The current wave of Palestinian attacks should receive “all kinds of support,” Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said Friday, praising the attackers for “sowing fear” into the hearts of Israelis.
Nasrallah, whose Shiite terror organization waged a month-long war with Israel in 2006, commended “the Palestinian intifada,” which he said “needs all the support it can get.”
The Hezbollah leader made the comments during a live speech to mark “the International Conference for the Support of Palestine,” according to Al-Manar, a Hezbollah-affiliated TV network.
Al-Manar said the conference is an annual event “expressing solidarity with the Palestinian cause and the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.”
Nasrallah also made a direct connection between the violence and claims that Israel is seeking to change the status quo at the flashpoint Temple Mount in Jerusalem, which is holy to Jews and Muslims.
“The current intifada will not succeed for now in liberating Palestine, but it can at least protect Al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy places and force the enemy government, its masters and its sponsors to steer clear of Al-Aqsa Mosque,” Nasrallah said.
The mount is the site of the two biblical Jewish Temples, and currently houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound; non-Muslims can visit, but not pray there. Israel has strenuously denied any plans to change the arrangements at the site that have been in place since 1967.
“The Palestinian uprising surprised the Israelis,” Nasrallah said. “The Palestinians are on the first line of defending the nation.”
Nasrallah has previously expressed his support for the current wave of Palestinian stabbings, car-ramming attacks and Molotov cocktail attacks by East Jerusalem and West Bank Palestinians. But his group is mired in a war against opponents in Lebanon and is fighting with President Assad in Syria; Israeli military intelligence assesses that he is unlikely to open another front against Israel in the north.
According to influential Lebanese paper The Daily Star, the Hezbollah leader has recently come under criticism for stoking instability in Lebanon. The country’s justice minister, Ashraf Rifi, recently called Nasrallah’s followers “little dogs nipping and barking” at his feet, and in a different reference branded them “pigs.”