LEBANESE TV REPORTER URGES ISRAEL TO TAKE OUT HEZBOLLAH LEADER NASRALLAH

 

Lebanese television reporter Maria Maalouf took to Twitter on Saturday night to urge Israel to make good on past threats and take out Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah.
In two different tweets Maalouf published on her official Twitter handle late Saturday night, the reporter turned to the State of Israel and said that if the latter really wanted to see peace in the region, it ought to arrive at some sort of agreement with the Shi’ite terror organization.
“If Israel really wants peace, then it should prove it and sign on agreements with Hezbollah. Because, to this day we have not gotten rid of Hassan Nasrallah, who is deluding us in his fight against Israel,” Maalouf wrote in her first tweet.

Shortly after, Maalouf tweeted again, this time taunting Israel and claiming that it could not really deter its enemies if it didn’t take more extreme measures. “If Israel sees Hassan Nasrallah as its enemy, why doesn’t it carry out an air strike that would rid us of him, thus gaining our faith and protecting itself?”

 

This second quote gained a lot of traction, triggering a heated debate among the reporter’s 222,000 Twitter followers. Many lashed at Maalouf, who is known for her avid stand against the Syrian regime, while others reacted by saying that her suggestions couldn’t possibly happen because “Israel and Hezbollah are on the same side,” alluding to radical conspiracy theories claiming that Israel and Hezbollah are actually in contact and seeking collaboration behind the scenes.

It appears that the timing of Maalouf’s comments was a contributing factor in the sensation they sparked. In recent months many voices across the Lebanese political map have been raising a similar concern that Hezbollah could potentially cause a crisis in Lebanon due to its ongoing involvement in the Syrian Civil War alongside the Assad regime.

This is not the first time Maalouf has made controversial statements, nor is it the first that she comes under the harsh fire of the critics. Last week the son of Syria’s envoy to Jordan threatened to kill Maalouf, writing on his personal Facebook page that “we have the hanging rope ready for you” and making further threats on her life. In response, Maalouf called for Lebanese authorities to try the ambassador’s son.

Maalouf is considered one of the main central figures in the Lebanese media to actively speak out against Iran, Hezbollah’s militias and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Often drawing the ire of critics and television viewers, she is known for raising provocative questions and reporting sensitive stories regarding corruption among the Lebanese political elite.

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NASRALLAH WARNS: HEZBOLLAH’S MISSILES CAN HIT ISRAEL’S NUCLEAR REACTOR

 

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah called on Israel to dismantle its nuclear reactor in Dimona on Thursday, warning that it poses a threat to Israel’s existence should it be hit by one of Hezbollah’s missiles.

Nasrallah made a similar threat against Haifa’s ammonia tank last year, saying that a missile hitting the facility could have the affect of a nuclear bomb. Last week, a Haifa court ordered the tank closed, citing the security threat.

 

Speaking in a televised speech commemorating Hezbollah’s slain leaders, Nasrallah said that Hezbollah sees Israel’s emptying of the ammonia tank as a sign that it fears the Lebanese Sh’ite group.

“I call on Israel not only to empty the ammonia tank in Haifa, but also to dismantle the nuclear reactor in Dimona. Our military capabilities will strike Israel and its settlements,” he warned.

Nasrallah also suggested that Israel has been emboldened by the election of Donald Trump as US president.

“Trump’s election does not scare us, even if claims that he will give [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu the green light to wage a war on Lebanon turn out to be true,” Lebanese news website Naharnet quoted Nasrallah as saying.

“Israel is continuing to launch threats against Lebanon and speaks of the third Lebanon war and of what it will do during this third war,” Nasrallah stated. ” We’ve been hearing these threats since the end of the July 2006 war. Every other day we hear statements about the third Lebanon war and about the coming vengeance. The new threats are based on the election of Trump, but the policy of the new American administration in the region is not clear,” he added.

The leader of the Lebanese Shi’ite group downplayed the importance of Israel’s superior air force in a potential conflict.

“Aerial war alone cannot decide the fate of the battle and cannot achieve victory,” Nasrallah said. “Had it not been for the Syrian army’s fighting on the ground in Syria, it would not have been able to achieve decisive victory,” he added.

Discussing Wednesday’s meeting between Netanyahu and Trump, Nasrallah said that the prospect of peaceful negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians was now over.

