In an extensive interview with Masseer Especial Journal, which belongs to Khamenei.ir, Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah said that “all the nations of the region oppose the existence of Israel and firmly reject this illegitimate entity [against their rulers’ will].”
“The elements of weakness are ample in the Israeli entity, so the likelihood of the collapse of this regime is very high,” he added.
Here are the first and second parts of the interview:
I would like to start the interview by asking you how the situation in the region was, at the time when the Islamic Revolution became victorious. How was the situation in the West Asian region? Particularly given that one of the important dimensions of the Islamic Revolution is its regional and international implications, what changes occurred in the regional equations following the Islamic Revolution and what events have we witnessed? With the Islamic Revolution gaining victory, what took place in the region in general and in Lebanon in particular?
In the name of God the Beneficent, the Merciful. First, I would like to welcome you. If we go back to the past and observe the developments, we will find that, very shortly before the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, a very significant incident took place in the region, namely the withdrawal of the Arab Republic of Egypt from the Arab-Israeli conflict and the signing of the Camp David Treaty. This event—due to the important and effective role of Egypt in the aforementioned conflict—had a very dangerous impact on the region as well as on the Arab-Israeli confrontation over the issue of Palestine and the future of Palestine.
After that incident, in the first place, it seemed that the confrontation was going on largely in favor of Israel. This was mainly because other Arab countries and Palestinian resistance groups were not able to confront major powers without the help of Egypt at that time. So, firstly, the occurrence of such an incident led to the emergence of a deep division among Arab countries.
Secondly, you remember that at the time, there was a US-led Western bloc opposing the USSR. Therefore, there existed a split in our region: the gap between the countries associated with the Soviet Union—that is, the Eastern bloc—and the countries depending on the United States, the Western bloc. Accordingly, we could see a deep divide among the Arab countries in the region, and this gap had devastating consequences for the nations and of course, also had an impact on the Arab-Israeli conflict. At the time, the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States essentially affected our region and its developments.
In the case of Lebanon, it should be said that Lebanon is also part of this region, and thus, it has been severely affected by its developments, including Israeli actions, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the divisions in the region. At that time, Lebanon faced domestic problems as well, and was suffering from the civil war. The Israeli enemy-occupied parts of southern Lebanon in 1978, that is one year before the Islamic Revolution, and then created a security zone called the “border strip” on the Lebanese-Palestinian borders. The Israeli enemy, through this security zone, continued its daily aggression against Lebanon, its cities, villages and people. Indeed, we faced a very serious problem: the Israeli occupation in parts of southern Lebanon and its daily aggressions. Israeli warplanes and their artillery bombed southern Lebanon; abduction operations and multiple explosions by the Zionist regime continued in its worst form, and people were displaced following these brutal acts. These events also took place between 1977 and 1979; that is, not long before the victory of the Islamic Revolution.
Did they use the Palestinian presence in Lebanon as the pretext?
Yes; the Israelis objected the existence of Palestinian resistance and operations carried out by Palestinians. However, this was just an excuse because Israeli’s runs of aggressions in southern Lebanon began in 1948, when Palestinian resistance was not present in southern Lebanon. Palestinian resistance set base in southern Lebanon in the late 60s and early 1970s, especially after the events in Jordan and the arrival of Palestinian groups from Jordan in Lebanon.
It was in those circumstances that the Islamic Revolution of Iran gained victory. This victory came at a time when an atmosphere of despair was dominant in the Arab and Muslim world and concern for the future was widespread. Egypt’s withdrawal from the Arab-Israeli conflict and the signature of the Camp David Treaty, the imposition of a humiliating political process on the Palestinians and Arabs, as well as the weakness of the rulers of the Arab countries all provoked the despair, grief, hopelessness, disappointment, and worry for the future at that time. Therefore, the victory of the Islamic Revolution of Iran in such an environment, revived the lost hopes in the region and among the nations to begin with, particularly the Palestinian and Lebanese people.
This victory (the victory of the Islamic Revolution) also brought about the resurgence of the hopes of a nation that had been cornered by the existence of Israel. Because the position of Imam Khomeini (Q.S. – May his spirit be blessed) regarding the Zionist project, the necessity of the liberation of Palestine, and standing shoulder to shoulder with Palestinian resistance groups was clear from the beginning. Imam Khomeini (r.a) believed in supporting the people of Palestine, liberating every inch of the land, and obliteration of the Israeli entity as a usurping regime in the region. Therefore, the victory of the Islamic Revolution of Iran created a growing hope for the future and increased a hundred fold the moral and motivation of the supporters of the resistance as well as the resistance groups in the region.
The victory of the Islamic Revolution also created a balance of power in the region. Egypt fled the fight against Israel and the Islamic Republic of Iran entered. Therefore, the balance of power in the Arab-Israeli conflict was restored, and for this reason, the resistance project in the region entered a new historical phase. This was the starting point for the Islamic movement and jihad in the Arab and Muslim world and among Shi’as and Sunnis alike.
Imam Khomeini (Q.S.) introduced several mottos regarding various subjects such as the question of Palestine, Islamic unity, Resistance, facing and confronting the United States of America, stability and sustainability, trust and confidence of nations in God and in themselves, revival of faith in one’s own power when confronting the arrogant powers and towards the realization of victory. Undoubtedly, these mottos had a very positive and direct impact on the situation in the region at that time.
In addition to the general atmosphere created by the Islamic Revolution and the new spirit that Imam [Khomeini (r.a)] inspired in the hearts of the people of the region, resurrecting the resistance, what memory do you specifically have of Imam Khomeini and his stances regarding the resistance in Lebanon and by Hezbollah?
Yes, in the year 1982. If we want to talk about it, we should consider the liberation of Khorramshahr in Iran. The Israelis were deeply concerned about the war between Iran and Iraq, or Saddam’s imposed war against Iran. For this reason, after the liberation of Khorramshahr, the Israelis decided to attack Lebanon. Of course, this action had its own root causes, and there was a profound connection between the victories in the Iranian front and the Israeli aggression against Lebanon. This was how the Israelis entered Lebanon, Beqaa region, Mount Lebanon Governorate, and Beirut suburbs. At that time, a group of scholars, brothers and fighters had decided to form the Islamic Resistance and establish the Islamic-Jihadi foundation of [the movement of] Resistance, corresponding to the aftermath of Israeli invasion.
By then, Israel had not penetrated in all of Lebanon and had only reached about half of Lebanon—that is 40% of Lebanon’s total area. 100,000 Israeli soldiers entered Lebanon. They brought with them American, French, English and Italian multinational forces on the pretext of maintaining peace. Meanwhile, there were militias in Lebanon who were involved with and collaborated with the Israelis. By pointing to these facts, I mean to picture how very, very bad the situation was at that time.
