Sunday, June 6, 2010

Speech delivered by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah during the solidarity with the Freedom Flotilla

I take refuge in Allah from the stoned devil. In the Name of Allah, The Compassionate, The Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, The Lord of the world. Peace be on the Seal of prophets, our Master and Prophet, Abi Al Qassem Mohammad and on his chaste and pure Household, chosen companions and all prophets and messengers. Scholars, deputies, ministers, brothers and sisters! Peace be upon you all and Allah's mercy and blessing.

First I would like to thank you all wholeheartedly for your rapid answer to the call for this solidarity-honoring meeting which is part of our responsibilities. This great and swift attendance is not surprising for you are the most honorable, purest and most generous people!

Brothers and sisters! On this blessed and great day, I would like first to point to some of its lofty occasions on the Islamic and national level. Then we will tackle the Freedom flotilla of dignity, esteem and generosity.

In the beginning, I would like to congratulate you on the occasion of the blessed anniversary of the birthday of daughter of the Seal of prophets (Peace of Allah be on him), the flower of his life and his soul. She is the veracious chaste Lady of all women on earth - Fatima Zahra (peace be upon her). I also like on this day that also marks the anniversary of the decease of the Imam of the oppressed, the leader of the revolutionists and resistance fighters, the reviver of the values of prophets and the evoker of the awakening and the feelings of pride – His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ruhullah Al Mussawi Khomeini (May Allah bless his soul) to address His Eminence Ayatollah leader Imam Sayyed Ali Khaminai (May Allah prolong his lifespan), the struggling Iranian people and all the lovers, supporters and adorers of the Imam with the loftiest verses of condolence and consolation. On the national level, it’s my obligation also on the anniversary of the martyrdom of former Premier martyr Racheed Karameh to condole his family, adorers and the Lebanese people. On this national occasion, a great man of this nation was martyred. He was a man of unity, resistance, nationalism, Arabism and pride. Now our minds, hearts and sight yearn to those who were addressed by the Freedom flotilla….They are our patient steadfast resisting steady and honorable people in Gaza Strip who have faced all kinds of blockades, aggressions, killing and starvation. We salute them and all our dear oppressed resisting Palestinian people who steadily adhere to their right in the territories occupied since 1948. We pay tribute to the Palestinians - and not only Arabs - living in the territories occupied since 1948, to our people in the West Bank and Al Qods and our Palestinian people in the lands of exodus. Now we greet those whose flotilla, esteem, bravery and sacrifices made us hold this gathering. I salute all the activists who took part in the freedom-making flotilla, their wounded, their martyrs, their toil day and night, their fear, their bravery, their steadiness, their blood, their tears, their woes and their cries. Surely as we are on the land of Lebanon, I give a special salutation to the Lebanese delegation, all the dear Lebanese brethrens one by one who participated in this flotilla as messengers of the Lebanese resistance with all its factions, as messengers of the Lebanese will and determination and as messengers of the steadfastness, sacrifice and martyrdom which made victory in Lebanon. Let’s express today great pride in the martyrs whom we gather today to honor. Allah Al Mighty has wished that all these martyrs have one nationality. That’s not absurd or sheer coincidence. It’s the will of Allah who chooses martyrs from among the people. He chose all of them with this nationality for a wisdom He wants and is contented with. In your name, I address the dear families of the Turkish martyrs with congratulations and condolences as is our tradition. We congratulate them because their dear ones have gained this honor and lofty divine token. We console them for losing their dear loved ones. Through them I salute the Turkish people who were united behind the Freedom flotilla and behind the martyrs of this flotilla and to the Turkish leadership which could establish its courage, presence and bravery in managing this confrontation.

Brothers and sisters! Today we are before a great event in the course of our nation and our people’s struggle with the occupying enemy who is usurping Palestine and staging aggressions against the peoples of our nation, territories, sanctuaries and region. We comprehend what has happened in this framework. Allow me in the time limit to divide my word into several topics which are all related to this event and its consequences. First I will represent the incident; second its indications; third its repercussions and forth what we shall do and what we shall invest.

