“We will not be the only ones to pay a price. Our homes will not be the only ones to be destroyed. Our children will not be the only ones killed. Our people will not be the only one to take shelter and move. This time is over: it was thus before 1982, before 2000. But this time is now over.”
Hassan Nasrallah, July 14, 2006.
On July 13, Israel launched a large-scale aggression against Lebanon, using the pretext of Hezbollah’s capture of two Israeli soldiers the day before. As the Winograd Report itself reveals, this war was long-planned (“the longest planned in Israel’s history; it had been preparing for this for six years”, stresses Norman Finkelstein), and was only hastened by the Israeli General Staff to allow the aggressor to plead self-defense, a false pretense that is the hallmark of the Zionist entity.
Until today, this falsification of history remains tenacious, but the date of the outbreak of this conflict is indeed July 13, not July 12. That is why Hezbollah designates this conflict as “The 33-Day War” (13 July-14 August), not the 34 days that Israeli propaganda, which unfortunately has a virtual monopoly in the West (even in the so-called alternative media, which too often takes the language elements of Israeli propaganda at face value), strives to impose.
Two unrecognized events, then highlighted by Robert Fisk with the emphasis they deserve, have marked these first two days:
“There were reporters embedded in the Israeli navy, watching them shell the coast of Lebanon, and I’ve seen the footage. Then, suddenly, one of those Hetz-class gunboats is hit by an Iranian missile. And within a minute, Hezbollah’s television station, Al-Manar, which has been totally bombed, pulverized, pound into dust — it’s still broadcasting presumably from bunkers elsewhere in Beirut — suddenly shows all the embedded footage on television, like “Here’s the ship. Here it is firing on Southern Lebanon. This is the ship we hit.” Extraordinary bit of propaganda. I mean, absolutely amazing, outrageously so.
How on earth did they have those pictures aligned and ready to put out on the air within a few minutes of the attack on the gunboat? You know, Nasrallah came on television in Beirut within minutes after the Israelis had bombed his home and tried to kill him and, of course, failed to do so, saying, “You don’t have to worry about me, but go out onto the beach of Beirut and look out to sea, and you’ll see the ship burning.” My goodness me, that was a stunning piece of propaganda. But, of course, the embedded reporters, as usual, will do their job in extolling, I’m sure, the surgical strikes of the Israelis, “as usual.” I put that in quotation marks.”
The second event is perhaps less spectacular, not having been broadcast live at the very time of a meeting of the Israeli military command (who thus learned the destruction of his corvette on TV and hastened to deny the fact in shock, before admitting it later), but perhaps even more revealing of Hezbollah’s abilities:
“There’s another point which the Israelis have not talked about, because it’s under strict censorship in Israel, that the Hezbollah, who had weeks earlier sent a pilot-less reconnaissance drone over Israel, made, of course, in Iran, taking pictures, they had identified the headquarters of Israel’s top secret military air traffic control center at Miron in Northern Israel. This is basically where the military scientists are based. It’s like caves in a mountain. They’re untouchable. But the drone identified the antenna on the top of the mountain and put missiles onto it. Israel has a secret code name of Operation Apollo. Now, this was an extraordinary breech of Israeli security. Never, insofar as I know, since the ’73 war, has it been breeched like this.”
These two military exploits clearly distributed the roles from the beginning of the war: on the one hand, an army endowed with an unlimited power of destruction, pouring its firepower above all on civilians whom it was resolve to punish (in a few days, there were already more than 300 dead, thousands of wounded and nearly a million displaced), but unable to conduct a real ground operation because of the chronic weakness of its infantry, and on the other hand, a modest but extremely effective guerrilla force, targeting above all, with unthinkable success for Israel, military targets, and even winning the intelligence and psychological warfare hands down. Israel was amputated from the first day of a whole section of its military triad (aviation, navy, infantry). This radical impulse given to this conflict will only be confirmed later.
– Sayed Hasan
I seek refuge with God against Satan the accursed.
In the Name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
Praise be to God, Lord of the Worlds, and prayers and peace be upon our Master (the Prophet) Muhammad and his pure family, upon his faithful companions and upon all the Prophets and Messengers. Peace be upon you and the mercy of God.
“If God comes to your aid, none can overcome you.” (Quran, III, 160) God the Most High and the Almighty has spoken the truth.