Subsequently, a group of scholars (ulema), believers, and Mujahid brothers decided to launch a new movement for Jihad in the name of Islamic Resistance, which shortly afterwards was renamed “Hezbollah.” The formation of this front coincided with the decision of Imam Khomeini (Q.S.) to send Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) forces to Syria and Lebanon to oppose and confront Israeli aggression. Initially, the intention was for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps troops to fight alongside Syrian forces as well as Lebanese and Palestinian resistance groups. But after some time the scope of Israeli attacks became limited, so this was no longer a classic battlefield, and the need for resistance operations by popular groups was felt more than ever.
It was at that time that Imam Khomeini (QS) replaced the mission of direct confrontation by the IRGC and Iranian forces, who had come to Syria and Lebanon, by offering help and providing military training to Lebanese youth, so that they—i.e. the Lebanese youth themselves—would be able to deal with the occupiers and carry out resistance operations. This is the first [of Imam Khomeini’s positions].
Therefore, the mission of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps forces in Syria, as well as the Lebanese Beqaa region—in Baalbek, Hermel and Janta, that is, where there were training bases—was changed to providing military training to the Lebanese youth. They taught the Lebanese youths the methods of warfare and provided them with logistic support. The mere presence of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Lebanon at that time gave the Lebanese youth and Resistance groups a purpose and a high spirit to stand up to Israel.
As I said earlier, it was decided that a large group would be formed and nine representatives were selected on behalf of the pro-resistance brothers, including the martyr Sayyid Abbas al Moussawi (r.a), to pursue this important issue. Naturally, I was not among these nine people, because at that time I was young, about 22 or 23 years old. These 9 people travelled to Iran and met with the officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran. They also had a meeting with Imam Khomeini (QS). During their meeting with Imam Khomeini (r.a), while offering him a report on the latest developments in Lebanon and the region, they presented their proposal for the formation of an Islamic resistance front. They said to Imam Khomeini (r.a): “We believe in your guidance, your authority (wilayah) and your leadership. Tell us what we need to do.”
In return, Imam Khomeini (r.a) insisted that their duty was to resist and stand against the enemy in full force, even if you have limited means and are in smaller numbers. This is while Hezbollah had a smaller number of members then. He said: “Start from scratch: trust in the Almighty God, and do not wait for anyone in the world to help you. Rely on yourself and know that God helps you. I see you victorious.” It was an amazing thing. Imam Khomeini (r.a) regarded this path as auspicious, and thus, the meeting during which our brothers met with him, laid the foundation stone for the formation of the Islamic resistance front, under the auspicious title of ‘Hezbollah’, in Lebanon.
At that time, our brothers told Imam: “We believe in your guidance, authority and leadership, but in any case, you are very busy, and you are at an old age, and we cannot allow ourselves to continuously disturb you about different issues and problems. For this reason, we are asking you to name a representative to whom we can refer on various issues.” Then he introduced Imam Khamenei (May God continue his oversight), who was the president at the time, and said: “Mr. Khamenei is my representative.” Consequently, the relationship between Hezbollah and Ayatollah Khamenei (May God protect him) began from the very early hours of the establishment and foundation of this group; we were always in contact with him in different times, we met with him frequently and gave him reports on the latest developments and he always praised the resistance.
I remember the issue of several Hezbollah martyrdom-seeking members. You know that the first experience of a martyrdom-seeking operation took place in Lebanon, and was conducted by our brothers. The brothers sent a video file—before publicizing it in the media—containing oral testaments of those fighters seeking martyrdom, who had carried out a major martyrdom operation in Lebanon, and had shaken the invaders to their core. This video was played for Imam Khomeini, and he watched it and discussed it. The testaments were very beautiful and full of enthusiasm, mysticism and love. After watching the testaments, Imam Khomeini (r.a) said: “These are young [chivalrous] people. All of them were young.” He then said: “These are the true mystics.” The fact is that the Imam was strongly affected by the testaments.
Imam Khomeini’s collaboration, support for, and attention to the resistance and Hezbollah of Lebanon continued until the very last day of his auspicious life. I remember about one or two months before the passing of Imam Khomeini (r.a), when he was ill and rarely met with domestic officials and even less with foreign officials, I went to Iran as a member and an executive official of the Hezbollah council and met with Ayatollah Khamenei, late Ayatollah Rafsanjani and other Iranian officials, and asked if I could have a meeting with Imam Khomeini. I was told that he is ill and does not meet with anyone. I asked them to try and they agreed to do their best. Then I went to the office of Imam Khomeini (r.a) and put in a request for an appointment. At the time, one of our friends among Imam Khomeini’s household, Sheikh Rahimian (May God protect him)—who paid particular attention to the Lebanese—shared the matter with the late Sayed Ahmad Khomeini (r.a), and I was informed on the second day to get ready for a meeting. Naturally, we were all surprised. I went to meet Imam Khomeini (r.a) and nobody else was there, not even Sayed Ahmad; not even any of the Foreign Ministry’s officials or IRGC staff, who would usually attend the meetings, were there. Sheikh Rahimian accompanied me to Imam’s room but then went and left me alone with Imam. I was overwhelmed and awed by his presence.
Imam Khomeini was sitting on a high chair and I sat down on the floor. Awestruck by his grandeur, I could not say a word. Imam asked me to get closer. I went closer and sat next to him. We spoke and I handed to him a letter I had brought with me. Imam answered the questions I had shared with him regarding the developments of that time in Lebanon, then smiled and said: “Tell all our brothers not to worry. My brothers and I in the Islamic Republic of Iran are all with you. We will always be with you “. This was my last meeting with Imam Khomeini (r.a).
I wish we had time to hear more extensively from you about that time. Thanks again for the opportunity you gave us. You said that, Hezbollah was formed and began its activities during a very difficult time. You correctly mentioned that Iran itself was dealing with an invasion of its borders. In Lebanon, the Zionist regime periodically attacked the people and committed murder and plunder, and in any case, Hezbollah began its work in such a difficult situation. You also said that Imam Khomeini referred you to Ayatollah Khamenei to be in touch with him. I would like to ask you to point out some of the important pieces of advice that Ayatollah Khamenei (May God continue his oversight) gave you after the passing of Imam Khomeini, and let us know the measures that he guided you to take during his presidency. What we mean to make clear, when we reach the time of Imam Khamenei’s leadership, is the history of why Hezbollah was very pleased and reassured with his election as the leader of the Islamic Republic. What has happened that made you feel that way?