As for the representation I will say a brief word because you have followed and watched everything. A flotilla comprising several ships - some carrying individuals and others carrying supplies - was bound to Gaza for a clear definite and essential aim which is to break the siege on the people of Gaza. This flotilla includes hundreds of people from scores of nationalities. It consists of religious men – Muslims and Christians - deputies, elites, men and women. Among them were also – I am intentionally making this hint to return to it when talking about the indications and repercussions – members who belong to countries that have diplomatic ties with Israel. The larger number – or a large number - of them were Turks, and Turkey is a country which has diplomatic, military, security and economic ties with Israel since a long time. The flotilla which was in the international waters was attacked in a clear and open act of piracy. A crime and a massacre was perpetrated what led to the martyrdom of nine Turks and the injury of scores of the participants. All the participants were detained and taken to jail. The supplies and the ships were confiscated. Later and with relative hastiness – here also I mention this detail because it has to do with the indication – all the kidnapped and the detained were set free. This is a brief depiction. The scene is clear for you but I liked to make this representation because it helps me when tackling the indications.

Second -the indications: This massacre and crime is another proof of the aggressive nature of this enemy and the eternal brutal nature of this entity since its establishment. It was established on perpetrating crimes and massacres. It is another evidence on it’s killing of unarmed civilians – men and women alike - and with no considerations. It’s another evidence on state terrorism practiced by Israel and on its disrespect of any human and moral values, laws, international norms, international agreements and diplomatic ties. It’s another proof that Israel considers itself above the laws, morals, divine codes and all religions and that everything is permissible to it for its interest and considerations. It is another evidence also that this enemy acts as if it is above punishment, reprimand and reproof by this world. It is another proof that Israelis kill whether you are armed or not, whether you were unarmed or bristling with arms. This is a lesson for those who say that arms are a pretext for aggression. Were the participants in the Freedom flotilla armed so that it be a pretext for killing them and shedding their blood and throwing the bodies of some of them in the sea? It’s another evidence that this enemy belittles everyone: states, peoples, the international community and the whole world. This enemy does not take anyone into consideration even the countries with which he has diplomatic ties or strikes military and security agreements. This is a message to all who look forward to the day in which they imagine peace is possible with a murderer enemy and that diplomatic ties protect their nations or peoples.

Among the indications also is that what took place with the Freedom flotilla in the Mediterranean and the consequent reactions is another proof that the current US administration is still absolutely committed to defending Israel and its crimes and massacres, not condemning it, backing it to escape punishment and even undermining calls for an international investigation. Even more, the US administration believes that what the enemy committed was but its natural right – as US Vice-president has said. The question here for America’s allies who have been bargaining on it and on it changing its Mid East policy: Isn’t this enough to make you sure again that everything might change in the US policy in the Middle East with one invariable: Israel, Israel’s interests, Israel’s security are defending Israel in perpetrating whatever crimes even against those who belong to states which are military allies with the USA. Other indications show that what happened has exposed many governments and countries in the world that claim to protect and defend human rights, human liberty and human dignity. Many of these states remained mum because the crime was perpetrated by Israel. If a resistance fighter has done a similar act in one of the resistance field, these governments would have showed up to defend human rights. The other part made shy condemnations and considered the story over.

Unfortunately, what happened revealed the Arab impotent nature in confronting crucial events. I do not need to elaborate lengthily on the decisions taken by Arab foreign ministers. The Arab street alone knows how to make such comments.

Among the indications on the other hand is the relative hastiness in releasing the detainees. This has great and important indications. Why? Let me tell you that is unfortunately because not all the detainees are Arabs. Were they just Arabs, Israelis would have endlessly weighed us down. Indeed they would have made definite considerations which have to do with the resistance movements but indeed not with the official Arab stance anyway. That’s because Israel is sure that the Arab official stance will be impotent even if hundreds of Arab participants in the Freedom flotilla were detained. That’s because this Arab stance was and is still impotent while thousands of Palestinians including men, women and children are still in Israeli jails. What’s different today in my viewpoint is that there were hundreds of Turks involved. Here Israel made miscalculations. It perceived that when it stages aggressions, kills, detains and terrorizes the Freedom flotilla that will make the Turkish leadership back down, be confused and feel frightened. Then it will search for any possible settlement. Unfortunately Israel has become used to such practices with governments.

