Hizbullah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Tuesday warned Israel against stealing Lebanon’s maritime resources, vowing that his party will retaliate against any attack on Lebanon’s future oil and gas installations.
“I confidently say to all the countries, governments and companies that will submit tenders in order to start oil excavation that Lebanon is capable of protecting these companies and oil and gas installations,” Nasrallah said in a televised speech on the fifth anniversary of the July 2006 war.
“We warn the Israelis against carrying out any act that may lead to stealing Lebanon’s resources out of its territorial waters,” he said in a speech transmitted via video link to thousands of supporters massed in Hizbullah's stronghold in Beirut's southern suburbs.
Nasrallah also called on the Lebanese to support their government in “this major national challenge,” noting that oil and gas excavation “would benefit all the Lebanese.”
“I tell the friends and the foes that Lebanon will rely on all the elements of strength in order to regain its natural resources, and the most important element is the army-people-Resistance formula,” Hizbullah number one added.
Addressing the issue of the July War, Nasrallah thanked “all of those who stood by Lebanon and helped it achieve victory.”
“Among the most important factors that contributed to this victory were determination, confidence, hope, faith and people’s steadfastness … The steadfastness of the resistance fighters was the most important factor and it resembled a real miracle: how could thousands of mujahidin fight night and day all through 33 days in all villages in the face of battalions and tanks, as the sky rained down fire on them.”
Nasrallah said Israel had started the war in an “arrogant and overconfident manner, but in the face of the steadfastness of Lebanon and the resistance fighters its confidence quickly turned into confusion, weakness, uncertainty and a crisis of confidence among the Israeli leaders, government and people.”
“This war, as the Israelis themselves admit, has left dangerous repercussions on the (Israeli) entity and its political present and future,” he noted.
Nasrallah said Israel has been staging military drills in a bid to “find a military solution to the problem of the falling rockets, which this time will fall beyond Haifa, and far beyond Haifa.”
Hizbullah’s leader stressed that “the quiet along the border was imposed by the Resistance through the balance of deterrence and the balance of terror.”
“The Resistance had imposed the calm as its objective is not war, but rather to defend its land and the dignity of its people,” Nasrallah noted.
He went on to say that, since the end of the war, “major efforts have been exerted to question the Resistance and distort its image, and millions of dollars were spent for that purpose.”
“The Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s accusations against Hizbullah members and the fabricated media reports about the party are part of these efforts,” Nasrallah charged.
Addressing Hizbullah’s supporters, Nasrallah said: “Our faith in God and in our determination cannot be shaken and I reassure you that today the Resistance is stronger than ever in terms of its consolidation, cadres and capabilities.”
Lebanon's Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour has said the maritime border as proposed by Israel posed a threat to regional security.
The proposed frontier cuts through Lebanon's economic zone, Mansour has said, noting that Lebanon would "turn to the United Nations."
The feud over offshore gas fields has deepened since Israel's cabinet on July 12 approved a map of the country's proposed maritime borders with Lebanon to be submitted for a U.N. opinion.
The proposed map lays out maritime borders that conflict significantly with those suggested by Lebanon in its own submission to the United Nations.
Energy and Water Minister Jebran Bassil has said Lebanon will not give up its maritime rights, and accused Israel of "violations of (Lebanese) waters, territory and airspace, and today our oil rights."
Israel has for months been moving to develop several large offshore natural gas fields, some which are shared with Cyprus, that it hopes could help it to become an energy exporter.
But its development plans have stirred controversy with Lebanon, which argues the gas fields lie inside its territorial waters.
Israel does not have officially demarcated maritime borders with Lebanon, and the two countries remain technically at war.
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