From the very first moment of our relationship with Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei, I call him, in my own words, Mr. Leader (السید القائد). So let me use the same word, the Leader, to refer to him. My brothers had a Hezbollah Council within Hezbollah, with 7-10 members—changing at each stage. The members of this council always met with the Leader during his presidency. What I wish to say about that time, almost 7 years of Ayatollah Khamenei’s presidency before the passing of Imam Khomeini…
Was there a specific person to go between Hezbollah and Ayatollah Khamenei?
I get back to this point. The fact is that the Leader particularly valued Lebanese groups and provided them with sufficient time. I remember meetings that sometimes lasted for 2, 3 or even 4 hours. He listened carefully to what we had to say. Our friends and brothers also described the issues for him in details. As you know, at the time, they were not all on the same wavelength, and our brothers had different views. The Leader listened to all the comments, views, and opinions. Naturally, there was no Arabic language problem either, because he was fluent in Arabic and spoke it well. He spoke Arabic beautifully.
Nonetheless, he preferred to be accompanied by an Arabic translator; He usually spoke in Persian, but had no need for translation when the Lebanese spoke in Arabic. His full mastery of Arabic language contributed greatly to his deep understanding of the problems and the views of our Lebanese brothers. The important point is that, despite having full authority from Imam Khomeini, the Leader tried to play the role of a guide, and helped us make the decisions ourselves. I always remember that in every meeting, at that time and after being appointed as the Leader, whenever he wanted to comment, he would indicate ‘my suggestion is’. For example, he had reached a conclusion, but he would ask us to “sit down, consult with each other, and make the correct decision.
Indeed, the Leader at that critical stage managed to play an important role guiding the group in cultivating Hezbollah leaders and commanders intellectually, scientifically, and mentally, so that our brothers could make decisions confidently and by relying on their own capabilities even during the most difficult situations. He would make comments but he would refer to a Persian proverb that said: the expediency of a country is recognized by its owners. His Eminence would say: you are from Lebanon and thus have a better command of your affairs. We can only make a few comments and you can apply them, but it is you who will make the final decision. Do not wait for anyone to make decisions on your behalf. Therefore, the role of the Leader in the training, growth and swift development of Hezbollah was very significant.
In the first years, our brothers went to Iran two or three times a year—that is, they would travel to Iran about every 6 months—to learn about the Iranian officials’ viewpoints regarding the developments in the region, as at that time, developments in the region were taking place very rapidly. Naturally, at that time there was also the war; the 8-year imposed war against Iran and its implications for the region. Therefore, our brothers constantly needed to exchange information, consult with and get support from Iran. At that time, if our brothers were faced with an immediate and urgent problem, they would send me to Iran. Because I was younger than the others, and there was no systematic protection, or anything similar in place for me. I was alone, carrying a bag with me. This means that my trips to Iran, since I was not well known, were not complicated and there was no security threat around me.
On the other hand, I was acquainted with Persian language more than my other brothers in Hezbollah, and for this reason, they preferred me to travel to Iran. From the very beginning, there was compassion and affection between me and my Iranian brothers. My brothers in Hezbollah would tell me: you like Iranians and the Iranians like you too. So you should travel to Iran. On behalf of my brothers in Lebanon, I met with the Leader for one to two hours. Even when all issues had been discussed and I was prepared to leave, he would say: “Why are you in a hurry? Stay, and if there’s anything left, let’s discuss it”. That stage was very important for Hezbollah, because Hezbollah had focused on fundamental issues, fundamental approaches and fundamental goals. They made a collection of varying opinions, but we eventually managed to compile a single united book. Now I can say that we have a unified viewpoint in Hezbollah. Different perspectives have been unified and consolidated due to the events and experiences that we have gone through, and thanks to the guidance, advice, and leadership of Imam Khomeini (r.a) while he was alive and of the Leader after the passing of Imam Khomeini.
Anyways, our time is very limited. Putting that period a side, now let’s talk about 1989, when Imam Khomeini passed away to the mercy of Allah, and our people and every devotee of the Islamic Revolution were mourning. Those moments were naturally critical moments for both our country and the devotees of the Islamic Revolution. Please explain briefly what the state of your affairs was, at the time when Ayatollah Khamenei was chosen as the successor to Imam Khomeini? Also tell us more about the events that you encountered at that time, after Imam Khomeini’s passing away, in the regional and international arena.
We had a very critical period at that time, because that era coincided with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the beginning of American unilateralism and the end of the Cold War. At the same time, we saw that the Zionist regime started talking about peace negotiations, and on the other hand, the Islamic Revolution was in a particular situation. Obviously, the Americans had plans for the post-Imam Khomeini (r.a) era. We would like you to talk about those circumstances and describe them to us, and about how the Leader responded to the important developments that took place at regional and international levels?
As you know, during the lifetime of Imam Khomeini, members of Hezbollah of Lebanon and the supporters of the resistance, had close ties with him, both intellectually and culturally. However, Hezbollah members were also emotionally and passionately dependent on Imam Khomeini. Like many Iranians who fought against Saddam’s war on Iran, they really loved Imam Khomeini (r.a). Members of Hezbollah of Lebanon regarded him as an Imam, a leader, a guide, a Marja’, and a father. I have never seen the Lebanese love anyone so much. Consequently, the demise of Imam Khomeini on that day brought about a mountain of sadness and grief to the Lebanese; a feeling definitely not less intense than the sadness and grief of the Iranians. This was the emotional connection between the Lebanese and Imam Khomeini (r.a).
But on the other hand, there was a major concern at that time, and it was that the Western media were constantly talking about the post-Imam Khomeini era (r.a), claiming that the main problem was this man and that Iran would collapse after him and a civil war would break out; that there would be no substitute for the leadership of the country. In this regard, a very intense psychological warfare had started in those years, in the last year of the glorious life of Imam Khomeini (r.a), [particularly in the light of other incidents including the dismissal of Late Ayatollah Montazeri and other issues]. For this reason, there were concerns. At that time, we were being told that your source of support—i.e. the Islamic Republic of Iran, upon which you rely and in which have faith—will start a downfall and collapse after the passing of Imam Khomeini. That was for the second issue.
The third issue, regardless of the psychological warfare, was our lack of information about the situation after the passing of Imam Khomeini (r.a). We did not know what was going to happen after him, and what turn the events were going to take; so we were worried. We were following up on the events after the death of Imam Khomeini (r.a) on television, and when we saw national security and the calm in Iran as well as the glorious presence of the Iranian people at his funeral, we regained some confidence and peace of mind.