I am certain that the Zionist leadership was shocked with the Turkish reaction whether on the level of the leadership or on the level of the people or even on the level of the institutions and various parties even the parties opposite to the Justice and Development Party. When the Turkish leadership exploited its ties with Israel (Indeed we do not support any Islamic country having ties with Israel but this has existed before the Justice and Development Party) and told Israel that it will cut ties if you kept any activist in custody, that was not in the Israeli calculations. I heard the Israelis during the first and second days showing much arrogance. They said the activists attacked the soldiers and hit them. They threatened that every hand which was raised against any Israeli soldier will be tried. Then the Turkish leadership said that if you tried any of the activists, we will try the leaders of Israel.

Great! Now we would like to know why they were freed? That’s because it’s Turkey… a strong country and a strong people behind their leadership. It’s a strong leadership that knows how to use the available elements of strength. For Turkey to cut ties with Israel would be tantamount to an earthquake in Israel. That’s a great and serious cause on the strategic level. Thus blaming took place within the Zionist entity. For Turkey to cut its military, security and economic ties with Israel is a point of strength and an important weapon that Turkey has used. In crises, previous wars, the recent war against Gaza, during the war against Lebanon in 1982, during the invasion of the West Bank and Jenin Massacre, Arab people often called on some Arab states who have ties with Israel to use this weapon but they did not. However, Turkey used this weapon. It did not demand the release of its nationals only, but rather it considered the whole flotilla as its responsibility. This made possible the freedom of the brethrens – some of whom are among us now.

This is a lesson for some of those who preach on diplomacy - the policy of humiliation, delusion, weakness, wishful thinking, hopefulness and admitting feebleness that results only in disgrace, loss and defeat. Indeed the policy based on power – the power of the people, leadership, state, logic and weapon - can make many accomplishments.

As for the outcome, the incident of the Freedom flotilla had many repercussions in the world. It had several results which I will mention to say that it was an active incident, that the blood of martyrs made great achievements, that those who were injured and those who participated in the Freedom flotilla and what you did and what you achieved was not to no avail. You made great achievements thanks to your presence, blood, steadfastness and tolerance.

First: The most important achievement of the Freedom flotilla and the blood of the martyrs was that it brought back to the international forefront the brutal inhumane siege imposed on Gaza for years. This siege was forgotten by the world and the Arabs and has become an ordinary event not to be mentioned even at the end of the news bulletin. The blood that was shed, the throats that shouted and the forearms could impose anew upon every government in this world to have this cause on top of their agendas and made it the first news in world media outlets and the first concern of peoples.

Second: The Freedom flotilla could force the world to make calls. For the first time we hear UN Secretary General, who remained silent for a long time, a call to stop the blockade against Gaza instantly. There were calls from European states, Russia and countries partaking in the Quartet which was covering the siege on Gaza. Calls were made by other states in the world as well. We have not heard of this before the Freedom flotilla and the martyrs of the flotilla.

Third: Among the direct results is the Egyptian government thankfully opening Rafah Crossing sine die apart from any interpretation, background or conditions. This in itself is a good outcome of the Freedom flotilla and its repercussions.

Forth: What took place gave way to an appropriate atmosphere for a Palestinian tendency towards reconciliation and ending the division.

Fifth: What took place will further complicate and make it difficult – that is not to exaggerate – for the Zionist enemy to think or plot for any aggression on Gaza. An aggression on Lebanon, Syria, or Iran has another set of calculations. Our major fears are there on Gaza. So it’s doubtless that the Freedom flotilla sacrifices complicated such an atmosphere for the enemy.

Sixth: This was yet another scandal for Israel before the world public opinion.

Seventh: That resulted in more awareness among the Arab and Islamic peoples who are concerned in the first place in this struggle and confrontation with this enemy.

Eighth: This was yet another scandal for the US policy in our region and those bargaining on it.

