Speech of Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on February 16th, 2018, during the commemoration of Hezbollah's martyred leaders (Sheikh Ragheb Harb, Sayyed Abbas Musawi, Hajj Imad Mughniyeh)
[...] Third, so far, the Lebanese were and remain united in this battle, the battle of the maritime border and oil rights and... whatever... gas. When I say oil, I mean both oil and gas (hydrocarbons), it's easier that way. United in the preservation of the rights of Lebanon, of its borders, in the refusal to giveu up on them. We must remain united. Because the unity of the official Lebanese position and of the popular position is the most important – and I mean THE most important, and not one of the most important –, this is the most important factor in winning this battle, the one that will enable us to win and achieve our goals there.
It is necessary that the Lebanese officials and political forces do not allow the devils to fool the Lebanese, to sow dissension among them or destroy their common position, and when I say devils, I mean the United States. They are the devils that come whisper us their evil words in this file.
Fourth: we have previously stated, and we were committed since 2000, and this commitment is still valid : the position of the Resistance, is that we do not intervene in the delimitation of the land or sea borders. This is the responsibility of the State. And that's why we informed the officials of our view and position, and we said that we do not interfere (in this delimitation), neither in meters or kilometers, nor in length or width, this is the responsibility of the State.
In 2000, I remind you that I said, on the very evening of the victory, that as a Resistance, we are committed (to liberate or defend) all Lebanese land defined as such by the Lebanese State. It is not us, the Resistance, who determine which territory is Lebanese or not. Of course, Hezbollah has its own vision in this issue, and I do not want to talk about it (now) but this is our position.
Today, while we are in the middle of this battle, we renew (our position) and declare that we are not involved in that dispute. The land border, maritime border and Lebanon's rights should be determined by the State and its institutions. And that means – because this is not an exception, I do not make an exception, it's their responsibility. Even the Resistance, the country's defense is the responsibility of the State. The (Hezbollah) Resistance appeared only in its absence (the Lebanese State couldn't defend itself) and fill that void. It is not an exception, it is the responsibility of the State. But on the field, this responsibility implies that the current leaders of the State and its organs, in this historical, economic, vital and sensitive file for the Lebanese, should be at the required level of trust and reliability, have a lot of courage, and bear that responsibility. And the people of Lebanon now has his eyes on you.
We are all concerned and have a duty to help the State and his position, to support it and stand by his side, in everything it does and everything it asks. But the State also should have a firm stand, a strong and intangible position (on this issue).
Fifth, and this is a very important point. The Lebanese State, alongside the Lebanese people, should behave in this issue from a position of strength. (We must consider that we are the strongest), and not that we are weak. If the Lebanese consider themselves weak, it is a fatal mistake, and our defeat is assured. As we say, the party is over. If, in their innermost, leaders and official Lebanese officials have a sense of fear, weakness or helplessness, the feeling that we are unable to do anything, or that there is huge international pressure on us that we can not resist, or that we have to renounce our rights, our borders, our resources, our sovereignty, this is the first confession of impotence and the path of failure.
I want to tell everyone that we, Lebanon – I do not speak only about the Resistance –, if we are united, with our means and capabilities, we are the strongest. And we need to negotiate from a position of strength. We must follow up this file from a position of strength. And this Israel that is threatening you, you can threaten him. If the US says that you must yield so that they prevent Israel from attacking you, you can argue that it is rather for them to fulfill your requests if they want you to prevent Hezbollah from attacking Israel! [Audience : At your service, O Nasrallah!] Israel knows, the United States know well, those who came (to Lebanon) about the (problem supposedly represented by) Hezbollah, they know, I want to tell the Lebanese that they know (very well) that your only strength, with all the consideration due to the golden equation (Army-People-Resistance) but in this battle, in this battle precisely, the battle for oil and gas, the only force that you have, O Lebanon, is the (Hezbollah) Resistance. Because it is forbidden for the Lebanese army to own ground-ground, surface-to-sea and surface-to-air missiles. This is not because the army is (intrinsically) weak. The Lebanese army, its leaders, its officers, its ranks, the soldiers, have a very high level of courage, dignity and responsibility. But access to these weapons is (formally) prohibited to them. Who is prohibiting the Lebanese army to get these weapons? The United States ! I'll get back to them in a moment.
