Nasrallah says border conflict with Israel will stop when ‘aggression’ in Gaza ends

Gianluca Pacchiani is the Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel

Hezbollah head Hassan Nasrallah says the Iran-backed terror group’s cross-border shelling into Israel would only end when Israel’s “aggression” on the Gaza Strip stops.

He appears to deride the proposal delivered by France yesterday, aimed at ending hostilities with Israel and settling the disputed Lebanon-Israel frontier, and insists that Hezbollah’s military activity against Israel has “proven to be successful, and has demonstrated Lebanon’s strength.”

Nasrallah says that all the foreign diplomats who have come to Lebanon over the past weeks in an attempt to achieve a negotiated solution to the conflict with Israel “have only one goal: to ensure Israel’s security, and the end of firing towards Israeli territory.”

“They take the Israeli roadmap, word for word, and transmit it to Lebanon,” says Nasrallah in his sixth speech since the start of the war, according to a report in the Lebanese daily L’Orient Today.

The latest proposal was put forward by France last week, and would see a ten-day de-escalation period and the withdrawal of the terror group’s forces behind a 10-kilometer (6-mile) buffer zone from the border with Israel. Hezbollah has rejected formally negotiating a de-escalation until the war in Gaza ends.

Vowing to continue attacks against the Jewish State, Nasrallah says that “all options are on the table.”

“We were hoping that once the ceasefire is declared in Gaza, the attacks would stop in Lebanon. However, [Defense Minister Yoav Gallant] said that this will not be the case, that even if they stop their attacks on Gaza, they will continue to strike Lebanon,” Nasrallah continues, referencing options currently being studied by the IDF to carry out a large-scale operation to dismantle the terror group’s capabilities.

“Gallant said he won’t stop, so don’t stop. We won’t stop either,” he warns, adding that Israel will have to evacuate “millions” of residents, and not just those in the north, if the conflict escalates.

Nasrallah insists that military pressure is an effective strategy, and that security along the border with Israel since the 2006 war has not been guaranteed by Resolution 1701, the UN Security Council decision that ended the 2006 conflict, but rather by Hezbollah’s armed deterrence.

“The enemy is not in a position to impose conditions on Lebanon. I call on Lebanese authorities to add new conditions to 1701 rather than implement it,” he says.

The terror leader urges Lebanese civilians in the border area to remain in their towns and villages, and to ignore calls from inside Lebanon to evacuate before a possible large-scale Israeli operation, describing such calls as “intimidation” and “psychological warfare.”

He asks residents of the border area to deactivate their home security cameras, to prevent Israeli forces from hacking them and monitoring the situation on the streets.

Nasrallah claims that “an overwhelming majority of people in southern Lebanon support the resistance effort, some even being part of it, and this transcends sectarian divides.”

According to UN data, 87,000 people have so far been displaced from southern Lebanon since the outbreak of the war.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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