Translated and transcribed By Sayed Hasan
Speech by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah on August 25, 2019, on the occasion of the annual commemoration of Lebanon’s Second Liberation against the takfiris terrorist groups, which was finalized on August 25, 2017.
[…] I now turn to the question of Israel. Pray upon Muhammad and his family.
[Audience: O My God, pray upon Muhammad and his family!]
What happened last night is very dangerous, and I’ll explain why, because (the firmness of) our position must be at the height of the event and the danger. Let no one minimize what happened and consider it offhandedly. I will offer my analysis (after recalling the facts).
This is what happened: on the night of yesterday, in the skies of the southern suburbs of Beirut, a very modern drone came —I can say it is very sophisticated because this drone is in our hands, and we may show it to the media; later we will agree on that with the official security bodies; we also have the remains of the second (suicide) drone. It is not at all the type of drone that one can rent in towns or villages to film weddings and celebrations, not at all. This is a very modern military drone, which is almost two meters wide, a very sharp military technology.
The first drone came at night in the targeted region, namely some street of the Ma’wad neighborhood in the southern suburbs of Beirut. The first was a surveillance drone that had no other role but to collect information because it contained no explosive device. It descended very low, ending up between the buildings. This means it was filming its target very accurately, or at least trying to do so.
As announced by Hezbollah media relations, we have not shot down the drone. Young people in the neighborhood, seeing this two meters long drone flying so low, between buildings… The more I speak frankly and clearly, the easier it will be to understand, because we have to base our stance on truth, not on illusions or assumptions. These young people started to throw stones at this drone, which then fell. Either it fell because of a technical failure, either due to stone throwing, and it is clear that the drone was damaged by a stone. The drone therefore fell to the ground.
After a very brief moment, that is to say, a maximum of one or two minutes, another drone came aggressively and hit a certain place. So it is not a drone that was there to watch, and that they would have detonated because of an incident, not at all. What happened last night is an attack by a suicide drone against a target located in the southern suburbs of Beirut, Lebanon. This is the precise description that can be done from the field data.
Why do we say it’s dangerous? The fact that there was no killing and no injuries, by the grace of God, does not make this incident less dangerous. Sure, buildings were hit, their windows and facades were damaged, as well as furniture of apartments, offices… There was property damage. By the Grace of God Almighty and Exalted, the attack occurred during the night from Saturday to Sunday, and you know that on Saturdays and Sundays, you can play soccer on the main roads of the southern suburbs of Beirut (the streets are empty) because most people spend (weekends) in the south and in the Bekaa. It is a blessing of God Most High and Exalted. For without Him, surely, there would have been martyrs and wounded. God Almighty has bestowed His kindness upon us last night.
There was a loud explosion, which many residents of the southern suburbs of Beirut were able to hear. It was not a small explosion. This suicide drone attack against a target in the southern suburbs of Beirut is the first act of aggression since August 14, 2006. For in regard to the strikes which took place against Jenta a few years ago (in February 2014), we can say that this point was located at the Syrian-Lebanese border. But today there was a clear and open aggression (against Lebanon).
Of course, all the Israeli media speak of two suicide drones or one suicide drone that struck the southern suburbs of Beirut. Now if someone in Lebanon or in the Arab world, or on satellite TV channels, wants to pretend it is only a local (minor) incident, concerning only Lebanon, with drones that anyone can buy, it’s absolutely false. We will show you this drone with the grace of God, and you’ll know for sure that this is not a drone that can be bought on the market.
In fact, Israel itself recognizes, through its official statements and everything we read in the media, that they have perpetrated this air raid. This is a flagrant violation of the rules of engagement that were established after the war of 2006. It is the first clear and major violation. I will not mention other violations, whether against our airspace, our territory, all this could be tolerated (temporarily). But this is a major and dangerous violation, and it is God who, in His Benevolence, prevented any victims.
As for us, Netanyahu and those who took this decision really are deluded if they believe we can ignore such an attack. Some may say that there are no martyrs or injuries, only property damage, and that therefore we should forget about it. But that is not the question. The bottom line is that this incursion…
Listen to me, let the Lebanese people listen carefully: if we stay silent on this violation, it will open the way for a dangerous scenario for Lebanon. For every two or three days, we will see a car bomb… Excuse me, we’ll see a drone bomb, a suicide drone target such building, such place, such field, such land, such mosque, such hall… Under the pretext that it is a drone strike, and that we cannot know (for sure) where it comes from, (we would be condemned to do nothing). In other words, it will be a repetition of the scenario that is taking place in Iraq.
Now let the whole world listen to me carefully. I will speak very precisely. There is a scenario implemented in Iraq in recent weeks. In different regions, weapons stockpiles of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) are identified by drones, and right after, explosions happen right there. Whether the drone has fired a missile or whether it was a suicide drone, that’s what the investigation will show. One explosion, two explosions, three explosions, four explosions… And at the very least, they are implicitly claimed by Israel, who brags about them. For Netanyahu needs such operations now, I will speak about it in a moment. This process has run its course in Iraq: a first weapons depot, a second one, a third, a fourth, a fifth… And they continue on this path.
