In his Martyr’s Day speech on Saturday, marking 41 years since the suicide bomb attack on the IDF headquarters in Tyre, November 11, 1982 (which Israel insisted was a gas leak explosion) that killed 76 Israelis and 15 Lebanese prisoners, Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah claimed the clashes between his units and the IDF on the Israel-Lebanon border are slowing down Israel’s occupation of the Gaza Strip, but said nothing about launching an all-out war against Israel.
He sent a message to the US: “The ones who can stop the aggression are the ones who direct it – the Americans. We need to put pressure on them on every front.” He congratulated Iran’s proxy militias from Yemen to Syria and Iraq who have been attacking American installations in the Middle East, and thanked the pro-Hamas demonstrators in Europe and the US.
“Over the past days, we witnessed a new wave of Israeli threats against Lebanon due to the qualitative and quantitative escalation on this front. The general course on the south Lebanon front is continuing and it will remain a pressing front,” Nasrallah said.
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant responded on Saturday: “Hezbollah is close to making a grave mistake.”
Speaking to IDF soldiers and reservists near the Lebanese border, Gallant said, “I came here to assess the situation in light of Hezbollah’s aggression – this is no longer provocation. I see a high-quality and correct response by our forces, which results in Hezbollah casualties. We continue to hit them.”
Nasrallah called the war in Gaza “revenge that shows the nature of the Zionist entity. Zionist senior officials made a mistake in their calculation, they said clearly and officially: that all the killing and cruelty have a purpose. It is not just revenge and a mental reaction of anger. This is an attack with goals.”
According to Nasrallah, “One of the main goals the enemy is interested in is subjugation. The subjugation of the Palestinians, of the Lebanese, of all the peoples in the region. The goal is to cause despair, to drag the nations here to give up, to raise their hands. They are trying to make us stop. They are trying to make the Palestinians say – through their crimes in Gaza – forget your land, forget your prisoners and the places that are sacred to you. Forget the idea of Palestine from the river to the sea.”
HE QUOTED PSUKIM, USUALLY THIS MEANS HE WANTS WAR
Several Israeli Middle East experts suggested that the next part meant Nasrallah was signaling he was preparing to go to war: he cited several Koran verses, and said, “According to the Torah, the New Testament, and the Koran – whoever does what God asked, He will reward him, and this will be the great victory.” He said about the more than 80 Hezbollah terrorists who died since October 7 at the hands of IDF gunners, pilots, and drone operators: “They fight for God, killing and getting killed. He is obligated to them.”
Talk about Avodah Zarah 101…
“Over the past week, an escalation took place in terms of the number of operations and the type of the used weapons, seeing as for the first time we have used suicide drones and the Burkan rockets, which are rockets that weigh 300 to 500 kilograms each,” Nasrallah said.
“Drones and Katyushas reached deeper regions inside the occupied territories and this was required by the nature of the battle,” Nasrallah said, suggesting that a single hospital in Israel’s north had admitted more than 350 wounded soldiers and civilians since the beginning of clashes on the border.
Nasrallah also claimed that Hezbollah has been sending reconnaissance drones into Israel every day, “Some of them reached Haifa, Acco, and Tsfat, and sometimes they would go beyond the north of Israel.”
But he pointed out that he was not the one sending his fighters to die, being shot from the air each time they tried to fire a rocket at Israel: “Today the battle is different and it’s not me who declares the steps. Our policy in the current battle is that the battlefield is doing the actions and the words belong to it. On Lebanon’s front, the eyes must remain on the battlefield and not on words,” he proclaimed.
“We are in a battle of resilience, patience, and accumulation of achievements and points,” Nasrallah continued. “Time is not in favor of the enemy and all the factors, including the captives file, will pressure the enemy. We must continue the pressure and those bearing the most burden are the people of Gaza.”
WORST TIME FOR MAJOR HEZBOLLAH ATTACK
DM Gallant responded: “I am saying here to the citizens of Lebanon, I already see the citizens in Gaza walking with white flags along the coast and moving south. Hezbollah is dragging Lebanon into a war that may happen, and it is making mistakes. If it makes mistakes of this kind here, the ones who will pay the price are first of all the citizens of Lebanon. What we do in Gaza, we know how to also do in Beirut.
“Our pilots are sitting in the cockpit, and the noses of their planes are pointing north. We have enough resources to do everything we need to do in the south, but the Air Force is pointing north and its power is very great. We didn’t use even ten percent of the strength of our Air Force in Gaza.”
If Hezbollah decides to launch a full-scale war against Israel, this may be its worst possible opportunity. The majority of Israeli civilians have been evacuated from the border area, and a huge contingency of infantry and armored corps units are laid out along the Lebanese border. Some have described Israel’s north today as an enormous military base stretched from the Mediterranean to the Golan Heights.
How did President Joe Biden put it? Don’t.