To begin with, in this first speech of mine after the success of Operation “Truthful Promise” (in which Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers) and the events that followed it (war against Lebanon), I wish to start by extending my regards and condolences to the families of martyrs, the families of martyrs who lost their dearest ones during these harsh and difficult days. But (they should know) that they lost them in the noblest confrontation and battle of our time, of (all warrior and epic) tales, and even of all History. And I extend my regards and greetings to the wounded, imploring God the Almighty and the Exalted to assist them and grant them healing and health.
I also wish to send my greetings to our enduring people of all towns and villages, remaining firmly rooted in their land, as they are firmly rooted in their faith.
And I also salute my brothers the Resistants, the fighters, patient, lucid, alert and steadfast at their position on all front lines, always ready to sacrifice for what they believe, longing ardently for martyrdom, holding their heads high.
In my first speech in these (decisive) days, after Operation “Truthful Promise”, I will (only) say a few words: a word to the Lebanese people, a word to the Resistance fighters, a word to the Zionists, and a word to the Arab leaders. I have nothing to say to the international community because, just like many members of our (Muslim) community, I never believed one day in the (effective) existence of an international community.
First, I say to the Lebanese people: O my dear people, who embraced the Resistance, thanks to whom it achieved victory and for whom it triumphed on May 25, 2000 (Lebanon’s liberation from Israeli occupation), this Lebanese people that shaped the first Arab victory in the History of the struggle against the Israeli enemy, despite the huge imbalance of forces, and despite the abandonment of the majority of our Arab brothers, the majority of our Muslim brothers and (a deafening) silence of the world (in spite of Israeli crimes in Lebanon). The Lebanese people have shaped the miracle of the victory, who stunned the world and humiliated the Zionists, these Zionists who (since then) look upon this people in a special, unique way, because he achieved a particular and distinct feat in the History of the struggle against them.
The battle today is not a battle for prisoners and for an exchange of prisoners. Some might say that the Zionist enemy would naturally respond to any capture of its soldiers, wherever it occurs in the world, against any army, any State with borders and bases (which may be targeted). But what is happening today is not a response to the capture of (Israeli) soldiers. This is a reckoning with the people, Resistance, State, military, political forces, regions, villages and families that inflicted this historic defeat on that aggressive usurper entity which was not accustomed to suffer defeats.
So today, we are facing a total war waged by the Zionists to settle all accounts with Lebanon, the people of Lebanon, the Lebanese State, the Lebanese army and the Lebanese Resistance, by way of revenge and retaliation for the feat achieved on May 25, 2000.
O my steadfast, resilient and noble people, who in his vast majority, I know, by his reason, his heart, his will, his culture, his thought, his love, his passion and sacrifices, is a noble people, decent, honorable and proud, and not a people of servility, subservience, cowardice and surrender. I tell you that in this confrontation, we have two choices, not (only) Hezbollah and the Resistance of Hezbollah, but all of Lebanon, the State, the people, the army, the Resistance and the political forces. We have two choices: either we all submit today to the conditions that the Zionist enemy wants to impose on us all, with the pressure, support, and backing of the USA, the (whole) world and, unfortunately, (some) Arab (leaders). Either we submit completely to their conditions, which will bring Lebanon into the Israeli era and under Israeli hegemony.
In total frankness this is the extent of the matter. The other choice is to resist, to persevere, to fight back, and as for me, relying on God the Almighty and Exalted, and on the confidence I have in Him, in the (Hezbollah) combatants and in you (Lebanese people), by the knowledge that I have of this people and this enemy, just as I always used to promise you victory, now I promise you victory once again. When (Israel launched the Operation) “Grapes of Wrath” in 1996, or (the Operation) “Settling of Accounts” in 1993, at first he had the upper hand, and our situation was much worse. But today, the situation is different. Believe me, and I mean it, the situation now is very different. We just have to wait, to resist, to face and to unite, and I know that the majority of our people is steadfast and prone to fight back, and ready to sacrifice, without need to be urged to do so, but I’m just explaining the situation and confirming our choice (to resist).
And as for what I want to tell the Resistance fighters, to my dear and beloved brothers, on which rest the hopes of all the Lebanese, of all Palestinians, all Arabs, all Muslims, all free and decent men of this world, all the oppressed, all the victims of injustice and torture, all those who love steadfastness, courage, honor, values and nobility, qualities quintessential to these fighters, and embodied by their presence on the battlefield and their struggle against the enemy, a brave and heroic struggle.