Therefore, today, Lebanon and all the Lebanese can stand up and say “No, beware! If you prevent us (from our resources), we will prevent you (from yours)! If you bomb us, we will bomb you! If you strike us, we will strike you!” We have the courage, the strength and the capacity for this, and our enemy knows that. Today is no longer the time of (thunderous but vain) Arab speeches, it is not the time of Arab impotence. These are not empty threats. Israel knows it. This is why we hope that the government will act in a position of strength: you are the strongest, and you just have to make the decision (to act from this position).
In this case, we are at your orders. Let us try, by God, let us make the experience! We are the strongest! Let the Lebanese High Defense Council decide that such oil and gas facilities in the Palestinian sea usurped by Israel, the enemy entity, does not have the right to operate, and I promise you that within a few hours, they will not be active (because Hezbollah will strike them). They will cease all activity. [Audience: At your service, O Nasrallah!]
We have to consider that these are our (exclusive) rights. Nobody would be doing us a favor by giving them to us (as they are already ours). Those are our rights and we must seize them, and we are in a strong position and able to get them. That is all for the fifth point.
Sixth, regarding the current intermediary (between Lebanon and Israel). The State may well accept whoever he wants. We will not use our veto. Not even as a political force (via our MPs) or our ministers in the Lebanese government, we will not use our veto. You welcomed the United States, you have accepted them as intermediaries and you negotiate with them, very well. But we must be well aware of one thing: the United States are not an honest broker (neutral or disinterested), especially if the other part of the negotiation is the Israeli entity. And if you want proof, listen to the Palestinian Authority, to the organizations for the liberation of Palestine and to all the Palestinians, who reported openly and publicly, everywhere, that the United States are not an honest broker. After what Trump did with Al-Quds (Jerusalem), is there still room for discussion? The United States are not an honest broker. And you have to behave with the US intermediary on the basis that he is only here to protect Israel (and its interests). In reality, there is not even 3 (interlocutors). Lebanon is negotiating directly with Israel, which is represented by Tillerson, Satterfield or X. This is the reality.
This is why we must not count on (the neutrality or honesty) of this intermediary. The United States do not want the interest of the Lebanese. They only care about Zionist interests. And they want to take the maximum possible of our waters and resources for the benefit of Israel. We must be well aware of this reality and be especially vigilant when negotiating with the United States.
And moreover, O my brothers and sisters, O Lebanese people, you all know what happened this week. No need for confidential insight to know what happened (between the representatives of the United States) and the Lebanese Presidents, leaders and ministers, because the Americans themselves have publicly stated it. The United States do not even come as intermediaries, they do not act as mere intermediaries (between Lebanon and Israel). The United States came only to communicate (their wills), (give) orders and threaten (us): “O Lebanon, if you do not accept this and that – I will not go into details – then you will have no borders, no oil, no water, no (foreign) company will come (help you get your resources)...” Is this the way intermediaries behave? They only came to deliver a message of threats to the Lebanese! “And you have to accept this, otherwise you will suffer this and that...” It is not (the ways) of an intermediary. Anyway... Even the forms of the intermediary, they have not complied with them.
I want to conclude this part of my speech by saying that we are facing a major historical and economic challenge for Lebanon, for its future and its sovereignty, and we Lebanese must all act with unity, consciousness, responsibility, courage, reliability. We must believe in our right and our strength, and not be fooled about our rights, nor yield to intimidation, nor threats, and we will be victorious by God's grace, in all certainty. Unity, endurance and perseverance, sincerity and attachment to the rights undoubtedly bring victory. Of course, these things take time, there are obstacles and difficulties, but things eventually turn out for the best. […]