“After what came out after the meeting between Netanyahu and Trump, I am not exaggerating if I say that yesterday there was a semi-official announcement of the death of the path of negotiations,” he said.

 

Nasrallah slams Saudis for ‘normalization with Israel for free’

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah criticized Saudi Arabia on Thursday night for an apparent warming of ties with Israel, accusing it of “normalizing for free, without receiving anything in return.”

Nasrallah, whose Shiite terror group is closely allied with Saudi rival Iran, said in a speech that “It seems the future of Palestine and the fate of its children have become a trivial matter for some Arab states recently.”

He warned that recent public meetings between Saudis and Israelis — including a recent visit to Israel by a former Saudi general and a joint appearance of the kingdom’s prince and Jerusalem’s former national security adviser — were giving “a problematic and dangerous example” to other Arab nations.

Israel, he said, had effectively ceased to be an enemy for many Arab states, and Palestine had become an issue “that is touched on only as a cursory matter.”

Nasrallah accused Riyadh of having long-held clandestine ties with Israel, but was aghast at the change “from secret channels to public channels.”

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry distanced itself from the recent visit to Israel by a delegation of Saudis, including retired Saudi general Anwar Eshki, saying the rare public engagement “does not reflect the views of the Saudi government.”

But Nasrallah rejected the notion that the visit was unsanctioned.

“It couldn’t have taken place without the agreement of the Saudi government. We know how things work there. In Saudi Arabia a person will be lashed for so much as tweeting,” he said.

The Hezbollah leader expressed his belief that Riyadh was “testing the waters,” and warned that it could even soon recognize the Jewish state.

“Where are the Palestinians? They are being renounced for interests. That principle has been sold out,” he lamented.

The recent visit to Israel was made by Eshki and a group of Saudi academics and businessmen. While in Jerusalem, Eshki met with a senior Israeli Foreign Ministry official and a group of Knesset members. The meetings reportedly did not take place at official Israeli government facilities but at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem.

Knesset members Issawi Frej and Michal Rozin (Meretz) and Ksenia Svetlova (Zionist Union), who took part in the meetings, said the Saudis were eager to generate Israeli discourse on the Arab Peace Initiative.

But Eshki told Army Radio that normalized ties between Israel and the Arab world were contingent on the cementing of a peace deal with the Palestinians. “There will be no peace with Arab countries before there is peace with the Palestinians,” he stressed.

The Saudi delegation also toured the West Bank city of Ramallah and met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as well as other Palestinian officials.

Eshki has met with the Foreign Ministry’s Gold before. In 2015 the two shared a stage and shook hands in Washington as they made back-to-back addresses to the Washington-based Council on Foreign Relations think tank. Both espoused Israeli-Saudi peace and identified Iran as the chief threat to regional stability.

Eshki also told Israel’s Channel 10 News at the time that he and Gold had sat down together “to call for peace in the Middle East.” He said “Saudis and Israelis could work together when Israel announces that it accepts the Arab Initiative.”

Nasrallah calls Liberman ‘show-off, insane, minister of war’

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah joined the chorus of Israeli opposition lawmakers and international figures bashing the appointment of Avigdor Liberman as defense minister Tuesday, while also calling for Palestinians and others to “resist” the Jewish state.

“Liberman the show-off, the insane, minister of war in Netanyahu’s extremist government,” Nasrallah said to describe the Yisrael Beytenu leader in an address to Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley on Wednesday evening.

“What does it mean?” Nasrallah wondered about Liberman’s appointment as Israel’s top defense official in a coalition agreement signed Thursday. “This makes one wonder. I don’t want to rush to judgment,” he said.

Liberman has made a career of bellicose declarations toward Israel’s neighbors and enemies, from suggesting Israel could bomb Egypt’s Aswan Dam in case of war with Cairo to vowing to assassinate Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh within 48 hours of becoming defense minister if the latter failed to return the bodies of Israeli soldiers killed in 2014’s Operations Protective Edge.

In his speech marking the 16th anniversary of the IDF’s withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000, Nasrallah also urged Palestinians to be wary of those pushing them to reach a peace agreement with Israel.

Yisrael Beytenu chairman MK Avigdor Liberman speaks during a faction meeting at the Knesset, May 23, 2016. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

“I say to the Palestinians, beware of [those] trying to make Israel your friend. We must remember that Israel is the real enemy.”