I say (to those fighters): Today you are, after God the Exalted and Most High, our hope and the hope of our (Arab and Muslim) Community. You are the symbol of our dignity and our nobility. You are the guardians of our honor, and it is through you that our dignity is preserved. You are the foundation of the victory of 2000, after God the Exalted and Most High. Today you have the responsibility, above anyone else, to preserve the victory, to safeguard the Liberation, the Resistance and our honor (against this aggression). You are living up to this responsibility and these expectations and you have proven so far, during these last days, that you are quite worthy of our hopes and our confidence, and whoever relies, after God, on you, demonstrates great lucidity, will see his hopes fulfilled and soon win a resounding victory.
And as to the Zionists, the inhabitants of the Zionist entity, at this moment, I tell you this: you’ll quickly discover, O (Israeli) people, how your new government (led by Ehud Olmert) and your new leaders are foolish, stupid, do not know how to assess reality, and do not have any experience in this area (war).
In polls (held in Israel), you affirm, (you) Zionists, that you have more confidence in my statements than in those of your leaders. This time, I invite you all to listen to me (very carefully) and mark my words: today we kept showing restraint despite the attack last night against the southern suburb (of Beirut), and attacks are increasing against all villages, every neighborhood, every street and every house in Lebanon. There is no difference between the southern suburb (of Beirut) and the city of Beirut, or any house in South Lebanon, the Bekaa, the North, Mount Lebanon, or any corner of Lebanon. This equation has now changed.
Today I will not say that if you strike Beirut, we will strike Haifa. I will not tell you that if you strike the southern suburb (of Beirut), we will strike Haifa. You wanted to end this equation, so let us forget it. You wanted an open war (with no red line), so be it! We are entering an open war, and we are ready, we are ready to such a war. A war at all levels. (We are ready to strike) Haifa, and, believe me, beyond Haifa, and well beyond (what is) beyond Haifa.
We will not be the only ones to pay a price. Our homes will not be the only ones to be destroyed. Our children will not be the only ones killed. Our people will not be the only one to take shelter and move. This time is over: it was thus before 1982, before 2000. But this time is now over. I promise you that this time is over. And therefore, you must also take responsibility for what your government does, and for what this government has undertaken.
From now on, you wanted an open war, so it will be an open war. You wanted, your government wanted to change the rules of the game, so be it, let us change the rules. Today you do not know whom you’re fighting. You are fighting the descendants (and authentic followers of the Prophet) Muhammad, of (Imam) Ali, of (his sons) Hassan and Hussein, of the family of the Prophet, and the Companions of the Prophet. You are fighting a people who has greater faith than anyone on the face of the earth. And you chose to enter into open war against a nation that is proud of its history, its civilization and culture, and also has the material capability, the ability, the experience, the know-how, the calm, the lucidity, the determination, the endurance and the courage (required). In the coming days, it will be between us and you, God willing.
As for the Arab leaders, I do not want to ask you about your history (of collaboration with the enemy). I have just a few words to say. We are “adventurers” (term used by Saudi Arabia to condemn the capture of Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah). We in Hezbollah, are “adventurers”, yes! But we have been “adventurers” since 1982. And we have brought to our country nothing but victory, freedom, Liberation, dignity, honor, and pride. This is our history. This is our experience. This is our “adventure”.
In 1982, you said we were crazy, and the world said we were crazy (to believe we could defeat Israel). But we proved that we were the rational ones. As to (reveal) the identity of the true crazy people, that’s another question. I don’t want to get into a debate with anyone. I only say this: rely on your “reason” and we will rely on our “adventure”, and God is our support, and He is our Provider. [Since 1982], we never counted on you, not one moment. We relied on God, on our people, on our heart, on our own efforts and on our children. And today we do the same thing. And victory will follow, it will (certainly) follow with God’s grace.
The surprises I promised you (two days ago in case of Israeli invasion) will begin starting now. Right now, offshore, facing Beirut, the Israeli warship that bombed our infrastructure, civilian houses and inhabitants, watch it burn (live before your eyes), and it will sink, and with it dozens of Israeli Zionist soldiers.
It is only the beginning, and before the end, there will be many other things to say.
May God’s peace be upon you and His mercy.
Speech by Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, Secretary General of Hezbollah, on July 14, 2006, the second day of the war against Israel, in which a Sa’ar V corvette was destroyed.
Translated for the first time on the occasion of the 12th anniversary of the event. All speeches of Hezbollah Secretary General during the 2006 war will be fully translated, subtitled and published in English for the first time on their anniversary this summer.