Lebanon News

Hezbollah shrugs off Israeli polls, says to keep arsenal

Hezbollah's deputy leader Sheikh Naim Qassem speaks in front of students at the LU in Hadath, Lebanon, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)

BEIRUT: Hezbollah could care less about the outcome of the recent Israeli elections because the Jewish state’s “project” is falling apart, Hezbollah’s number two said late Thursday.

“Israel held polls and some waited to see who would win ... But in Hezbollah we did not wait for results because we believe Israel has entered the stage of defeats and the results today show the defects [that emerged] after the July 2006 war ... and the Gaza war,” Sheikh Naim Qassem, Hezbollah’s deputy chief, said in a statement published late Thursday.

“This means that the Israeli project is gradually descending into the abyss, and here we have to stay steadfast to face the remnants of this project,” Qassem said.

Benjamin Netanyahu won a narrow victory in Israel's general election earlier this week.

The Hezbollah official said Israel was no longer free to take decisions as liberally as it once could in terms of peace and war and he reiterated the need for Hezbollah’s arsenal.

Israel, he said, is “forced to make a lot of calculations in terms of its home front.”

“The battle is no longer inside enemy land but in the land it [Israel] has occupied, and that's what makes confusion exist inside Israel when any battle or any assault [erupts] in the region,” he said.

“And this proves the need for the dear, honorable and heroic resistance [Hezbollah] because it is the one that created this shift in the reality of the Israeli entity.”

Hezbollah believes its weapons deter Israel from taking any aggressive steps against Lebanon.

He warned that calls to “bring down the resistance or to topple the resistance arms” would be considered an Israeli demand.

Lebanon’s opposition March 14 coalition has been pressing for the disarmament of Hezbollah, arguing that the state alone should have a monopoly on the use of force.





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