We were reassured that Iran would not go towards a civil war, nor would it collapse, and eventually the Iranians would choose a suitable leader in a reasonable and sincere atmosphere. We, like all Iranians, were waiting for the decision of the Assembly of Experts on this matter. The fact is that the election of Ayatollah Khamenei as the Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran by the Assembly of Experts was unpredictable for the Lebanese. Because we did not know Iranian figures properly and we did not know if there was a better, more knowledgably and more competent person to replace the Leadership. We only knew the Iranian officials that we were in touch with. Electing Ayatollah Khamenei for this responsibility, surprisingly and unusually, made us feel happy, fortunate and confident.
In any case, we passed through this stage. We started our relationship and this relationship continued. After a short time, we traveled to Iran and offered our condolences for the passing away of Imam Khomeini (r.a) and we met with the Leader. He was still at the Presidential office and received people there. We pledged allegiance to him in person and directly. Our brothers told him: “During the lifetime of Imam Khomeini (r.a) you were his representative in the affairs of Lebanon, Palestine and the region as well as the President of Iran, so you had time [for us]. But now you are the leader of the Islamic Republic and all Muslims, and therefore, perhaps you do not have enough time as before. So, we would like to ask you to appoint a representative, so that we do not disturb you continuously.” At this moment, the Leader smiled and said: “I am still young and I have time, God willing. I pay special attention to the issues of the region and the resistance and therefore we will remain in direct contact with each other. “
Since then, unlike Imam Khomeini (r.a), he has not appointed any representative to refer to about our issues. Naturally, we did not want to bother much, and did not require much of his time. Especially because in the first years, the early years of the establishment of the movement, he was involved in everything. The principles, goals, foundations, criteria, and guidelines that we had, provided a solution to every issue. All of this was a divine blessing; the blessing of guidance was quite clear and we did not need to constantly refer to him. So, we continued to do the same as the Leader had told. This should answer that part of your question about our relationship with Ayatollah Khamenei after his election as the Leader and the authority for Muslims [wali amr al muslimin] after the passing of Imam Khomeini (r.a).
But regarding the events that happened, it should be noted that the events after the passing of Imam Khomeini (r.a) were, naturally, very critical and dangerous. At that time, the important issue for us was to continue the path of resistance in Lebanon, an issue that the Leader had emphasized from the outset. The Leader provided the officials of the Islamic Republic with many recommendations and words of advice, to attend to the Resistance in Lebanon and the region, saying that, just as during the lifetime of Imam Khomeini (r.a), when we followed this path with the thoughts, methods, principles and culture of Imam Khomeini (r.a) on our agenda; today I persist on this path and insist on the need for it to continue.
Therefore, as a blessing from the Almighty God, there was no change in the position of the Islamic Republic in its support for the resistance in the region, especially in Lebanon, not even in the face of changes within ministries and official entities in Iran as well as some differences in their political policies. Therefore, not only such a change did not happened, rather things went on in a better way; because these stances were strengthened after each president’s and each official’s term and this happened as a result of direct attention by the Leader to Hezbollah of Lebanon and the resistance in the region.
Now we can enter the discussion on the events that took place. Where would you like me to start from? I am ready. I mean, we can now address the political events; because we have already elaborated on our relationship with the Leader and how we kept working with him after the passing of Imam Khomeini (r.a.).
The most important issue for us at that time, i.e. during the leadership of Ayatollah Khamenei, was the issue of domestic problems of Lebanon. At that stage, as you know well, there were some problems between Hezbollah and the Amal movement, and the Leader paid special attention to this matter. Hence, the most important thing that happened to us during the early years of Ayatollah Khamenei’s leadership was the resolution of discords between Hezbollah and the Amal Movement. This blessed resolution, was brought about as a result of special guidance and advice by the Leader, as well as contacts between the authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the leaders of Hezbollah and the Amal Movement, including the current chairman of the Lebanese parliament Mr. Nabih Berri and Syrian officials. Subsequently, Resistance groups in Lebanon got united and this was accomplished thanks to the Leader and his strong emphasis [on unity].
The Leader opposed any issue, any conflict or dispute among Lebanese groups and constantly stressed the need for extensive relations between them as well as achieving peace by any means necessary among them. These efforts took years to bear fruit. That is to say, it took 2 or 3 years for us to pass through that stage. The foundation of the close relations between Hezbollah and Amal that we see today were laid by the guidelines of the Leader, and today the relationship between Hezbollah and Amal is not strategic, but beyond strategic. Through the resolving of the problems between Hezbollah and the Amal Movement and the cooperation between the two, we were able to continue the resistance and attend to defending Lebanon and the south of Lebanon. The achievement and the great victory of 2000 against the Zionist regime were realized as a result of this unity. In 2006 and during the 33-day war of the Zionist regime on southern Lebanon, this unity helped us again, and we were able to resist during the “Tammūz War” and impose a defeat on the enemy. Today, political victories in Lebanon and the region continue to be achieved. One of the fundamental factors of Hezbollah’s political, national, and military power is this coherence, unity and friendly relations.
I recall that at that time, after the martyrdom of Sayyid Abbas al-Musawi (r.a), our brothers chose me as the secretary-general. Later, we met with the Leader. He brought up some issues, saying: “If you want to make the heart of Imam Mahdi (May Almighty Allah Speed His Reappearance) and also the hearts of all the believers happy, you have to work hard to preserve the calm in your country. You have work with each other, especially Hezbollah, Amal, Allama [scholar] Fadlallah and Sheikh Shams al-Din.” At that time, Sheikh Fadlallah and Sheikh Shams al-Din were both alive and the Leader strongly stressed reinforcing internal unity in Lebanon. His emphasis was on maintaining unity among the Shi’as, as well as between Shi’as and Sunnis and other Muslims. He also emphasized on the necessity of unity among Muslims and Christians and would insist on it during internal meetings; that is [he promoted] an open door policy for all Lebanese. This was the second issue. The primary issue was the relationship between Hezbollah, Amal and the domestic situation of the Shias. Another important issue that he emphasized was the open door strategy of Hezbollah towards other Lebanese political groups, despite religious, political, and ideological differences. The realization of this important project was also on account of his wise leadership.
