Hizbullah Confirms No Cease-Fire Negotiations With Israel, Prepares Response for U.S. Allegations

Published January 12th, 2002 - 02:00 GMT

Lebanese Resistance Movement’s southern commander told visiting Muslim ulema on Friday that the group would not enter cease-fire negotiations with Israel and confirmed Hizbullah’s “full readiness to retaliate against any Israeli aggression.”  


Sheikh Nabil Qaouk was speaking to about 100 religious leaders from 30 Arab and Muslim countries that were touring the southern border district. According to the Daily Star, the visitors were in Lebanon this week to participate in the two-day Saving Jerusalem and Support for Palestinian People conference, which ended Thursday in Beirut.  


Qaouk received the ulema at the Jabal Blat outpost, facing the Israeli settlement of Zarit. The Blat compound was one of the largest Israeli positions in the former occupation zone and a favorite target for Hizbullah’s fighters. Hizbullah now controls the post, which has extensive views over Western Galilee.  


In his welcome, Qaouk said, “the Islamic resistance’s decision is that the Lebanese-Palestinian borders remain a cause of anxiety and pain for the Israeli enemy and that occupation in the Shebaa Farms and Kfar Shuba hills be a constant target. “This is because the resistance movement cannot provide guarantees or assurances, nor enter into bargaining to cease fire or stop the operations.”  


He added that the US designation of Hizbullah as a terrorist group, “reaffirmed that America is in a position of total enmity with the resistance movement, the (Palestinian) intifada and (Muslim) nation. “A day will never come when America can achieve any gains in the interest of the Israeli enemy, as Lebanon is not the appropriate field for realizing American political or security victories. Instead, Lebanon is the field which humiliated America before humiliating Israel and its army,” he said.  


Response to U.S. Claims 


In a related development, the Daily Star reports that Hizbullah is preparing a response to recent criticisms from United States officials and a growing campaign in Israel to implicate the party and Iran in the attempt last week to smuggle 50 tons of weapons allegedly to the Palestinian Authority.  


Hizbullah’s leadership is expected to comment on the arms ship over the weekend. Additionally, Hizbullah is projected to defend its position against criticisms made by US National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice in an interview broadcast Thursday on LBC International. In the interview, Rice repeated accusations that Hizbullah continues to engage in terrorism.  


“President George W. Bush said you can’t be against Al-Qaeda and continue to support the terrorism of Hamas and Hizbullah,” she said. “These are organizations that have a long history. Hizbullah does have other functions we understand the social part but Hizbullah has terrorist functions that have resulted in the death of Americans. So, we have a great interest in these. These are terrorist acts that continue to take place.”  


Rice said that the government should neutralize Hizbullah through “freezing their assets; not allowing them to operate freely; not allowing them to run arms freely; not allowing their territories to be used as sanctuaries.”  


She said Hizbullah was still carrying out “traceable” terrorist activity and dismissed the argument that the party has grown less extreme since the mid-1980s. “We have a saying in the US that a leopard can’t change its spots. It’s extremely important for Hizbullah, if it really doesn’t wish to be considered a terrorist organization, to stop engaging in terrorism.”  


Rice’s comments coincided with remarks from US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher accusing Hizbullah of involvement in the arms shipment. “We think the weight of the evidence is compelling with respect to Iranian and Hizbullah involvement in this arms smuggling operation, including in the provision of the weapons and the planning for their delivery,” Boucher said. (Albawaba.com) 

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