Speech by Hezbollah Secretary-General, Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, on May 12, 2023 (one day before the ceasefire in Gaza), commemorating the martyrdom of Commander Mustapha Badreddine, known as “Zulfiqar,” killed in Syria in 2016.
[…] I will now address what is happening today in Gaza and (occupied) Palestine, and the battle that is currently taking place. Of course, we all know that the one who initiated the aggression in this new round is the enemy, Netanyahu. Fundamentally, Israel is always and by principle in the position of aggressor, although sometimes some claim that it is only retaliating [and defending itself]. Its existence is already an aggression: its very existence on the land of Palestine, in Al-Quds (Jerusalem), in the Golan Heights, in the Chebaa farms. The very existence of this usurping cancerous entity, this absolute evil, constitutes an aggression against the Palestinians, the Lebanese, the Syrians, the peoples of the region, the Arabs, the Muslims, the Christians, and all honorable people in this world. But even when we look in detail, for the current round of violence, at who started it, who initiated the aggression, it is Netanyahu who triggered it by assassinating the martyred leaders of the Al-Quds Brigades of the Islamic Jihad.
Of course, all the media have talked about the martyred leaders, (emphasizing that they were) military commanders, but while 3 military leaders may have found martyrdom, 7 women and children were also killed alongside them (by this Israeli strike). The world turned a blind eye to this crime, pretending that only military personnel were targeted, which would be legitimate and “fair play” in the context of an armed confrontation (because in war, fighters are killed on both sides), and this (silence about civilian casualties) is meant to make this Israeli crime acceptable. But it is intolerable that they were killed along with their wives and children, although Israel is notorious for such acts. But it is the silence of the world that is deplorable. In the past, our Secretary-General, Sayed Abbas [Musawi], was killed along with his wife and his 5-year-old son, Hussein, and Israel has assassinated Palestinian leaders with their wives and children many times in previous years. But unfortunately, the silence of the world persists, and more than that, the United States has prevented the UN Security Council from condemning Israel for the killing of these women and children in Gaza.
I will discuss to some extent about this battle. Netanyahu’s motivations are clear:
- 1 / Restore Israel’s deterrence capacity after the unanimous agreement in Israel that this capacity has been reduced on all fronts. Recently, all officials of the entity, whether current or former generals, politicians, media personalities, etc., unanimously acknowledged, including the Minister of Defense and the Israeli Chief of Staff, that “Israeli deterrence capacity has diminished”, or they speak of “weakness” and “erosion” of this deterrence capacity. Netanyahu wants to restore and rebuild this deterrence capacity, as he announced.
- 2 / Divert attention from the acute internal crisis, with hundreds of thousands of people demonstrating in the streets two or three times a week, and internal divisions that threaten the (Israeli) entity, as recognized by all its inhabitants.
- 3 / Resolve the internal rifts in the government with the most extremist members like Ben Gvir and his ilk.
- 4 / Improve his domestic popularity because all polls indicated that he and Likud were losing approval. And these people have no scruples: to improve their political and electoral situation, they resort to shedding the blood of the innocent and oppressed, women and children (whether Palestinians or other Arabs).
All these motivations are clear, and I state them in order to evaluate the ongoing battle. Why? Because Netanyahu’s game and calculations were erroneous and destined to fail. What did they do? They decided to focus on the Islamic Jihad and its Al-Quds Brigades, thereby isolating the Islamic Jihad so that Hamas would remain neutral, as well as the other factions of the Resistance. By isolating the Islamic Jihad and isolating the other factions, Netanyahu believed that he would crush the Resistance factions and create sedition among them in Gaza. Because if only the Islamic Jihad retaliates and the other Resistance factions remain neutral, it will pave the way for disputes, protests, accusations of treason, and sedition within Palestine. That’s how Netanyahu and his people reasoned.
