BEIRUT: Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah warned Israel Tuesday against any attempt to encroach on Lebanon’s resource-rich territorial waters, stressing that the resistance was better equipped and ready to confront any act of aggression by the Jewish state than at any time before.
“Whoever harms our future oil facilities has their own [facilities] and consequently will face the same damage. They know that Lebanon is capable of such damage,” Nasrallah, who was speaking via video link to a gathering in Beirut as part of a rally to mark the fifth anniversary of the July-August 2006 war between Lebanon and Israel, said.
“As long as Lebanon considers [the disputed area] the 850 square kilometer zone as part of its territorial waters then the resistance considers it Lebanese and therefore it is no longer disputed but an area that is encroached upon. Lebanon has a diplomatic opportunity to gain it back through demarcating its maritime borders and we warn Israel not to attempt to steal this area or Lebanon’s resources from its territorial waters ... it is necessary to warn Israel,” Nasrallah said.
Israel and Lebanon both lay claims to a disputed area that spans some 850 square kilometers off the coast bordering the two countries.
Earlier in July Israel submitted its own maritime border demarcation to the United Nations for an opinion but its delineation of borders conflicts with Lebanon, which submitted its own maps to the U.N. last year.
Stressing that Lebanon stood to gain immensely from its maritime wealth, Nasrallah urged Lebanese politicians to act responsibly and seriously in order to take full advantage of the country’s offshore oil and gas wealth.
Recalling the victories that had been achieved by the resistance during the 33-day war with Israel, Nasrallah warned the Jewish state that Hezbollah was more capable and ready to confront any act aggression.
“I tell [our enemies and friends] that the resistance in Lebanon in terms of its intelligence, unity, courage, manpower and material resources is stronger and better than any other time since its establishment,” Nasrallah told a cheering crowd of followers who brandished flags of Lebanon and the resistance group.
“As I have always promised you victory [in the past], I promise you again that victory will be achieved.”
Earlier during his speech, the charismatic leader described the summer war against Israel as “legendry,” stressing that the Jewish state had lost confidence in itself as result of the defeat and that it had yet to recover from the loss.
He also praised all the Lebanese who had fallen or suffered as a result of the 33-day war conflict between the two warring sides and hailed all those who had stood by Lebanon in its time of need.
The 33-day war between Lebanon and Israel from July to August 2006 killed at least 1,200 people, mostly Lebanese citizens and displaced approximately one million Lebanese and 300,000 – 500,000 Israelis. Following the cease-fire mandated and monitored by the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon, Hezbollah declared victory over Israel.