Ninth: This was another proof of the Israeli failure, and confusion and the feebleness of the Israeli political, security and military leadership. It’s not I who is saying so. If you read Israeli press and listen to what it said there, you may notice that the rhetoric used is that of a fiasco, confusion, loss, scandal and falling in the trap. These terms are found in Israeli press. Some Israelis are talking about and there are calls for forming an investigation committee to count Israel’s political and moral losses.

Indeed what the Israeli enemy perpetrated is an act of stupidity and miscalculation. It’s a diverted behavior that expresses their arrogance or else the enemy could have confiscated the flotilla and forced it to move away towards Ishdod Port using other means and without undertaking piracy, perpetrating a massacre and a crime and shedding blood as they did.

Tenth: Israelis now feel overburdened. It’s not I who is saying that. The Mosad Chief Maer Daghan – the security apparatus which works abroad and which is more capable of evaluating the international and foreign position for the Israeli leadership - says that Israel is starting to be more a burden than a repertoire, ammunition and a support to the United States because with every Israeli failure, crime and massacre, America is concerned with defending, supporting and paying the price. This is what was said also by the Head of US General David Petraeus. He said we are paying the blood of our soldiers as a result of our support of Israel which has turned to a burden on the USA. Later Petraeus was rebuked; so he made another statement with little amendments. This is Israel after the incident… a leadership which does not know how to act whether on the political, media or military levels or in the field with the armless flotilla which keeps no weapons, missiles or anything at all. This is among the outcome that adds to the confusion and feebleness of this entity.

Eleventh: The development in the Turkish stance indeed is among the important results of the event. Today the Turkish stance is different. Indeed the Turkish stance was influential during the aggression in 2006. During the aggression against the Gaza Strip, the Turkish stance developed and advanced. However it is doubtless that the Turkish position developed significantly with the Freedom flotilla incident. We heard the stances made by Turkish leaders and officials the last of which was that of the Turkish President Abdullah Ghoul yesterday in which he said that relations will not be again as they were. This is anyway a great and good development in the Turkish position. As I said when talking about the indications that among the results today is that Israel has started to lose Turkey. I will not say that Israel has lost Turkey - not to make any exaggeration in any evaluation - and this is a strategically very significant change in the region. Israel used to have very important international and regional relations in the region. Under the Shah, Iran was a support and a strategic power and dimension to Israel. This strategic dimension was lost by Israel with the victory of the blessed Islamic Revolution in Iran under the leadership of Imam Khomeini (May Allah bless his soul). Iran turned to an absolute sponsor and supporter of the central Palestinian cause. There remained Turkey. With the Freedom flotilla in particular I may say that Israel started losing Turkey. Will Israel entirely lose Turkey? This depends on the circumstances, developments and events. Still that was among the important results.

Twelfth: Among the important results is the Kuwaiti position.
The Kuwaiti parliament demanded that Kuwait withdraws from the Arab initiative, and the government took the first initiative and consented. Will there be other Arab parliaments which will follow the sample of the Kuwaiti parliament and government? Indeed on your behalf, we salute the Kuwait parliament and government for this great position. Some used to say what does withdrawing from the Arab initiative mean? What’s the value of such a step? Indeed that has a political and moral value because the Arab initiative includes major concessions to the Israeli enemy. When we say that the initiative was withdrawn, we would be saying that all the concessions made in the initiative have came to an end and we returned to the first block. This has great political and strategic values.

The last outcome before moving to the last part of the speech is that what took place indeed embarrasses and confuses all those who call for normalization of ties and surrendering and all those who bargain on direct and indirect negotiations with the Israeli enemy for their conditions has become very difficult. On May 25th, I had to quote the US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and it was she and not I who said that what Israel is doing embarrasses the Arab moderation axis. I add that what Israelis did to the Freedom flotilla embarrasses the so called Arab moderation and all those who call for normalization of ties in the Arab world who still exist – some of them even exist with impudence. I have read in some Gulf newspapers yesterday articles that branded the Freedom flotilla as a sheer stupidity! Other articles defended the deeds of the Israeli soldiers! Well you rarely find articles in Israeli press that defend what Israeli soldiers commit. Still there are articles in Gulf press that defends what the Israeli soldiers did and hold the activists in the Freedom flotilla responsible! Anyway they are an odd few. Time, righteousness, dignity, gallantry and the noble in this nation will broom them away from this nation Inshallah.