There was an emphasis on continuing the resistance, confronting belligerence and determination to liberate southern Lebanon. That’s why the Leader also focused on the issue of resistance and its progress. He always insisted that resistance should progress, grow, and ultimately take back occupied lands. Hence, he always diligently encouraged the Resistance to persist on the path it had taken. You know that at that time there was a problem that some resistance groups, other than Hezbollah, had got entangled with internal political affairs, and thus, they had been gradually distracted from the mission of resistance. This would make the resistance limited to Hezbollah and the Amal Movement—chiefly Hezbollah. Even inside Hezbollah, there were some of our brothers who were inclined to get involved with domestic politics. But the Leader always emphasized the need to give priority to the mission of resistance and Jihadi tasks.
Second part of the Interview :
In the second part of the interview, Nasrallah elaborates on Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei’s prediction regarding the Oslo Accord as well as Netanyahu’s error concerning the accord:
One of the important events that took place in the region at that time was the formation of a process of reconciliation through Arab-Israeli negotiations, which is referred to as the “peace process”. This trend was shaped after Arab-Israeli negotiations. Recall that in 1993 an agreement was reached between Mr. Yasser Arafat and the Israelis, represented by Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres; an agreement that was finalized under the auspices of the United States. This agreement was eventually named the “Oslo Accords”. This was naturally a very dangerous issue, and had a negative impact on the Arab-Israeli conflict. The danger was that, according to the agreement, the PLO recognized Israel and thus effectively a Palestinian group—not an Egyptian one like Anwar Sadat—abandoned the lands of 1948, the lands occupied by the Zionist regime during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. Also, in that agreement it was mentioned that the topic of the negotiations would be East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and the issue of other parts of Palestine is already done. This was a major fault.
On the other hand, the agreement opened the way for many other Arab countries to begin negotiations and reach an agreement with Israel, eventually normalizing relations with Tel Aviv. This was a very dangerous issue. At that time, the Leader, and the Palestinian resistance groups including Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine opposed the Oslo Accords. The Commander in Chief and some Palestinian groups opposed the deal. So did Hezbollah and the Lebanese groups. We rallied against this agreement, but were shot, and we had martyrs for the cause in Beirut’s Southern Dahieh.
In any case, it was a turning point and a very dangerous period. We pondered over what reaction to adopt against the Oslo accord. Should we deal with it politically and through the media, and call on the Palestinians to resist and insist on their rights? The emergence of this issue (the Oslo Accords and the ensuing phase) led to the expansion and consolidation of relations between Hezbollah and Palestinian groups, including Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, and also strengthened the path of resistance in the occupied territories of Palestine. Remember that at that time, a major martyrdom-seeking operation was carried out by Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants in the heart of Tel Aviv and Quds, and shook the Zionist authorities to their core. It was after that operation, that an extraordinary meeting took place in the Egyptian city of Sharm El Sheikh with Clinton and Yeltsin, the then Russian president in attendance. Many countries in the world also attended this meeting. Meanwhile, the late Syrian president Hafez al-Assad rejected participating in the meeting.
The fact is that the meeting finally declared war on three groups: first Hezbollah, second Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, and third Islamic Republic of Iran due to its support for resistance in the region. Despite its large sphere, the meeting did not manage to introduce fear in the ranks of Hezbollah and other resistance groups in the region, especially since at that time, the position of the Leader regarding the resistance—that is continuing the Resistance and persisting on the path— was absolutely straightforward and resolute. Therefore the Oslo accord brought about a series of events; events that were very crucial and hazardous for this procedure.
We also had the Madrid conference
The Madrid conference was before the Oslo Accord. It was then that the talks started. The important point here is that the Leader has a deep insight and exact understanding of the future. I believe that his accurate perception of the future is part of his unique abilities, derived from his deep faith in, submission to, and relationship with the Almighty God, rather than having an only rational aspect.
At that time, certain talks started called the Israeli-Syrian negotiations. The Syrian President of the time was Hafez al-Assad and the Israeli Prime Minister was Yitzhak Rabin. The talks between them were initially secret and later made public. They would meet in the United States and under Clinton’s supervision. Representatives of President Assad and Rabin’s cabinet met with each other in the United States, and they were about to come to an agreement. At that time, it was said that Yitzhak Rabin had agreed to return the occupied Golan to Hafez al-Assad.
Accordingly, there was an assumption in the region that Israel and Syria were coming to an agreement. This atmosphere existed in Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and the entire region. I remember that at that time some would ask us “if an Israeli-Syrian agreement is reached, what will you—that is Hezbollah—do? If Syria and Israel come to an agreement, what stance will Hezbollah take? If such an agreement is made, what will be the fate of Hezbollah and the Islamic Resistance groups?” We organized several meetings to discuss the matter, and plan for the future. We thought then that an agreement was already made between Assad and Rabin. It was not only Hezbollah but all Lebanese, Syrians and Palestinians assumed that the agreement had been finalized. We organized internal meetings to discuss the future. We talked about political, military, artillery issues and even the name of the group. Some raised the question whether or not to keep the name “Hezbollah”? Or if we should adopt a new name to fit the new phase? Some of our brothers were on the U.S.’s black list and there was this debate whether to keep them in Lebanon or make it for them to leave Lebanon? For example, Martyr Hajj Imad Mughniyah was on that list. So we compiled a collection of various suggestions.
Did Hezbollah not have a communication channel with Hafez al-Assad to be informed of his decision?
The point is that all the available data and information assured us that the Israeli-Syrian negotiations would result in an agreement. At that time, Hafez al-Assad’s main demand was to take back the Golan, and that would withdraw from the June 4, 1967 borders; and Rabin had agreed to meet those demands. Eventually we went to see the Leader. He was very patient with us, because during this visit, we mentioned all the issues raised and the suggestions offered by different people. He listened to all of our words in that meeting which was held with some Iranian officials in attendance, and while all Iranian officials—and all officials unanimously and with no exception—believed that the Syrian-Israeli talks were over, His Eminence said: “It is good that you consider the worst-case scenarios and probabilities and plan to face them; but I tell you this will not happen, and there will be no peace treaty between Syria and Israel, so discard whatever you have written and prepared. You should continue to resist, and double your efforts to increase your weapons, facilities and human resources. Do not worry; because there will be no peace treaty between Syria and Israel.” All those present in the meeting, including the Iranians and the Lebanese, were astonished by the firm remarks of Ayatollah Khamenei. His Eminence did not say that, “I consider it unlikely” or that, “there might be other possibilities”. Not at all. He resolutely declared this will not happen. He said strongly and firmly: “Forget it and put it away; continue to do what you were doing in a better and stronger way than before.”
Anyway, we were surprised. We returned to Lebanon, and we continued to work based on the Leader’s point of view. Only two weeks after our visit to the Leader, a big ceremony with more than 100,000 people was held in Tel Aviv, wherein Yitzhak Rabin was giving a speech, when someone from among extremist Jews opened fire at and murdered Rabin. After Rabin, Shimon Peres was elected prime minister of the Zionist Regime. He had a weak personality, because he was not perceived by Israelis, in terms of historical and military background as well as trustworthiness, as competent as Rabin.
