Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said his terror group was wrapping up fighting in Syria and would turn its attention to fighting Israel, as he raged against the US recognition of Jerusalem Monday.
Nasrallah’s statement came at a massive rally in Beirut attended by tens of thousands of supporters.
“We will never abandon Jerusalem,” Nasrallah told the crowd in an address beamed on massive screens.
Calling for a new intifada, he said the group was almost done fighting extremists elsewhere in the region, and would now “give all its time” to Jerusalem and the Palestinians.
“All Arab peoples must repeat with the Palestinian people: ‘We will be millions of martyrs to sacrifice for Jerusalem’,” Nasrallah said, a pledge echoed in unison by a crowd numbering tens of thousands.
During the rally, Hezbollah supporters chanted “Death to America!” and “Death to Israel!” in protest over the US decision. Protesters marched through the Iran-backed terror group’s south Beirut bastion, carrying banners reading “Jerusalem, Eternal Capital of Palestine” and “Jerusalem is Ours.”
Nasrallah charged that US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem move has left the US and Israel isolated against the rest of the world.
“Trump’s decision on al-Quds will be the beginning of the end of Israel,” he said, using the Arabic name for Jerusalem.
“If you hold on to al-Quds as the everlasting capital of Palestine, neither Trump nor anyone else can do anything other than that,” Nasrallah said. “The whole nation must stand in the face of this American threat.”
Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy group, is committed to Israel’s destruction, as is its patron.
“Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine and will be until Judgment Day,” said Iman Ghadbun, 28, attending the protest with her seven-year-old daughter.
The rally was held under tight Hezbollah security and passed without incident, a day after a violent protest outside the US embassy in Beirut, where security forces fired tear gas and water cannons at rowdy protesters who pelted them with stones. The protesters were hundreds of meters from the embassy.
“When the world stands together Trump has to change his mind, right?” said Hassan Mousa, a 28 year-old photographer with a hipster beard and slicked back hair.
“We’re the children of Hezbollah, of course we’re ready to fight,” he said.
Nasrallah’s call for an intifada, or violent uprising, echoed the Palestinian terror group Hamas, which has called for intensifying violence against Israel in response to the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and has allowed thousands of Gazans to confront Israeli troops at the Gaza border fence in recent days.
Nasrallah also urged the Palestinian Authority to sever diplomatic ties with allies of Israel, and called on Jordan and Egypt to repeal their peace treaties with the Jewish state.
“We must put pressure on the Arab and Islamic states to repeal peace treaties and other deals with Israel,” Nasrallah said. “I call on Palestinians to kick out any delegation that aims to visit them from countries that have normalized relations with Israel, no matter what the background of those delegations is.”
Nasrallah had called for Monday’s demonstration last week after Trump defied worldwide warnings and insisted that after repeated failures to achieve peace a new approach was long overdue, describing his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the seat of Israel’s government as merely based on reality.
The move was hailed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and by leaders across much of the Israeli political spectrum. Trump stressed that he was not specifying the boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in the city, and called for no change in the status quo at the city’s holy sites.
The move has been widely condemned and sparked days of protest in Muslim-majority countries.
Israel and Lebanon fought a devastating war in Lebanon in 2006 that left more than 1,200 Lebanese and 120 Israelis dead.
Israel withdrew its forces from southern Lebanon in 2000, ending a 22-year presence in the country, and Hezbollah filled the vacuum. The two countries remain technically at war and there have been occasional border skirmishes.