Secondly, (Netanyahu planned) to strike the leadership infrastructure of the Al-Quds Brigades and decapitate the direct command of rocket/missile capabilities so that the Islamic Jihad would no longer have the ability to mount a significant retaliation. The natural accessible response is the rocket/missile capability. As you know, the entire perimeter of Gaza is walled, fenced, with stringent security measures, artificial hills, cameras, radars… Launching a ground operation is not easy for the Resistance in Gaza and cannot be done in the short term. That is why the factions of the Resistance in Gaza generally resort to rocket/missile fire. When the direct leadership of the ballistic capabilities of the Islamic Jihad is struck, Israel believed that the Islamic Jihad would not be able to organize a meaningful response, and with the (assumed) neutrality of the other factions of the Resistance, Netanyahu could claim to have achieved a great military accomplishment. And Israel believed that after suffering such losses, the Islamic Jihad, having made heavy sacrifices, would be unable to mount an adequate response, and with a weakened political leadership, that it would accept the first ceasefire proposal offered to them. And this whole sequence was supposed to lead, according to Netanyahu’s thinking, to the liquidation of the military leadership of the Islamic Jihad, a weakening of its political leadership, a restoration of Israel’s deterrence capacity against Gaza… And while the battle is still ongoing, some say that this is also a message of deterrence to Hezbollah and all other potential fronts, and a return to the policy of targeted assassinations to halt the rise of Palestinian resistance in its current strong and promising stage. So, these are Netanyahu’s entire plan, all his calculations, and it seemed to him as a solid reasoning and wise action.
But in response to this, we must note the following.
Firstly, the leadership of the Islamic Jihad acted calmly and wisely. They didn’t rush into firing rockets/missiles before dawn due to their martyrs. They analyzed and assessed the situation calmly and thoughtfully. They took the initiative to contact other factions of the Resistance, especially their brothers in the Hamas leadership. Within Hamas, they reached out to the Izz-al-dine al-Qassam Brigades and other resistance groups, aiming to unite the Palestinian political and military position, both in Gaza and beyond, against the perfidious Israeli plan. Thankfully, there was unanimity among Palestinian leaders and resistance movements, particularly among the Hamas and Islamic Jihad brothers, regarding the need to adopt a united stance, cooperate, distribute roles, and emphasize the importance of retaliating and preventing Netanyahu from achieving any of his objectives. That’s why the true leadership and title of the Resistance’s response on the ground was the joint command center of the Gaza Resistance factions.
Of course, the enemy expected one or two rockets to be fired from Gaza, thinking that would be the end of it. And when the Palestinian faction leaders chose calmness and took their time to respond, Israel was evacuating its settlements and cities around Gaza. It’s as if the enemy government was urging the Gaza Resistance to fire a handful of rockets at Israel to bring an end to the situation. This has been a typical behavior of Israel lately. Remember when the Israeli army stood on one and a half leg [ready to retreat at the slightest alert] on the Lebanese border for a month and a half or two months [in the nerve-wracking anticipation of a Hezbollah retaliation for the killing of two of its fighters in Syria by Israel], they eventually sent us dummies and robots dressed in military uniforms, hoping that we would mistake them for soldiers, attack them, and believe that we had achieved our objective [but Hezbollah didn’t take the bait].
Thus, the unity of the Palestinian position neutralized Israeli plans to sow discord, neutralize Hamas and other Resistance factions, and so on. Of course, our Palestinian brothers are conducting the battle these days with precision, wisdom, and calmness, distributing roles among themselves, which serves the fight in the Gaza Strip and prevents the enemy from achieving any of its objectives.
Secondly, the ability of the Islamic Jihad and the Al-Quds Brigades to swiftly restore their leadership infrastructure. These commanders have fallen as martyrs, but the gaps have been filled, as evidenced by the magnitude of rocket fire from Gaza, mostly carried out by the Al-Quds Brigades due to task distribution. Of course, there is an important message here that I also want to emphasize. Today, one of the strengths of the Resistance movements in the region—and this is something the enemy must understand and the friend must have confidence in—is that they have a great capacity to compensate for any successful targeting of their leaders, be it military or political figures. The Islamic Jihad lost its Secretary-General, the martyr Dr. Fathi [Shiqaqi], who was assassinated [by Mossad in 1995], may God accept him. After him, his successor, Dr. Ramadan [Shalah], passed away [in 2020 due to illness], may God have mercy on him. A number of its leaders and military cadres have recently become martyrs, but the Islamic Jihad has still managed to effectively compensate for these losses. Hamas lost its founder, the martyr Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, may God have mercy on him, and a large number of its political and military leaders who were assassinated [by Israel] along with their entire families, wives, and children. The same goes for the PFLP, whose Secretary-General Abu Ali Mustafa became a martyr along with many other cadres, and its current Secretary-General, Sayed Sa’adat, is imprisoned. The same applies to other factions of the Resistance. In the Lebanese Hezbollah, we have lost many cadres who have fallen as martyrs, such as Sayed Mustafa Badreddine, and other beloved brothers like Sayed Abbas (Musawi), Hajj Imad (Mughniyeh), and many others. But the resistance movement has not retreated, weakened, or even slowed down; it has not lost its unity, determination, strength, or will. On the contrary, the pure blood of the martyrs has always pushed us forward, increased our responsibility, reinforced the presence of the battle in our minds, and strengthened our sense of duty due to the bloodshed and heavy sacrifices.