Now we come to what we must undertake:

First: We must benefit from the current chance. Today, there is a good chance to realize the aim of the Freedom flotilla and all its precedents which is to end the blockade imposed on our people in Gaza. That requires more Freedom flotillas heading towards Gaza Strip. A second, third, forth and fifth flotillas must be formed and from various nationalities. As such falls the Israeli goal of state terrorism and killing martyrs in the flotilla. That’s because the aim Netanyahu voiced was to prevent and deter anyone in the world from think anew of taking similar steps. By taking similar steps, we would be telling the Israelis you could not realize any of your goals in your terrorism, scandal and crime.

In the current Freedom flotilla there was this number of dear Lebanese brethrens. I call on more and diversified Lebanese participation in Freedom flotilla II. Today the European campaign concerned with the Freedom flotilla said it made a call for joining Freedom flotilla II and that it had so far received hundreds of requests from Europe. Where are the Arabs? Where are the Muslims? Where are the Arab peoples? Where are the Islamic peoples? Some might wonder where does the Sayyed want us to go? These brethrens are before your eyes now with all such pride. They went and came back and those who will go will come back too. In as much as Israel takes Turkey into consideration and fears a red flag, it is also afraid of a yellow flag. Those who will take part in Freedom flotilla II should know very well that they belong to a country, a people and a resistance that doesn’t leave its captives in Israeli jails. Let no one say that the Sayyed wants to make a new problem. No! No! We do not want to make a new problem but we as Lebanese want to be part of the human, moral, national and faithful participation and not to keep the responsibility on the shoulders of those who are coming from behind the seas.

Second: In the same framework, we will call, appeal and work all together to keep Rafah Crossing open. Indeed we call on the Egyptian leadership to keep Rafah Crossing open. Here I comment on the decisions of the Arab foreign ministers and say: the Arab foreign ministers and the Arab governments do not need to resort to the UN Security Council to lift the siege on Gaza. Let’s make a quiet discussion. What is the problem with Egypt opening Rafah Crossing? If there is international pressures, international agreements, definite embarrassments or specific economic negative points, let’s all unite as the Arab League, The Organization of the Islamic Conference and the peoples of the Arab and Islamic world. We will all stand by the Egyptian leadership and government. When the Arab and Islamic world, governments and peoples stand with the Egyptian leadership, no one in this world will embarrass it and force it to close Rafah Crossing. This is a practical step to be taken. So let’s convene in Cairo and in the OIC to discuss this cause. What’s the problem? Are there pressures? Are there hard conditions? Let’s cooperate to keep this crossing open as we do not need anyone in this world whether the Security Counsel or the UN or the US administration or the EU. We as Arabs and Muslims can end the siege on Gaza in this rational, quiet, fully considered and well planned way.

Third: We should back the Turkish position that will be subject to much pressure. See how the strong is respected. Obama was obliged to call the ‘Tayyib’ (good man) Recep Tayyib Erdogan. Were the killed of definite Arab states, was Obama to make calls with them? Anyway, great pressure will be practiced on Turkey to make it transcend what took place, to prevent its stance from developing against Israel, to avoid the deterioration of its ties with Israel and to push Turkey back from taking a leading role on the level of Arab and Islamic region in the struggle with Israel. In its confrontation of this pressure which Turkey and the Turkish leadership might be subject to, it might indeed be in need for every public and official support in the Arab and Islamic worlds.

Forth: The Gaza cause should remain the center of the international and human – and not only the Arab and Islamic – concern. As His Eminence Sayyed Ali Khaminai (May Allah prolong his lifespan), the Palestinian cause should become again an international and a human cause. In the past, when the Palestinian cause was the cause of the Islamic world, some tried to say this is the cause of the Arab world. Thus it stopped being the cause of the Islamic world and consequently Turkey, Iran, Pakistan along with the Muslims of India, Indonesia and Malaysia i.e. the Persians, the Turks, Afghans and Indians became not concerned in this Arab cause.