Subsequently, large operations were carried out inside occupied territories, namely Tel Aviv and occupied Quds, which shook the foundations of the Zionist Regime’s power. After that, the Sharm El-Sheikh summit—that I mentioned—was held. Then, in 1996, Israel attacked Lebanon in an operation called Operation Grapes of Wrath and marked the unprecedented genocide in Qana—a tragedy later known as Qana Massacre. In response, we resisted against the Israelis and became victorious. Shortly thereafter, that is in 2 or 3 weeks, elections were held in the Zionist Regime, during which Shimon Peres was defeated and the Likud party replaced the Labor party as the dominant party, and Benjamin Netanyahu became the Prime Minister of Israel. After coming to power, he said “I do not adhere to any of Yitzhak Rabin’s and Shimon Peres’s commitments with regard to Syria and the negotiations with Hafez al-Assad”. Therefore, the Israeli-Syrian negotiations ended. We are talking about the year 1996 and now in 2019, where does the peace process stand? It is in its worst status.
As you pointed out, in that atmosphere, there was a feeling that an impending compromise was going on, and meanwhile, the Palestinian people were being slaughtered. Did other countries contact you to encourage Hezbollah to follow the movement? Did the countries which favored this compromise contact you in this regard? Did they send a message to encourage you to accept to compromise with Israel?
There was no direct contact with Hezbollah. They had no hopes in us; because they knew about our wisdom, willpower, faith and determination. But in general, some Arab countries pressured Lebanon. They pressured the Lebanese government and people to compromise with Israel. They threatened that Israel would destroy Lebanon if they did not accept to compromise, and the Arab world would turn away from Beirut. There were such pressures, but there was no significant contact; because they knew what our stance was and we saw how they have absolutely no hopes in us. This was God’s blessing for us.
Some raise the question why the Islamic Republic of Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon cannot accept any of the projects offered by the US and the Zionist Regime for compromise–from Oslo to the Deal of Century? The question is raised why Iran and Hezbollah do not provide the prerequisites to end these conflicts? Another point about Palestine is that some imply that the Palestinians themselves are interested in some form of compromise. What is your opinion about these questions? On the other hand, we see that some Arab rulers and figures are pretentious in their support for the Palestinian cause and standing for the Palestinian aspirations. What are the indicators for identifying the true representatives of this movement and thinking?
Regarding the first part of the question, I would say all the offered projects for the Palestinian cause violated the rights and the interests of the Palestinians. They say, according to the Oslo Accord, the lands usurped in 1948 are not included in the negotiations. That means two-third of Palestine is to be regarded outside the negotiations. Well, this is a major act of oppression; that is, in its basis and foundation, it is a major form of oppression. Then, they do not even give them the remaining one-third of Palestine. They do not even say that they would give the West Bank to the Palestinians and only negotiate on East Quds. At that time, even as for the Gaza Strip, the Zionists acted passively on the issue of Gaza. Shimon Peres said “I dream of a day when I wake up and I am told that Gaza has gone under water”. This was their territorial viewpoint.
In the case of Quds, in all the offered proposals, the Americans and Israelis never agreed to give back East Quds to the Palestinians. Even during the last negotiations in Camp David between Yasser Arafat and Ehud Barak, the matter of Quds [Jerusalem] was brought up, and the Israelis said: “Of Jerusalem, whatever is on the ground, for you; but what remains underground of Jerusalem is for us”. As for the Palestinians who were expelled from their homes, the Israelis have explicitly stated that they would not allow them to return to their lands. This is while millions of displaced Palestinians were living in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and other countries of the world dispersedly. Would any wise man accept such a thing?
Even if we accept the above-mentioned proposals which are based on the two-state solution, a question is raised: which Palestinian state? A state with no national sovereignty, no borders, no sky or coast, no airport, etc. What kind of a state is this? Thus, the proposals that have been presented on the question of Palestine since long ago—from the Madrid negotiations to the bilateral talks and the Deal of the Century—indicate that the situation has become worse day after day. Let’s talk about the Deal of the Century. Recently, Jared Kushner spoke about the Deal of the Century, and explicitly said that according to this plan, Jerusalem (Quds) is for Israel. He announced that major Zionist settlements in the West Bank would be part of the occupied territories. Therefore, there is basically no discussion of a two-state solution; that is, one that includes a true Palestinian state. Even the Palestinians themselves do not accept such plans.
Accordingly, we gradually come to the conclusion that, firstly, if you see that the Islamic Republic of Iran, Hezbollah of Lebanon and other resistance groups do not agree with the proposals on the Palestinian question, it is because all these proposals are very oppressive to the Palestinian nation as well as to the Islamic Ummah, overall. Secondly, the overwhelming majority of the Palestinian people won’t accept these plans. Today, it is absolutely clear that there is a complete consensus among the various Palestinian groups and parties in response to the Deal of the Century. It is not that some of them accept and others reject the proposal. The Fatah and Hamas as well as other movements, despite their disagreements, have no doubts about rejecting the Deal of the Century, and are on the same page with this regard. The Palestinian nation, both inside and outside the borders of the country, reject the Deal of the Century. Thus, opposition to this plan is not confined to Iran and the resistance groups in the region. Rather, Palestinians themselves oppose the Deal of the Century.
On the other hand, we must have a thorough understanding of the positions of Imam Khomeini (r.a.), the Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Lebanese Hezbollah and the resistance groups against the Zionist regime. The fact is that Israel is not a problem only for the Palestinians; rather, the stabilization of the sovereignty of Israel is a threat not only to the Palestinians, but also to all Arab and Islamic countries. The stabilization of this regime is a big threat to Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, and even the Islamic Republic of Iran. Israel has nuclear weapons and more than 200 nuclear warheads. The regime has always sought to expand its dominance over the whole region. There is another important point that we have learned from Imam Khomeini (r.a.) and also Ayatollah Khamenei, which is the fact that Israel is not a regime independent from the US; rather, it is regarded as a U.S. arm in the region. Who is after warmongering in the region? Who conducts invasion and aggression? Who meddles into other countries’ affairs? Hence, the existence, survival, power and promotion of Israel—either through peaceful or non-peaceful means— is a major security threat for all the countries in the region, from Iran to Pakistan, and even for the countries of Central Asia and Turkey.