According to Hezbollah’s al-Manar TV, the terror group’s chief cautioned Palestinian not to “bet on all those who abandoned you. Your only way to end the occupation is resistance.” And he vowed: “Iran will go on with supporting the Palestinian resistance.”

Israel, he said, was the true threat to the Palestinians and the entire Middle East, and called for “comprehensive resistance” against the Jewish state.

Nasrallah: Hezbollah to bolster Syria presence after commander killed

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said Friday that his Lebanese Shi’ite movement would boost its support for Syria’s regime after one of its top commanders was killed there last week.

“We will increase and bolster our presence in Syria,” Nasrallah said in a speech during a ceremony to mark a week since Mustafa Badreddine was killed in an artillery attack near Damascus.
“More commanders than before will go to Syria. We will be present in different ways and we will continue the fight,” he said.

According to Hezbollah expert Waddah Charara, the Lebanese terror group has sent between 5,000 and 6,000 fighters to Syria since 2013. Between 1,000 and 2,000 Hezbollah fighters have been killed in fighting there, other experts say.

“Our revenge will the be great and final defeat of these terrorist, takfiri [Sunni extremist] and criminal groups,” said Nasrallah.

Hezbollah has accused Islamist extremists of killing Badreddine, but did not name any single group.

Badreddine was on a US terror sanctions blacklist, was a key suspect in the 2005 assassination in Beirut of Lebanese ex-premier Rafiq Hariri and was one of the “most wanted” by Israel.

But Nasrallah said no evidence pointed to Israel — the Shi’ite movement’s sworn enemy — being involved in the killing.

“We reviewed Israeli flight patterns and movements and of course what we found on the site of the explosion,” he said. “We have no sign or proof leading us to the Israelis.”

Nasrallah paid tribute to Badreddine, who he said “was one of the first to join the resistance in its beginnings” after it was founded in 1982 with help from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.

After climbing up the ranks, Badreddine took on “main military responsibilities” at Hezbollah between 1995 and 1999, he said.

“When Hezbollah decided to enter Syria, the commander was given the responsibility to lead Hezbollah’s military and security units in Syria,” he said.

Badreddine was killed in an area technically under the control of the Syrian army while Hezbollah and Iranian fighters are also present there.

The closest rebel positions were seven kilometers (four miles) away in the Eastern Ghouta area.

Syria’s war has killed at least 270,000 people and displaced millions since it erupted with anti-government protests in 2011.

Rouhani: If not for Iran, IS would rule Baghdad and Damascus

If not for Iran, the world would now be facing the Islamic State as a terrorist government in charge of Baghdad and Damascus, and not just a terror group, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani claimed.

At a conference on Saturday, Rouhani said that Iran was a “pioneer in fighting against extremism and violence in the world in word and action.”

“If Iran hadn’t help, ISIL would have been materialized practically and today, we would be facing an ISIL terrorist government instead of a terrorist group,” he said, according to the semi-official Fars news agency which used another acronym for the Islamic State.

Iran came to the aid of Iraq and Syria to stop the rapid advances of the group, in the summer on 2014, and had it done so, Baghdad and Damascus would today be in the hands of the terror group, Rouhani said, according to Iranian media.

Also Saturday, an Iranian minister claimed Syria was on the frontlines of “plans and plots” against Iran and that IS was continuously attempting to send terror cells to the Islamic Republic.

Speaking to a Lebanese TV station affiliated with Lebanese Hezbollah, Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi also said that Iran had offered Syrian President Bashar Assad and his family asylum in Iran, which Assad had refused.

Iran has been a staunch ally of Assad and has sent its own forces to fight alongside his military in the war-torn country.

The Islamic State seized large swathes of land in both Syria and Iraq in a military blitz in June 2014, killing thousands and taking hundreds of women and children from minority communities as prisoners.

Iran is said to have carried out a series of air strikes, at the request of Iraq, following the fall of Mosul to the terror group and sent ground troops to help stop its advance.

A US-led coalition against the Islamic State began operating in September 2015, mainly through airstrikes.

Nasrallah: Arab states that support Israel ‘will fall’ with it

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah denounced Israel on Sunday as a “permanent enemy” of the Arabs, and lashed out at Saudi Arabia amid a continuing spat between his Shiite, pro-Iran organization and the Sunni-dominated Gulf kingdom.