Now how Iraq will deal with this, be it the government, the army, the PMU or the Iraqi people, it is their problem, and I do not interfere in their decisions. But as for us in Lebanon, we do not allow such a scenario to be imposed on us. We do not accept to undergo the same thing. It’s absolutely impossible. And we will do… You’re used to such statements from us (and you know of serious we are). We absolutely will do whatever is necessary to prevent such a scenario to be imposed on Lebanon. All what is needed to be done to prevent it, we will do it (without any hesitation, and whatever the consequences).
[Audience: At your service, O Nasrallah!]
All this is in our hands, and we are perfectly capable of preventing that. The Lebanese State took its responsibilities and condemned (Israel’s attack), it is good. The State considers that what happened is an attack, that’s good. He complained to the UN, that’s good. He speaks to the US and to Europe (asking them to put pressure on Israel), that’s good. But this alone will not end the dangerous process that can destroy Lebanon again, returning it to the situation before 2000 (the Liberation). We, the Islamic Resistance (Hezbollah), will never allow such a scenario, regardless of the price (we have to pay to stop it).
[Audience: At your service, O Nasrallah!]
The time when Israeli planes could strike anywhere in Lebanon while the entity usurping Palestine was safe, in any area of the entity, is well over. It’s the past, it is ancient history. Today, I read that the Israeli army told the people of the north (of Israel) that there is no danger, and that they can live their lives normally. Today, from the village of al-Ain in the Bekaa, in this second annual commemoration of the Second Liberation (of Lebanon against the terrorist groups), after we defeated Al-Nosra and ISIS in Lebanon, which are the US’ groups and Israel’s, I declare to all the inhabitants of northern Israel and everywhere in occupied Palestine: do not live (normally), do not be in peace, do not feel safe, and do not think for one second that Hezbollah will accept such a scenario (where he would suffer such attacks in his neighborhoods without retaliating against settlers).
[Audience: At your service, O Nasrallah!]
And our first response… Our first response… Again, listen to me. Here is our first response, which needs a little explanation. Since 2000, and then since 2006, we have lived with the (constant) presence of (Israeli) drones in Lebanese skies. We had the ability to shoot them down, but we did not, so that nobody in Lebanon comes with us to philosophize, accusing Hezbollah of creating problems, of leading the country to war, of hindering tourism and the economy, etc., putting on us the blame for everything. Ok my brother, (we waited patiently) despite the fact that the presence of Israeli observation drone is not only a violation of Lebanese sovereignty, but is endangering our security. (The Israeli drones are) here, over the southern suburbs of Beirut, above (the presidential palace) of Baabda, above all Lebanese regions, in the south, where people in their villages hear (every day) the annoying noise of Israeli drones over their heads, but no one did anything about it! Since 2000 and until 2019, we did not stop asking the State and the government (to do something), and you remember that I raised this issue in many speeches, saying that a solution should be found. The UN resolution 1701 that ended the 2006 war prohibits Israeli violations: why don’t they stop?
Now, I declare that Israeli drones that enter Lebanon will not be considered as drones (merely) violating our sovereignty or gathering information, but as suicide, attack drones planning to conduct assassinations. And therefore, we have every right to shoot them down. The implementation of this right depends on the circumstances: we may not do it every day or every week, maybe we’ll do it at every hour, it’ll depend on our tactics. But I say to you very clearly, although I know some people will be angry, but let them get angry! Let them get mad! From now on, we will confront the Israeli drones in the skies of Lebanon! We will work to shoot down the Israeli drones entering Lebanese airspace! Let the Israelis know it from today! We won’t wait for anyone (to solve this issue for us), no one around the world. We will not allow our towns and villages to be a shooting range, a hunting or murdering ground, or a space where our security can be violated with impunity. That time has passed. And if someone in Lebanon is anxious to avoid any problems, let him speak to the Americans, who will speak to Israel, and they will make themselves scarce! They will disappear!
The second point I have to mention is what happened in Syria. I mention these two points, and I will conclude with Netanyahu and a message to the Israelis who head towards (parliamentary) elections (in September).
Yesterday, in Syria, there has been air strikes against a house in the village of Aqraba in the suburbs of Damascus. Netanyahu boasted of what he had done, announcing with the enemy’s army that the target was Iranian Al-Quds forces, etc., etc., etc., posing as a courageous and fearless national hero.
Netanyahu lies to the Israeli people, if we can talk about a people. He lies to the (Zionist) settlers who occupy Palestine. He lies to his kin, he lies to his people. He sells them meaningless and empty words. He misrepresents the truth and the realities of the ground.
Yesterday, Israeli strikes have not targeted the Al-Quds forces, but a Hezbollah position. Those who were in… It is a simple house, it’s not even a military position. It is a simple house in which our youth rested.In the place that was hit, there are only young Lebanese Hezbollah members. And in this place last night, two martyrs fell: the martyr Hassan Yousef Zbib, and the martyr Yasser Ahmad Dhahir.