Therefore, those resisting Israel today, are in fact defending the Palestinian people and their rights, of which they have been divested, and they are also defending themselves, the sanctities and defending Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq and other countries. Israel will not withdraw from the ‘Nile-to-Euphrates’ goal and this goal has always been presented as a Torah dream Israel has been trying to realize. Israel is a military base in the region that serves the interests of the United States. We all know that the United States wants Iran to return to the pre-revolutionary times, i.e. a monarchy, just like Saudi Arabia, so that whenever it demands oil, Iran would give oil and whenever it demands oil prices be dropped, it gets realized. You saw that Trump personally declared that he took $450 billion from Riyadh. Trump openly announced that receiving this $450 billion was much easier for him than receiving $100 from an illegitimate booth somewhere in New York. He wants Iran to be like Saudi Arabia; in fact he wants all countries in the region to be just like Saudi Arabia. Who is Saudi Arabia relying on? On the monarchists in the region as well as the Israeli entity that possesses nuclear weapons and threatens countries of the region.
Accordingly, the important strategy emphasized by Imam Khomeini (r.a.) was that if we want to have a safe region, live in permanent peace, defend our national sovereignty and integrity of lands, and if we want all countries of the region to enjoy national sovereignty and true freedom, none of them is possible to achieve as long as there is an Israeli entity. They seek to fixate the Israeli entity by means of peace treaties.
Today, who is the vanguard of supporting the aspiration of a Palestinian government and leading it?
Today, there is no question that Ayatollah Khamenei (May God Continue His Oversight) bears the flag of the Palestinian cause. Today, no one doubts that the Islamic Republic of Iran, with its determination, will and power, is the vanguard and the main nucleus and main pivot that steers the Resistance movement.
Israel and its authorities announced in 2000 that they would leave southern Lebanon and tried to pretend it was voluntary. Did they voluntarily leave or were they forced to leave Southern Lebanon?
The Israelis wanted to retreat from southern Lebanon due to the significant financial and human forces’ damage imposed on them by the Resistance. There is no doubt that it was the Resistance and their operations that forced Israel to leave southern Lebanon. In Lebanon, no one has any doubt about it; that is to say, everyone acknowledges it. Had it not been for the Resistance’s daily operations, Israel would have remained in southern Lebanon; there is no doubt about it. Of course, the Israelis, even when they were under the most extreme pressure from the Resistance, tried to gain a concession from the opponents and to impose their prerequisites on Syria and Lebanon. At that time, Lebanon as well as Syria—whose president was Hafez Al-Assad—rejected granting any concession to Israel. This helped the Lebanese government a lot, since Syria had a significant influence on the Lebanese government and helped it to reject Israel’s conditions. Here, I would like to add a point about the talks between Yitzhak Rabin and Hafez Al-Assad: one of the factors contributing to the discontinuation of the Israeli-Syrian negotiations process at that time was the stance Hafez al-Assad’s took; because when the Israelis came to the June 4 borders, Hafez Assad insisted to take back the Lake Tiberia. He said that it belonged to Syria and had to be returned to Syria. This was one of the factors that led to the discontinuation of Syrian-Israeli negotiations after the death of Yitzhak Rabin and under the rule of Shimon Peres.
Now let’s go back to the issue of southern Lebanon. We were saying that the Israelis tried to receive concessions from Syria and Lebanon and impose their prerequisites on them. The Syrian and Lebanese governments also expressed their opposition to this issue. Hezbollah and the Resistance in Lebanon also rejected it. On the other hand, Hezbollah Resistance continued its operations until the Israelis came to the conclusion that their remaining in Lebanon was costly and they could not gain any concessions from Lebanon. So they decided to leave Southern Lebanon without any prerequisites. Also note that at that time, there were domestic pressures in the occupied lands on the part of settlers on the Israeli regime to leave Syria, especially because the families of the Israeli military and the families of the dead were demanding Israel not to stay in Lebanon. More interestingly, they had set July 2000 as the date for leaving Lebanon, but the intensity of the operations of the Resistance forced Tel Aviv to withdraw from Lebanon and thus, with complete humiliation and precipitation, the regime’s military forces left southern Lebanon. This occurred by God’s grace.
I’d like to ask another question and I’m willing to close this discussion here. Ayatollah Khamenei said a few years ago, that Israel won’t survive to see the next 25 years.
Before coming to that, we need to finish the topic of the year 2000 victory. I remember a very important memory of Ayatollah Khamenei. You remember I said that in 1996 his Eminence had said no peace treaty would be achieved between Syria and Israel. In 2000, a few months before Israel’s withdrawal from southern Lebanon, and in accordance with our plans, we traveled to Tehran to meet with Ayatollah Khamenei and the Iranian officials. We—that is the Hezbollah council—traveled to Iran. On that trip, we also were accompanied by the military commanders of the Resistance for the first time. Nearly 50 commanders of the Resistance traveled with us.
At that time, we thought that Israel would not retreat from Lebanon in 2000. We were not sure, but we assumed it was unlikely that Israel would retreat in 2000, because we believed that Israel would not accept to retreat without imposing some prerequisites. We said to the Leader: “It is unlikely that Israel will withdraw from southern Lebanon. It seems that Israel will stay longer in Lebanon and we will need more time and more operations to make Israel withdraw with no preconditions.” Then he asked: “Why do you think this is unlikely?” We responded: “Because this measure would be a major threat to Israel. Israel withdrawing from south Lebanon with no preconditions represents obvious resistance and this will be considered the first obvious victory of Resistance, naturally affecting Palestine and Palestinian nation’s domestic developments; something that would pose a strategic threat to Israel and would signal to Palestinians the message that the main path is that of resistance and not negotiations. A message that told them: negotiations took your lands and sanctities away from you, but resistance liberated Lebanon and south Lebanon.” It was then that the Leader stated: “I recommend you to seriously assume that Israel will leave Lebanon and you will be victorious. You continue your activities and plan for the future based on this assumption. Plan on how to face Israel’s retreat from Lebanon on military, field work, media and political aspects.” We were surprised to hear these words, because we all believed that Ehud Barak—who had just won the election— would not act on his promise of retreat, because his conditions had not been met and particularly that he had not achieved security commitments either. That is to say, neither the Lebanese government, nor the Syrian government and nor Hezbollah of Lebanon had made security commitments to Israel. Thus the question was that, how would it be possible that Israel would retreat? This seemed unwise and illogical.