“O Zionists, if any Arab regime supports you, it will fall with you,” he said, according to a translation of his words by the Hezbollah media outlet al-Manar.
“Israel’s presence will never become normal and it can’t be an ally to Arabs while it is terror itself,” he was quoted as saying. “No Arab regime will be able to normalize ties with Israel, neither the House of Saud nor anyone.”

In the televised broadcast, intended to mark one week since the funeral of one of the group’s top commanders, Ali Fayyad, near the Syrian battleground city of Aleppo, Nasrallah defended his Shiite group against widespread criticism in Lebanon and the Arab world over its allegiance to Iran’s ruling ayatollahs and its fighting on behalf of Assad in the Syrian civil war.

He defended Hezbollah as a defender of Lebanon against Israel, criticizing Sunni Arab regimes for purportedly failing to protect the country.

Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states blacklisted Hezbollah as a terror group last week for “terrorist acts and incitement in Syria, Yemen and in Iraq,” in the process drawing criticism from the organization and its patron Iran, who accused the Saudis of backing “terrorists” in Syria and elsewhere.

Nasrallah thanked those who supported Hezbollah in the dispute, saying, “The Arab popular reaction” to the Saudi measure “challenged the political and takfiri [apostate] media and finance in the region,” and “sent a clear message to Israel.

“What protects this country is its army, people and resistance, and those who expect that the Arab League or Arab consensus can prevent Israel from attacking Lebanon are delusional,” he said, in comments seen as a response by Sunnis and others in Lebanon who regularly criticize the Shiite group for dragging their country into Iran’s proxy wars in Syria and with Israel.

“The real defenders of Lebanese interests,” said Nasrallah, were those battling the Sunni jihadists of Islamic State and the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front in Syria.

Citing the jihadist assault in Yemen over the weekend in which four nuns and 12 others were massacred at a care facility, Nasrallah asked, “What would have happened in Lebanon if the terrorists had achieved victory in Syria?”

Nasrallah: Arab regimes have never done anything for the Palestinians

Hezbollah’s Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah vehemently attacked Arab regimes for their decision to label Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, claiming that “the Lebanese resistance is the only one that regains Arab dignity and fights for the Palestinian people.”

Last week, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) voted to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization amid the Lebanese Shi’ite group’s involvement in various regional conflicts alongside Iran and the regime of Syiran President Bashar Assad.

In a speech he delivered Sunday afternoon to commemorate the martyrdom of a senior Hezbollah commander, Ali Fayyad, Nasrallah mocked the contribution of Arab regimes to the struggle against Israel saying that “If we had waited for the Arabs and their armies, Israel would still be in our lands (south Lebanon).”

Responding to the GCC’s decision to label Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, Nasrallah delivered a belligerent message to Arab regimes saying: “We do not need your weapons, leave us alone.”

“Arab regimes led by Saudi Arabia side with Israel against our struggle. They do so because the defense of Israel is the guarantee to their survival,” Hezbollah’s chief further stated.

Hezbollah’s chief also criticized the “Arab indifference” toward Israel’s alleged assassination of Omar al-Nayef, a former Palestinian political prisoner who died under mysterious circumstances in Sofia, Bulgaria on February 26.

Nasrallah also provided details about the fighting in Syria, claiming that Hezbollah does not receive orders from Iran instructing it how to operate in the country.

In addition, Nasrallah heavily criticized Saudi Arabia’s interference in regional wars in the Arab world. He argued that the kingdom has failed in achieving its goal of rebel victory in Yemen and that it prevents political solution in the country. In an attempt to paint Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria as a defense of Lebanon’s national security and not as a part of a sectarian conflict, Nasrallah claimed that facing Saudi Arabia is in Lebanon’s national interests.

Nasrallah finished his speech by announcing that even though it has suffered great losses in the Syrian front, Hezbollah will remain in the battlefield and its fighters will continue sacrificing themselves.

Saudi TV’s mockery of Nasrallah angers Hezbollah supporters

Dozens of young Hezbollah supporters took to the streets of the predominantly Shi’ite quarter of southern Beirut late Saturday to protest a satirical sendup of their leader, Hassan Nasrallah, which aired on a Saudi-owned satellite television station.

The protesters blocked roadways and chanted slogans against the channel, MBC. Lebanese authorities sealed off the area in an effort to calm tensions.

Saudi Arabia, the Sunni monarchy, considers Iran-backed Hezbollah a terrorist organization.

Saudi Arabia said on Friday it had blacklisted four companies and three Lebanese men for having links to Lebanese Shi’ite Muslim militant group Hezbollah, a close ally of Riyadh’s arch regional adversary Iran.

“The kingdom will continue its fight against the terrorist activities of the so-called Hezbollah with all available means,” the Saudi Interior Ministry said in a statement carried by the state news agency SPA.

The Sunni Muslim kingdom last week suspended aid worth $3 billion to the Lebanese army over the Beirut government’s failure to sign up to statements condemning attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran.

The ministry identified the four companies as Vatech SARL, Le-Hua Electronics Field Co. Limited, Aero Skyone Co. Limited and Labico SAL Offshore, and the men as Fadi Hussein Serhan, Adel Mohamad Cherri and Ali Zeaiter.

The statement did not elaborate. It was not known what effect Riyadh’s blacklisting had on the companies’ activities or whether they had business in the kingdom. Saudi officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Last year, the US Treasury Department sanctioned the same firms and men as “Hezbollah procurement agents…responsible for providing material support to enhance the group’s military and terrorist capabilities.”

US-allied Saudi Arabia has also warned its citizens on Tuesday against travel to Lebanon, citing safety concerns.

In Lebanon’s tangled political scene, Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies are staunchly opposed to Hezbollah, which is part of the governing coalition and also has a heavily-armed militia.

Hezbollah is playing a crucial role in neighboring Syria’s civil war, fighting alongside President Bashar Assad’s forces against rebels who are backed Sunni Gulf Arab states.

Relations between Shi’ite Iran and Saudi Arabia hit a new low last month when Saudi authorities executed Saudi Shi’ite cleric Nimr al-Nimr, along with three other Shi’ites and 43 members of al Qaeda, on terrorism charges.

Protesters then assaulted Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran, leading the kingdom to cut relations with the Islamic Republic.

Nasrallah threatens to bomb chemical facility, kill thousands of Israelis

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on Tuesday insisted that although his group isn’t currently seeking war with Israel, it could defeat the Jewish state in a future conflict by targeting Haifa’s ammonia storage tanks, resulting in massive fatalities.

Dismissing recent reports of a possible outbreak of hostilities with Israel, Nasrallah said deterrence established by the terror organization in the first and second Lebanon wars was keeping Israeli aggression at bay.

“Israel’s psychological warfare is of no use against us,” he told the Lebanese Naharnet news site.

As an example, Nasrallah said Israel “feared” the group’s cache of rockets capable of striking the ammonia facilities in Haifa, an attack that he said would result in casualties equivalent to those that would be caused by a nuclear attack.

He quoted an unnamed Israeli official to the effect that a strike on the northern city’s ammonia storage tanks would cause tens of thousands of fatalities.

“This would be exactly as a nuclear bomb, and we can say that Lebanon today has a nuclear bomb, seeing as any rocket that might hit these tanks is capable of creating a nuclear bomb effect,” he said, adding that Hezbollah, which has reportedly lost many of its men in the Syrian civil war, was continuing to boost its capabilities.

Hours after Nasrallah issued the explicit threat to strike Haifa, Environmental Protection Minister Avi Gabbai said he had ordered that the ammonia storage facility be moved to the Negev desert.

During his speech, the Hezbollah chief also accused Israel of behind-the-scenes intervention in Syria, warning Saudi Arabia not to ally itself with Jerusalem over the conflict and slamming other Sunni states for moving closer to Israel.

“Do you accept a friend occupying Sunni land in Palestine? Can you become friends with an entity that has committed the most horrible massacres against the Sunni community?” he said.

“You are free to consider Iran an enemy, but how can you consider Israel a friend and ally? This issue must be confronted in a serious manner.

“It is beneficial to monitor the Israeli media to realize that the Israeli rhetoric has become identical to the rhetoric reflected in some Arab media, especially in the Gulf and Saudi Arabia,” Nasrallah charged.

His comments came on the heels of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s call to Arab states with which Israel has covert ties to publicly acknowledge those relationships.

Addressing the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations on Sunday, the prime minister maintained that most moderate Arab countries see Israel as their ally, not their enemy, as they share a common struggle against Iran and the Islamic State.

Israel has long said there are secret back-channel talks between Jerusalem and Sunni states, however, Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries maintain they will only normalize ties with the Jewish state once a peace deal is reached with the Palestinians via a two-state solution.