BEIRUT: Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah vowed Friday all means of support for Hamas and other Palestinian factions whom he declared victorious after 18 days of devastating Israeli airstrikes and artillery bombardment targeting the Gaza Strip.
Nasrallah made a rare public appearance to address his supporters at a rally marking “Jerusalem Day and Solidarity with Gaza” in Beirut’s southern suburbs, as Israel pressed on with its military offensive against the coastal strip raging since July 8, killing hundreds of civilian Palestinians.
“Today Gaza, while it is mourning its martyrs and resisting, has emerged victorious with the resistance logic. Today is the 18th day [of the Israeli war on Gaza] and the Zionists have failed to achieve any of their goals. This means that the resistance has won in the battle,” Nasrallah said, drawing cheers from the crowd assembled at Sayyed al-Shuhada complex south of Beirut. “The resistance is capable of making victory.”
Over 830 Palestinians have been killed and more than 5,200 others were wounded in the Israeli offensive launched in response to Hamas militants firing rockets into the Jewish state. On the Israeli side, more than 30 soldiers and two civilians have died in the fighting.
“In facing this event [war], we in Hezbollah were and will remain standing on the side of all the Palestinian people and all factions of the resistance in Palestine,” Nasrallah said. “We will not spare any means of support that we can extend and are able to provide. We feel that we are true partners with this resistance in this battle.”
The Hezbollah chief warned Israel against expanding its offensive in Gaza. “To the spider’s web and the Zionists I say: In Gaza today, you are moving in a circle of failure and don’t go further to the circle of suicide or collapse,” he said.
“The spider’s web” is a term used by Nasrallah since 2000 to refer to Israel following its withdrawal from south Lebanon.
Nasrallah, who had in the past addressed his supporters from a huge screen through a video link for security reasons following a wave of suicide bombings that targeted the southern suburbs claimed by Al-Qaeda-linked groups in response to the party’s military intervention in Syria, said Hezbollah was following closely the military and political developments in Gaza.
“We tell our brothers in Gaza: We are with you and on your side. We are confident of your steadfastness and victory. We will do all that we must do,” he added.
He urged Arab and Muslim governments to provide the Palestinian resistance with financial, political and even military support in the face of Israel’s ongoing military blitz in Gaza.
He also prodded these governments to adopt Hamas’ declared option of lifting the blockade on Gaza and protect the resistance’s political leadership in the face of pressures to arrange a cease-fire without achieving this goal.
Nasrallah said Israel has failed miserably in the battlefield, including on the intelligence level.
Referring to the 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel, he said: “On the first day of the 2006 war, Israel set high-level objectives and gradually demoted such goals until it reached a point where it just wanted the war to end.”
“The objective in this [Gaza] conflict is to simply destroy tunnels along the border ... but when we get to the 18th day and Israel and the world have not yet achieved a single goal in this aggression, this only means that Gaza and the resistance have won,” he added.
According to Nasrallah, Israel failed to settle the battle with its air offensive and ground operation as well as failing an attempt to reach a cease-fire with Hamas.
“When they say the resistance fired 100 rockets from Gaza that require transportation, assembling, finding a hideout, guarding them and so on, this only highlights a tremendous intelligence failure on the part of Israel,” he said.
Nasrallah commended the resistance in Gaza for its steadfastness, saying it had changed the rules of engagement, adopting a tripartite formula similar to “the golden equation functioning in Lebanon.”
The formula, Nasrallah explained, rested on three main pillars: fighting on the field, the people’s steadfastness and political resoluteness.
“With this formula, the resistance succeeded in imposing new methods on the enemy, and that’s not easy for someone like [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu to admit,” he said. He stressed that the resistance should remain resolute on achieving its goals from this conflict, chiefly ending the siege on Gaza.
“From the very first day, they hit Tel Aviv in the first rocket launching from Palestinian territories into Palestinian territories and covering the entire Palestinian landscape,” Nasrallah said.
He said Hamas remained defiant “despite some Arab leaders’ calls to Israel encouraging them to continue with its war.”
“The situation will lead to imposing new equations on the enemy that need some time,” he said. “The resistance will impose a solution on Israel.”
Nasrallah also spoke about Israel’s long-term plan since its occupation of Palestine to create wars, conflicts and divisions in every Arab and Muslim country to liquidate the Palestinian cause.
Referring to the turmoil in the Arab world as a result of popular upheavals, he said: “This is the most dangerous phase since the occupation of Palestine because there is a systematic destruction of countries, peoples, armies and societies in the region, which started with honest popular revolutions but someone rode the wave and took it to a different direction.”
“But Syria will remain standing in the face of the Zionist project while Iraq has unfortunately entered into a dark tunnel in the name of Islam,” he added.
He condemned the persecution of Christians and destruction of churches in the Iraqi city of Mosul by the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS).
“In the name of the caliphate, they are displacing thousands of Christian families ... Sunnis who differ with ISIS have no choice but to declare allegiance or face slaughter, while Shiites and minorities have the only choice of being slaughtered.”