Even more important than that, following the meeting, in the evening, we went to the Leader’s home with our brothers from the Resistance, including the late Hajj Imad Mughniyah. Our brothers were those from the resistance, fighting on the front lines of the battle and could be martyred at any moment. After entering the Leader’s house, we and our brothers went to a great hall where prayers were performed. At the time, our brothers were wearing military uniforms, with keffiyehs worn around their necks, and looked a lot like the Basijis on the Iranian fronts. We were only supposed to perform congregational prayers with the Leader, and to offer our greetings before ending the ceremony. The Leader performed the prayers and after finishing Isha, he rose to greet his Lebanese brothers.
Then the Leader told his companions to move away. Then he said to me: “I am here to listen to you”. At this moment, one of our brothers came and kissed the Leader’s hand. Some of the brothers began to cry, and some of them were so impressed that could no longer stand on their feet. They slowly came forward. One of the brothers kissed the Leader’s hand, and when the second one bent down to kiss his feet, he did not allow it. He went back and told me: “Tell them to sit down and calm down so we can talk.” A speech was not planned for that ceremony. I asked my brothers to keep calm and I started translating the Leader’s speech for them. Among the issues he addressed—which I believe emerged from his spiritual vision and not simply from political analysis, rather from something deeper— was that he said: “You will be victorious by the grace of God. Your victory is much closer than what some people think. “He pointed to me because we had said that Israel’s withdrawal in such manner was unlikely. Pointing with his left hand, like this, he said: “Each and every one of you will see with your own eyes that you will be victorious.”
After that we returned to Lebanon. At that time, we carried out large operations and, of course, many members of the Resistance were martyred. May 25 came, and Israel’s surprising, unexpected and undignified retreat from southern Lebanon began. Also several were martyred during our progress towards the border. It was here that both predictions of the Leader of the Revolution were realized. First, the victory of the Resistance happened very soon, only a few months after that meeting; and second, all the people who were present at the meeting with the Leader and participated in the frontline operations, lived on to witness the great victory with their own eyes.
The question I wanted to ask before was that Ayatollah Khamenei said a few years ago that Israel would not see 25 years from now. [Meaning, there will be no Zionist Regime in 25 years.] There were interpretations of this sentence. Some people considered it to be definitive, and they started counting the days until it comes true. On the other hand, the front of Arrogance began to scoff at some of the interpretations of the statement. You have stood against the Zionist regime at different times and experienced various battles against this regime. Given your experiences, when you heard this statement from Ayatollah Khamenei, what was your perception and feelings about it?
First, I was not personally surprised by the remarks made by Ayatollah Khamenei, because we had heard similar statements in our private meetings in the previous years, especially in 2000, after the victory over the Zionist regime. We paid a visit to Ayatollah Khamenei a few months after the victory, and he was very delighted of the victory. We spoke about the future. At that time, he said: “If the Palestinian people, the Resistance in Lebanon, and the nations of the region perform their duties appropriately, and we continue this path, then certainly Israel cannot last for a long time in the region.” At that time, he mentioned something less than 25 years.
So when I heard the Leader’s 25 years remark, I concluded that he has given Israel extra time. That’s why I was not surprised. On the other hand, it should be mentioned that the Leader’s statement on Israel is absolutely serious. According to our experiences, some of which I already mentioned, we believe that the Leader is a person endorsed by Allah, the Almighty, and that what His Eminence states sometimes emerge from some other source–as it happened in the 33-day war. It should be noted that all data, investigations and information show that such an event (the elimination of Israel) will occur, but the realization of this matter is not unconditional, and it would happen under certain conditions. Therefore, if we resist and continue on the path we have taken, factual and field conditions indicate that Israel will not be able to remain in the region in the next 25 years.
We have done a lot of research and studies on the Israeli regime; trying to find answers for the following questions: what are the foundations of this regime? What are the hidden factors that have led to the existence of this regime? What are the strengths and weaknesses of this regime? Therefore, this shows that the Resistance has always exploited research as well as the power of logic and thinking based on existing facts.
Although there has been a revolutionary spirit in the fight against Zionism, this does not mean that the fight lacked research and rationality. I do not know the hidden dimensions of the Leader’s words. Based on field studies and real investigations, we can clearly say that Israel cannot survive, because the existence of Israel in the region is not a natural existence; rather, its existence does not match the nature of the region. This entity has been imposed on the region cannot and hence cannot become normalized and turn into a normal issue.
Moreover, even if the Arab monarchs, emirs and rulers want it, all the nations of the region oppose the existence of Israel and firmly reject this illegitimate entity [against their rulers’ will]. The elements of weakness are ample in the Israeli entity, so the likelihood of the collapse of this regime is very high. I refer to two examples of Israel’s apparent weakness: first, Israel’s power is now heavily dependent on the power of the United States. Consequently, if anything happens to the United States of America—like what happened to the USSR, from the collapse of its economy to internal problems and discords and natural disasters or any other incident that might get the U.S. busy dealing with its problems and lead to a reduction of Washington’s influence in the region, you will see that the Israelis will get their stuff and evacuate in the shortest possible time. Therefore, their destruction does not necessarily entail a war.
Israeli regime’s existence in Palestine depends on the U.S.’s spiritual, psychological, military and economic support. If the U.S. gets busy with its own problems, Israel will have no chance to survive and there would be no need for a war with that regime. This is just one example, truly foreseeable.
Everyone knows that the United States allocates an annual amount of $3 billion to Israel. Meanwhile, Israelis enjoy US $10 billion worth of US banking facilities per year. A part of U.S. taxpayers’ money is spent on Israel. Moreover, the most advanced technologies are transferred to Israel; Washington’s support for Israel is completely obvious. One of the most important reasons behind the humiliated stances taken by Arab regimes towards Israel is their fear of the United States, not fear of Israel itself. If a day comes when some Arab regimes and Arab armies free themselves from pressures by the U.S., their stances towards Israel will be different. Even the armies and the regimes themselves [will take a different stance].
Let me make another example: the governments of the world usually build armies for themselves, but it is said that Israel is an army made for the regime. In the world, a country’s army might collapse, but that country will stand. For example, after the U.S. war on Iraq, the Americans dissolved the Iraqi army, but Iraq remained and did not disappear. There are countries in the world that do not have an army or have a weak army; however, Israel is a regime that cannot survive without a strong army; if its army is defeated, or if the truth of the Israeli army—that is its weakness and instability—is disclosed to the settlers and they realize that this army is incapable of supporting them, you will see the Israelis will get their stuff and flee.
My dear brothers! Israel has many lethal weaknesses. That is why I believe that in the shade of a national will power against the survival of this regime, regional and international events will take place in this regard. I am among those who strongly believe in the new generation and God willing, this generation will enter Palestine and perform prayers in Quds, and there will be no Israel.