In any case, this ability of the Islamic Jihad to compensate for the loss of killed leaders has also surprised Israel, which expected to boast about having eliminated the leadership of the Islamic Jihad and put an end to rocket fire. But Israel was caught off guard by this large number of rockets fired from Gaza. The rocket fire has not ceased as I speak to you: it wasn’t just one or two salvos for an hour or two, not 10 or 20 rockets, not 100 or 200 rockets. For four days straight, the Israelis themselves speak of nearly 900 rockets fired from Gaza, some of which have reached the south of Tel Aviv and today even tmAl-Quds (Jerusalem). And all this while they thought that the Palestinian resistance wouldn’t be able to do anything!
The factions of the Palestinian resistance coordinated and aligned themselves politically and on the ground, and despite heavy and severe Israeli strikes, the Palestinian fighters hold steadfast and superbly lead the battle. The people of Gaza, who constitute the popular base of the Resistance, has a firm stance in favor of figting, whether they are the elderly, the youth, or even children, as seen on TV channels and social media, where they eloquently express their support for this (armed) Resistance. It is also worth noting that the political leadership of the Resistance factions remains steadfast in the face of pressure because as soon as Israel committed its crime, it claimed to be ready for a ceasefire, and contacts with Arab and international (brokers) immediately began in order to negotiate (and impose) a ceasefire. The martyrs, the women and children killed, the deterrence equation, the rules of engagement, the future of those who were still alive (would have been trampled upon by a ceasefire without a significant retaliation).
O my brothers and sisters, we must know that when the Resistance fights in such situations, whether in Palestine, Lebanon, or elsewhere, we sometimes talk about “vengeance.” But in reality, it is not about vengeance (for the blood of the martyrs): the position primarily aims to protect those who are still alive, their lives, dignity, honor, the lives of their loved ones, their existence, their security, and their health. Indeed, remaining silent and not reacting to the killing of martyrs would leave the door open for the assassination of others who are still alive! Therefore, the battle is primarily about protecting and defending them, ensuring their safety and security. It is not a personal matter aimed solely at seeking revenge for those who have been killed.
In any case, all of this surprised Netanyahu and his government, thwarted their calculations, and plunged them into confusion. Despite the imbalance of forces between the enemy and the Palestinian Resistance, which is a well-known fact, the Resistance in Gaza is now in a strong, firm, and steadfast position that rejects submission and surrender. So far, to make a final quick assessment of the situation and events, we can affirm that the Resistance in Gaza has succeeded in thwarting the enemy’s objectives regarding the restoration of its deterrence. Israel has failed to restore its deterrence capacity and cannot boast of having restored it. The evidence is that you (Zionists) have indeed killed leaders of the Islamic Jihad, women, and children, but today you are paying the price for it in the settlements near Gaza, in Ashkelon, in Be’er Sheva, in southern occupied Palestine (where thousands of settlers had to be evacuated), in the center, all the way to Tel Aviv and Al-Quds (Jerusalem), and voices are starting to rise (to denounce this situation): you claimed it would be easy, that you would make quick work of the Palestinian resistance, that you would kill them with impunity, but the protests (within Israel) are growing louder and louder against Netanyahu, calling for an end to this doomed and futile operation, as usual. Therefore, Netanyahu cannot claim to have restored Israel’s deterrence capacity, and the operation (Palestinian resistance retaliation) continues and has not yet ceased despite the ongoing Israeli aggression against Gaza and severe political pressures against the Resistance factions. Despite the pressures on the battlefield and political pressures, the Resistance stands firm on both fronts because it refuses to end the battle without certain conditions being met.