You know, O Netanyahu and the Israeli army, that we mean business, and that during all the past years, we were not kidding. After our dear brothers have been killed in Quneitra (in January 2015), our martyrs, you saw that we were not kidding (Hezbollah immediately retaliated by striking an Israeli convoy, killing two soldiers and wounding seven). And (in my speech) just a few days ago, I was not joking. We said that if you kill the least of our brothers, our brothers of Hezbollah, Lebanese… I say this so no one tell me that they strike Syrians, Iranians or Iraqis, and that we come and make problems in Lebanon, no: all (the fighters of these countries) are our dear brothers, but those who were killed (in Syria) are our (Lebanese) children, from our villages, our families, our youth!
You know (O Netanyahu) that we have made a clear commitment, and I will remind this commitment to the world: if Israel kills the least of our brothers in Syria, we will retaliate for the killing in Lebanon, and not on the (occupied) Shebaa farms! We will retaliate from Lebanon, and not from the Shebaa farms!
[Audience: At your service, O Nasrallah!]
I declare to the Israeli soldiers at the border tonight: wait for us against the (separation) wall (standing) on one foot and a half (be ready to flee for your lives)! Wait for us on one foot and a half! Wait for us (because we’ll certainly come at you)! In one day, two days, three days, four days… Just wait for us!
And I say to the Israelis, not just those at the border, because the two issues (drone strikes in Beirut and Damascus attacks) are linked. Both attacks are actually a single question. Ultimately, if we forgot about what happened in Damascus, the first point would be enough for us to act differently (because Israel violated the rules of engagement). That is why we will not forget about what happened during last night. With us, you can not wipe the slate clean (so easily).
What I want to say to the Israelis is that Netanyahu runs his electoral campaign. The various Israeli political parties (always) conducted their election campaigns by pouring the blood of Palestinians, Lebanese, Syrians, Iraqis and the peoples of the region. But O Israelis, this time, Netanyahu campaigned with your own blood. It’s your very lives that he puts at risk.
He attracts towards you fire from all sides. For what is he doing in Iraq? Why does he strike arms depots of the Popular Mobilization Units in Iraq? He brings to you Iraqi strikes, Syrian strikes, and now Lebanese strikes. As for the Palestinian attacks, they are persistent because of your siege against Gaza, your aggression against the West Bank and your arrogance against the Palestinian people. This man who fears the election results, against whom charges of corruption are pressed, and who is expected by the courts, has only one alternative before him: becoming Prime minister, or going to jail. And he has no problem to conduct his election campaign with the blood of people, (even his own). Netanyahu takes you to the edge of the abyss, O Israel. And it is possible that he’ll throw you into the abyss, if he continues to act the way he does, and with this mentality.
O my brothers and sisters, in this commemoration that is dear and precious, we the Lebanese, the Army, the People, the Resistance, the security bodies, the State, the political forces, the people, the religious components, the regions, the families, the tribes (of Lebanon), we have shaped with our own hands our security in the Bekaa, in the South and throughout Lebanon. We shaped our security with our own hands, by the blood of our soldiers and our Resistance. We carried heavy burdens for all of Lebanon to be united, in peace and security, in the heart of this region that the US and its (terrorist) groups are destroying. We will not allow the clock to turn back. We will not allow Lebanon to be open to all intrusions, whether strikes, murders, terrorist attacks or any violation whatsoever. As for us, this is a red line, and we must all assume our responsibilities. We work so that there is a united national position, strong, bold and courageous. Going back to the old (sectarian) divisions would serve no purpose, but it would hurt the country. This would harm the country.
Thanks to the benefits of all these victories, and from a position of strength, clarity and conscience, we will defend our country on all boundaries: south, east, north, at sea, and now we will start to defend our airspace, doing our best, and in the manner required by wisdom, sense of responsibility and our interests. This is the new phase that the enemy has imposed. We will be up to the task, and you (the Lebanese people) too.
If Netanyahu imagines that we are in a position of weakness or numbness here and there, and rejoices about the financial and economic siege (imposed on us by Trump), he does not know us. He does not know us. We are prepared to endure hunger to remain dignified. That’s how we’ve always been throughout history. We sell our houses in order to (get the means to) fight. But we do not allow anyone to touch our dignity, our sovereignty, our honor and our presence in Lebanon and the region.
This is the message of the martyrs today, the message of martyr Sayyed Abbas al-Mousawi, our master and teacher; the message of our martyrs of the Bekaa, of the town of al-Ain (where is celebrated this anniversary), the Bekaa martyrs who carried our flag on all battlefields. Today, it is in your name that I proclaimed this clear and glorious message, that doesn’t need any analysis or comment. We are in a new phase. Let everyone assume their responsibility in this new phase, and we first.
I congratulate you in this commemoration. Happy Liberation and Victory Day to all.
Peace be upon you O people of the good, and God’s mercy and blessings.
“Any amount counts, because a little money here and there, it’s like drops of water that can become rivers, seas or oceans…” Hassan Nasrallah