convincing you that there is no choice except yielding to the Israeli conditions. …  Israel thought that the Gaza Strip, which has been besieged for years, under the current regional and international situation, the morale of the people, etc., Israel considered this a historic golden opportunity to make Gaza succumb, to break Gaza, and to put an end to it.

This time, the USA has been backing up this war since the first moment. It is also providing it with money, weapons, media and with its political position. The West is offering its support as well as the Security Council and the United Nations. This is besides the connivance of some Arab regimes and the silence of others.

However, on the other hand, we see this marvelous popular steadfastness and this adherence by the people of Gaza who put their hopes on the resistance, this enormous tolerance of pain, suffering, wounds, killing and displacement. We see this qualitative and outstanding performance of the Palestinian factions. See this political steadfastness in face of all these international and regional pressures.

However, after all, I tell our people in Gaza, our Palestinian people, to you, and all the listeners: In the end, who or what will decide the outcome? The reality on the ground, the popular steadfastness, and the political steadfastness. This is what would resolve the issue.

The Israelis are benefiting from previous experiences and lessons. In the July 2006 War, the Israelis from the first day set very high goals. Then they started to lower them. By the last week of the war, who was begging to end the war? It was the Israelis. Why? See the memoirs of George Bush and the memoirs of Condoleezza Rice. In the final two weeks, [former Prime Minister] Ehud Olmert was contacting them, saying that if they continued with the war, Israel would be eliminated.

Humbly speaking, even we in the resistance in Lebanon do not comprehend this conclusion — how could it be that if the war continued Israel would be eliminated?

However, the Israelis themselves came to be convinced that they were not able to carry on with the war. They sought help from the [U.S.] Americans. When the Americans have a serious will, the entire region goes along, and it did, and things were settled. Isn’t this what took place in the July 2006 War? This is what changed the equation: the battlefield of the heroic resistance fighters, the popular steadfastness of women, children, men and civilians in all the regions, especially the regions that were targeted with shelling and killing, and the political steadfastness.

Some people tell you to get rid of Hamas. They do not want to get rid of Hamas only. Be careful. They want to get rid of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and all the Palestinian factions. The target in Gaza is the resistance, the arms of the resistance, the will of the resistance, the culture of the resistance, and the hope in the resistance.

The resistance already won in Gaza

I say that Gaza now, while it is burying its martyrs and fighting, has gained victory according to the logic of resistance. The war has reached its 18th day and the Zionists, along with all the world, have failed to achieve even one of all the objectives of their aggression against Gaza. That means that the resistance gained victory in Gaza.

Take into consideration that the battle is taking place between two sides in the battlefield and that the Israeli side is one of the strongest armies in the world. However, the most important point is that following the July 2006 War in Lebanon and the Gaza War in 2008, this [Israeli] army formed committees, held investigations, studies, discussions.

Since 2006 until this very day, they have been holding drills, maneuvers, getting armed, getting prepared, and gathering information. That means what they did for eight years was establish a new strong army. This is on one side.

On the other side, there is a strip with a narrow space. It is a coastal line with a flat landscape, and even more dangerous is that it has been under siege for years by now. The siege imposed on it is of the tightest kind. Taking into consideration these two sides, what do we see before us?

Israel’s failures

We see the Israeli failure on one hand and the achievements of the resistance on the other.

On the Israeli side we see:

1 — Israeli confusion in defining the goal in the operation or in the war. So far, did anyone understand what the goal of the war is?

They did not start the war with a high ceiling. Why? Pay close attention. That’s because they are afraid. From the very beginning they were afraid of failure. That means that they are benefiting [learned] from the War in Lebanon. … Why did they not start with a high ceiling? They are supposed to be learning the lessons from all the previous experiences. They are supposed to have rebuilt their army.

So the Israelis did not dare to announce high-level goals. They said only that the land operation aimed at demolishing the tunnels at the borders. That means that they are setting modest goals so that they would achieve them and thus say: We realized the aim of the war. So there is Israeli confusion in specifying the goal.

2 — Enormous information failure: Israel supposes that its information capabilities are absolute as it controls the land, air and sea concerning the abilities of the resistance and its arms, rockets, storehouses, the places of storing and manufacturing rockets, rocket platforms and the location of tunnels. However, it was revealed that there is an enormous Israeli information failure.

3 — The Israeli air force’s failure to play a decisive role and win the battle:

This is very important to Gaza as well as to Lebanon.

Well, months ago the Israeli air force leader who seemed to have taken his post recently and was still inexperienced said that following all the rebuilding efforts, the Israeli air force is able to put a decisive end to any war on Lebanon — in case it takes place — within 24 hours, and to put a decisive end to any war on Gaza — in case it takes place — within 12 hours. Well now, we are on which day in the war on Gaza? It is day 18. The Israeli air force is talking about Gaza, which is under siege.