What has happened so far clearly makes the enemy understand that any future targeted assassination operation against any fighter or commander in the Gaza Strip will not go unpunished and will lead to a large-scale battle like this one. Netanyahu cannot claim to his people that he has restored Israel’s deterrence capacity and that he can do as he pleases, kill whomever he wants, whenever he wishes, without facing punishment and losing (Israel’s) security. Yes, he can claim to have assassinated certain commanders. He can boast about killing women and children. That is something easy. But as for the objectives he promised the Israelis to achieve, he has accomplished none. He has no substantial achievement to boast about. Yes, he can lie to his people, as he always does. Yesterday, on an Israeli TV channel, a journalist took stock of Netanyahu’s “achievements”, showing that after all the battles that took place in Gaza under successive Netanyahu governments, Netanyahu always ended up boasting about completely annihilating the leadership of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, which would eventually reappear in full strength; likewise, he claimed each time to have finished off Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Al-Quds Brigades once and for all, while these movements only grew stronger, larger, with more experienced leaders and greater capabilities; he perpetually claimed to have upset the equations, but nothing of the sort ever happened. The Israelis themselves are realizing it. He can try to lie to them again, as he has done in the past.
This positive result for the Resistance is due to the grace of the unity of the factions, to which we must express our respect, admiration, and gratitude for assuming this responsibility, for maintaining unity, firmness, fraternity, cooperation, and for their wise leadership in this battle. It is due to the jihad and steadfastness of the fighters on the ground who continue to launch rocket fire, even though Gaza is an open and flat area: drones and planes fly over them freely and constantly, putting the fighters in constant danger, but they persist in their actions despite these risks. And let us once again emphasize the massive support of the Gaza population for the Resistance (whatever the price). Everyone must closely follow the events currently unfolding in Gaza because it is an important battle whose consequences will be felt not only in Gaza but throughout Palestine, in the West Bank, Lebanon, and throughout the Middle East.
As for us, we are in constant contact with the leaders of the Palestinian Resistance factions. We are closely monitoring the situation and its developments minute by minute through our Palestinian brothers. We provide assistance to the extent possible, but I would like to add that at any moment when the responsibility to act arises, we will not hesitate to intervene (directly), with the grace of God. I invite everyone to ponder over this statement of mine, and we will see where things go. In any case, we are closely monitoring the events and developments, and everyone must rise to the responsibilities that lie ahead, whether through taking positions or through direct and concrete actions. […]
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mythological god worshipers kill each other in the best tradition.
the stupidity has no end.
a great and inspiring leader to have but he has chosen the wrong enemy.
norman finklestein is a servant of g-d and his words are wise and prophetic.
norman’s an asshole or completely stupid or both. if you don’t think firing rockets while hiding behind civilians will get them killed when israel retaliates for the coward rocket attacks… then you really are stupid. or playing silly games with people’s lives. either way that makes you a scum wad.
shamloan o leak chem haha
empathy is what world ignores. we live in times without humanity. we forgot what it means to be human being and help each other. i wished many times knowing no matter that i as one cannot protect other countries and its people, i wished to be part of their movement so they know i didn’t fail them.
when i see children killed, suffering from shells, bullets, women crying for their children, fathers screaming loud holding their newborn killed babies, destroyed livelihoods, war torn towns, i only want to stop tyrants and destroy them. but i live in poverty so i can only dream i am there on the ground resisting pushing israel tyrant.
so, dear dimwit: how’s trying to murder civilians and then getting your own people killed because you hide your coward ass behind them “resisting the tyrant”?
unfortunately, these dudes supported bosnia
you mean wahhabis they are ?
no, i mean every muslim power, whether turkey, pakistan, iran or anything else were supporting bosnia and azerbaijan. but israel also supported azerbaijan because many jews believe that armenians are amalekites, which is false.
yeah right… so, hassan aka bunker-coward blabbers crap as usual while the stinking piece of dog-filth is robbing lebanon blind and lying to its people and kowtowing to his turban-wearing nutcase paymasters in iran ? how impressive yawn
hassan nasrallah a great man!
yeah, its like everything and everybody whom is influenced and cooperates within the western hempisphere is going colective insane, their scams, forgerys of science, forgerys of health related issues, an banking inds. whom is sinking, gov indebted to their chimenys, yeah, and isisrael whom have been the western wellfare queen for decades, watch they, destroy everything them selfs, a sort of divine justice.