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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Lebanon: Nasrallah: Raid shows Israelis will attack even their allies

BEIRUT, (Daily Star): Israel faces the prospect of losing its key ally in the region, Turkey, after it lost Iran following the Islamic Revolution of 1979, according to the leader of Hizbullah.

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said Friday that a deadly Israeli attack on the Turkish aid vessel Mavi Marmara proved that Israel had no compunction about lashing out at countries with which it enjoys political, military and diplomatic ties.

“This is proof that Israel assigns no importance to diplomatic relations – this is a [message] that peace or diplomacy with Israel will not protect them,” Nasrallah said. “It’s also proof that the US will support Israel, no matter what it does.”

Nasrallah took aim at critics of the resistance and its arms, which Hizbullah’s opponents say provide a pretext for an Israeli attack on Lebanon.

“Here, we should address those who expect a change in US policy,” Nasrallah said, citing the support to Israel offered by American Vice-President Joe Biden earlier this week, following the Mavi Marmara attack.

At least nine people were killed and several hundred activists were detained and then deported by Israel following the attack.

Nasrallah was addressing thousands of supporters by videolink in the southern suburbs of Beirut, at an event held to congratulate members of the Freedom Flotilla who suffered a deadly attack on Monday by Israeli soldiers.

A number of symbolic coffins, draped in the Turkish flag, were set up at the event, to mark the victims of the massacre.

The Hizbullah leader paid tribute to the government and people of Turkey, which have been outraged by Israel’s actions this week.

“Israel was surprised by Turkey’s position … which is why they released the passengers so promptly,” he said.

“This is a lesson for those who adopt the diplomacy of humiliation, which has brought only defeats,” Nasrallah said, adding that the diplomacy of “strength” would lead to positive results.

“We should embrace and support the Turkish position, because Turkey will be subject to pressure, so that it doesn’t go any further [in its reaction to the massacre],” he said.

Ankara is threatening a reduction of ties with Tel Aviv to an absolute minimum, following the cancellation of scheduled joint military maneuvers.

Nasrallah also cited the Israeli media reaction in the wake of Monday’s attack, saying that Israelis were becoming aware that instead of a source of support for the United States, they were becoming a “burden.”

Nasrallah praised the Kuwaiti legislature for calling for the withdrawal from the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002, which was endorsed at an Arab Summit in Beirut. The initiative promised full recognition of Israel in exchange for Israel’s withdrawal from occupied Arab territory.

Despite recent tension between Cairo and the resistance, Nasrallah also singled out Egypt for praise for opening the Rafah crossing-point, to allow humanitarian supplies into the Gaza Strip.

Nasrallah said he understood that there was Western pressure on Egypt to keep Rafah closed, but urged the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference to provide political cover for Egypt, to keep the crossing point open.

The leader of Hizbullah said more freedom flotillas should be organized, urging “diverse” participation by Lebanese in any upcoming efforts to break the blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Nasrallah pledged that any future Lebanese participants in a blockade-breaking attempt shouldn’t fear the prospect of not returning from such an effort.

“Those who go will return safely,” Nasrallah said, citing the resistance’s pledge to not leave detainees and prisoners in Israel.

Nasrallah said his call for future participation in attempts to break the blockade wasn’t designed to “provoke” further incidents, but was meant to support a humanitarian cause.

Separately, a Kuwaiti newspaper said Friday that Israeli drone aircraft had recently pinpointed the location of Nasrallah in recent months, but declined to carry out a strike due to the presence of children. Kuwait’s daily Al-Jarida, citing high-ranking Israeli sources, said that Israel’s Mossad had been tasked with liquidating Nasrallah.

However, when Nasrallah’s location was pinpointed near a Hizbullah security facility in the suburbs, the presence of children in a nearby building aborted the attack.

Read more:
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News ::


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