Well, the Israelis failed to harm the leadership and control system in Gaza. With our respect to all the martyrs, the enemy is inventing the leaders of the martyrs. At times, the enemy talks about having assassinated leaders who are still alive. The Israelis have reached this situation. They have failed to halt the rockets and to prevent their launching although Israeli warplanes are on the horizons as well as radars, unmanned aerial vehicles and all that is related to the information and survey apparatuses are at the service of the Israelis.

The enemy also failed in its land operation. It is enough to quote what some Israeli commentators said. One commentator said: “Our army failed.” So it is not I — the Lebanese man who loves the resistance and is its ally — who is saying so. It is the enemy who says this. One of the important commentators in the Israeli entity. He said: “Our army failed. Hamas and Jihad remained steadfast and killed the backbone of the infantry brigade.” What does he mean by that? The Golani Brigade and its Egoz [Reconnaissance] Unit.

The Israelis failed in the land operation. The magnitude of the losses in leaders, generals, soldiers, tanks and vehicles is enormous. They showed fear in staging a broad land operation. This is what we see in the face of [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, the [former] chief of staff, [Defence Minister Moshe] Yaalon, and all of their faces. It is they who are besieged, though they are the stronger power. They are afraid, terrified and scared of this step.

Thus from the very beginning and because of the lack of confidence in themselves and in their soldiers, the Israelis resorted to killing civilians and children, to targeting the incubating environment of the resistance, and to break the will of the people — just as in Lebanon during the July [2006] War.

Today they are repeating this experience anew in the Gaza Strip to impose on the leadership of the resistance — the political leadership and the field leadership — to accept a ceasefire at whatever price or to succumb. That means that when the Israeli Army went to Gaza, they did not go as a fighting army but rather as an army fighting children.

As a final conclusion for the Israeli evaluation, we recall what [former Prime Minister] Ehud Barak and [former] Israeli War Minister [Amir] Peretz, in the first cabinet after Olmert left his post, said. After years of working and drawing lessons and morals, what did Ehud Barak say, which was also reiterated by Israeli chiefs of staff? It is a short phrase. Now this phrase fell before the gates of Gaza. Indeed, he was threatening Lebanon at that time. He said that the next war that Israel would get engaged in would be rapid and decisive and would end up in a crystal clear victory.

Today Gaza is telling them; “You are still where you were. You do not fight except in fortified towns or from behind walls. You are still chicken-hearted cowards who hide behind planes and tanks and kill children. However, if you are to face our fighters and heroes face to face, you flop and your army flops too.”

So this is the fact: no rapid victory, no decisive victory, and no crystal clear victory.

Gaza’s strengths

On the other hand, let’s see the status of the resistance and its people:

1 – From the very first day, the goal is clear: lifting the siege and indeed guarding the resistance.

2 — Steadfastness in the field.

3 – Excellent achievements in the field.

4 – Taking initiatives in the field and fighting behind the enemy lines.

5 – Proceeding in rocket shelling under the enormous pressure of air force shelling.

6 – Firing rockets that are reaching unprecedented places. Indeed, comparing the July War in Lebanon [2006] and the July War in Gaza [2014] necessitates taking the different conditions and characteristics into consideration, though there are common points. In [our] July War, the farthest point we reached was Al Khadeira. However, our brethrens in Gaza from the first day reached Tel Aviv.

So far, they [the Israelis] did not witness in Gaza any demonstration, sit-in, stance, or popular pressure against the resistance. On the contrary, the people are telling the resistance: We are with you. Let’s all be killed but let the siege be lifted.

Our responsibility: put everything aside for Gaza!

The final part tackles our responsibility towards this great event:

Let’s put aside all the disputes, discrepancies and disagreements over the other causes and squares [Tahrir,etc.?]. We may still disagree on the political stance or on other squares. We may differ in our stance. We may differ in our evaluation. However, we must put all of this aside to approach altogether the issue of Gaza as a cause of a people, a resistance, and a rightful, just cause with nothing obscure, uncertain or equivocal about it concerning what is right and what is wrong. Even if we still disagree on other issues, Gaza with its blood, body, limbs, oppression, steadfastness and heroism must remain above every other consideration.

Let the largest number of Arab and Islamic governments adopt the goal of lifting the siege from Gaza which the Palestinian resistance leadership is calling for, protecting this goal, defending it and defending the political leadership of the resistance from pressures practiced [exerted] on it to reach a ceasefire without achieving this goal. That’s because the siege is daily death for the Palestinians in Gaza. It is not killing for 18 days; it is killing around the years with no horizon or future.

What I will say now has been repeatedly reiterated. Let everyone offer the political, moral, media, financial and material support and arms support if possible, according to their capabilities, and also apart from the existing discrepancies.

To the spider web — to the Zionists — I say: You in Gaza today are moving to and fro in the sphere of failure. Do not go further to the sphere of suicide and collapse.

Until another date for the victory of the resistance and the people of the resistance and the resistance movements, I bid you farewell. May Allah guard you, bestow victory on you, and protect you. Peace be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings.