Written by Memri
July 17, 2008
Memri Special Dispatch
Iranian News Agency Press TV Publishes Excerpts From Nasrallah’s Speech on the July 16 Prisoners Exchange
On July 16, 2008, Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah delivered a speech on the occasion of the prisoners exchange. Excerpts published in English on the Iranian Press TV website are as follows.
"In the name of God the merciful, I thank God, peace be upon our prophet Mohammad, peace also be upon his family, peace be upon all his friends and colleagues, peace be upon all prophets.
"Distinguished guests, representatives of the three political leaders, the president parliament speaker and prime minister, former President Emil Lahoud, Distinguished guests, all religious figures, all those present, all the representatives of the diplomatic delegations, the official delegations and specially the delegation of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
"My brothers the representatives of Lebanese parties, the Lebanese factions, the families of the freed detainees, my dear brothers and sisters salaam alaikum , to all of you, peace be upon you all.
"I welcome you all to this national wedding ceremony. Welcome to Samir, welcome Maher, welcome Khadher, welcome Hussein, and welcome Mohammed.
"And I'd like also to welcome the martyrs whom we will welcome tomorrow in the same way we welcomed the live free prisoners today.
"Welcome to the martyrs, the Lebanese, Palestinian, and Arab martyrs. They are the privilege of this Ummah.
"On the 12th of July year 2006, a group of resistance fighters implemented an operation which led to the abduction of two Israeli soldiers. This was in order to liberate the rest of the prisoners in the Zionist prisons.
"And the most important of these prisoners, the dean of the Lebanese and Arab detainees, Samir Kuntar.
"On the 16 of July year 2008, Samir has come back. And before him Nasim Nisr came back, Samir has come back and with him are four brothers who fought for the sake of his liberation, some of them are alive and sitting next to him and some of them were killed and are martyrs and we shall welcome them tomorrow.
"Is it a coincidence for the promise to be made to be implemented? Is it a coincidence that the dream be achieved in July in the same days or is it God's just will which controls everything? Is it God's will that led to this celebration be in these days of July?
"Concerning the timing, we can take a lot from the timing of the swap has been significant for those who look deeply into the matter. How did we reach this result? This swap in certain stages seemed impossible or very far to achieve, a very far possibility to achieve, my brothers and sisters, the biggest factor which enabled us implement this prisoner swap which we call the 'Rodvan Operation' the biggest factor is the perseverance and the victory in the face of the July 2006 assault and the failure of the enemy in achieving any of its goals and also the repercussions of this defeat for Israel, the defeat of the Israeli leadership, people, and army.
"What I am trying to say is, had we been subject to Samir and his brothers, the martyrs would not have come back and Lebanon would have lost and the whole region would have lost and we would have entered the new Middle East, which the Americans and Zionists tried to promote even at the beginning when Nabih Berri, the Parliament Speaker, when he began the negotiations for the prisoner swap and when he was subject to many pressures, even during the war, and he was a partner in the stage where we were negotiating for the swap, when he was subject to all these pressures the whole world didn't want to listen to the conditions of Lebanon or to what Lebanon had to say.
"The only words, which were repeated by the delegations, who visited Lebanon and repeated by the whole world was that 'you must release the two Israeli soldiers unconditionally'. The perseverance and the victory made Lebanon, made the resistance and made us all stand in a solid way, stand firmly to continue the liberation of our prisoners and our martyrs, and we must look back at those who fought in that battle, those who were on the front line, those who were martyred, those who were injured, those who challenged the enemy, those who stand on the front lines of battles.
"And the first person we remember is the genius, our loved one, Hajj Imad Mugniyah who was martyred, peace be upon his soul. And we also look back and remember our people how the people of Lebanon stood courageously in a historic manner, how of course all religious sects supported Lebanon.
"We also remember some of the Lebanese leaders who stood with us. We remember the perseverance of our people, those whose homes were destroyed; those who had to leave their homes; those of course who suffered a lot; those who didn't have a place for 33 days.
"But they did not complain at all. They did not show any weakness. This perseverance, this victory is the main factor, the biggest factor which contributed in achieving this prisoner swap, this victory.
“And the second factor is the very difficult negotiations. We got a lot of help in these negotiations; first of all, the enemy was incapable of bringing back the two soldiers without negotiating. This was very clear if you look at the results of the war. The war ended and the Israelis knew that they won't get back the soldiers except if that they get into negotiations and there is no other way to get them back, the Israelis knew that.
"The second point is that the Israeli Intelligence was just unable to know where these soldier were, but was incapable of knowing what the fate of these two soldiers was. This was also something which helped us in the negotiations. Now if the Israelis had known the fate of these two soldiers, if there was a malfunction in the negotiations from Hezbollah, if they knew the fate of the soldiers, the negotiations would have took us in a different direction.
"The third point which is very important is the fear of the enemy. The fear that they would announce the failure of the negotiations or the negotiations would lead to a failure. The enemy feared that the failure of the negotiation would lead the Islamic Resistance to go perform another operation and abduct other Israeli soldiers.
"So the pressure on the enemy was not just humanitarian pressure, there was incapability on the Israeli side to save these two soldiers and the incapability to know the fate of theses soldiers. The Israelis also feared that the resistance would kidnap or abduct other Israeli soldiers.
"So the resistance was forced to abduct more soldiers to free Samir and the other prisoners it would have done so, it would have abducted more Israeli soldiers.
"So this was very clear in the discussions held between the Israelis themselves, and during the cabinet meting by Israel they spoke about this now when the majority of the Israeli cabinet voted on this prisoner swap, the Israelis sought to speak about this issue and they disrupted the chance of liberating Samir and Nasim and Yahya in 2004, They missed the chance to liberate them in 2004 at that time because of the political challenge at that time between Netanyahu and Ariel Sharon.
"And we told them you didn't liberate Samir Kuntar and you will regret this. This is what we said in 2004. The Israelis knew if the prisoner swap did not happen then we would go to another plan which I don't think Israel is ready for.
"I'd like add to theses factors a fourth one which is the perseverance of Samir Kuntar. Samir Kuntar stood firm. He did not back down from his positions in his letters. He always wrote his position in his letters from prison and he did not put pressure on us during the negotiations. He did not say hurry up with the negotiations, so that I could be liberated. He gave us time, so that we could achieve the best possible result for the other detainees.
"In addition to this other main point is the perseverance of the other detainees, the fighters. We looked at them on the television screens in the Israeli courts and I'd like to tell these fighters I listened to what you said. The last time I heard you when one of you was asked a question and answered. When they asked you if someone ordered you to fight once again, would you fight once again? And then one of the fighters answered if we see someone would go into the sea we would go with him even without him requesting.
"These words put tears in my eyes, tears of love for these detainees who did not fear the prison.
"In addition to these, the families of the detainees and the martyrs, the honorable families who put their trust in us, who had confidence in us. These families helped and contributed so that we could go in the positive direction, to reach the best possible results.
"These are very important factors in these negotiations. We must remember that the results showed the efforts by our negotiating team and the talent and expertise of them. Our negotiating team was under pressure and the negotiating team was subject to other pressure.
"The unity government, I like to stress that we are ready to cooperate in addressing all issues and put two lines on the all without any exception without any resolutions, we are ready to discuss all issues in order to promote the interests of the country in order to promote the strength of Lebanon. And all of Lebanon to overcome every crisis it faces.
"We must not forget Imam Mousa Sadr, and we hope he comes back with his two colleagues and so if our brother Samir is known by whole world because he spent thirty years in the Zionist prison [...] Imam Mousa Sadr now has been kidnapped for thirty years as well, this issue as I said in my concluding statements during my speech in a ceremony of liberating the Lebanese detainees in 2004, I like to say once again we don't want to enter any confrontation to any one, we don't want to identify anyone as our enemy, we want to close our all outstanding and painful issues and this is for the interests of all Arab countries and for the people of the regions of the Arab countries, and time has come to close this issue whatever be the end result a few years ago I said in a meeting if Imam Mousa Sadr is still alive bring him back to us and we will thank you and if Imam Mousa Sadr is a martyr tell us and send us his body.
"Martyrdom of course is something which Imam Mousa Sadr loved and which his family loved. And the issue of Imam Mousa sadr must be closed; we must remove the ambiguity from this issue.
"And I know the sensitivity of the Arab official relations and the issue being raised concerning the subject we are reminding you of Imam Mousa Sadr, we are speaking today about detainees so we must not forget the person who laid the foundation of resistance in Lebanon who is Imam Mousa Sadr and I call once again for Arab and Islamic cooperation in order to put an end to this issue and in order for Imam Mousa Sadr and his colleagues to come back to Lebanon.
"My dear brothers and sisters, the free detainees, families of the martyrs and families of the detainees all of you who are waiting for your loved ones for your loved martyrs bodies tomorrow, all who are present I like to congratulate you on this victory because this victory is your victory, it is your achievement, it is your promise, it is your doing, it is your pain, the way you used to form this contributed to this prisoners swap. [...]
"And I pray also for Lebanon I pray that Lebanon deals with this issue just like we sort the day with national responsibility concerning all detainees especially Samir Kuntar who must be viewed off the thirty, who must be viewed as a very very rich national treasure, and we must deal with this person in the appropriate manner after he put up with so much, after he spent all these years subjected to all these sufferings. Of course I hope all the detainees will be freed."