In the Arab world and under the independent Palestinian decision also the cause was transformed into a Palestinian cause where the Arabs became not concerned. The Palestinian cause became the cause of Gaza, the West Bank, East Al Qods and the refugees. Two thirds of Palestine went as such. His Eminence Sayyed Ali Khaminai has called to go back to saying that the Palestinian cause is a Palestinian cause, an Arab cause, an Islamic cause and a human cause on the global level. When you hear the recent stances made by Chavez in which he depicted Israel as the cursed and castaway state, are you to say that Chavez is not concerned in this Arab cause? When Nicaragua takes the initiative to withdraw its ambassador and freeze its ties with Israel, are we to tell Nicaragua that it has nothing to do with this Arab cause?

Freedom flotilla has opened the way for returning the Palestinian cause to the international forefront and becoming a global cause. This is what we must carry on doing. Scholars, authors, media outlets, the internet, satellite channels, parties, active forces and officials may do that.

Fifth: We must insist on the international probe even though we already know that it will be futile and undermined. Though we have a long experience with the international probe, we must continue the probe to embarrass Israel which will undoubtedly reject it though it has perpetrated its massacre in the international waters and though it undertook a clear and overt piracy.

Sixth: We have to sue Israeli leaders – whether politicians, military men, security men and soldiers – wherever possible around the world for what they did with the Freedom flotilla. We must evoke again previous causes. We as Hezbollah did not have such a clear point concerning this point but the experience has convinced us. Yes, let’s sue wherever possible around the world those who killed us and perpetrated massacres against us and demolished our houses in Lebanon and in Palestine for its crimes. On the opposite side they will sue us; let them do that then. We will not go to Europe anymore. Let them confiscate the money deposited in European banks; we have no problem in that for we have no doubt that suing Israel for its crimes will render Israeli leaders beleaguered and perplexed around the world and that has done so.

Seventh: We must all work with every possible means to remind the whole world which should learn the truth about the dishonest, deceiving, hypocrite Israel that has projected itself to the global public opinion as an oasis of democracy in the Middle East and as the only state that commits itself to the international laws and norms amid a savage milieu. We have to benefit from the Freedom flotilla to remind the world of Israel’s massacres in Der Yassin and Hula in 1948, Qana Massacre I, Jenin Massacre, Qana Massacre II and the massacres in Gaza Strip. With every massacre Israel perpetrates we must evoke all Israeli massacres to tell the global public opinion and the free and noble around the world: This is Israel which is deceiving you and which your countries defend.

Finally, we must carry on working to be strong, capable and confident of our choices and stances. We must act to gain friends and keep our friends. Imam Khomeini has turned Iran from an enemy to the Arabs to an ally, friend and supporter for the Arabs. How are we to preserve this friendship with Iran? Today the Justice and Development Party and the Turkish people have restored Turkey back to the nation. How are we to preserve this friendship and Turkey’s new position and stance. Let’s not fabricate enmities here and there as some try to do. We must be strong because this world – as we said on May 25th – does not respect except the strong.

Brothers and sisters! The best way to show our great faithfulness to the martyrs of the Freedom flotilla is by adhering to our causes and constant positions and the way leading to that which is the resistance: the resistance in Lebanon, the resistance in Palestine and the resistance along our nation. This is the future which we do with our hands without anyone in the world begrudging us that and without begging it from anyone.

Brothers and sisters! As long as there are people as the participants in the Freedom flotilla and as you with your dignity, generosity, bravery, sacrifices and faithfulness, the Freedom flotilla will not have any time or place limits. It will carry on until achieving the freedom for Gaza, all of Palestine, Al Qods, Al Aqsa Mosque, the Resurrection Church and this nation from the yoke of the US-Zionist project that is tightened around our necks thanks to the forearms and determination of the resistance fighters and the chaste blood of martyrs Inshallah.

May Allah bless you. I thank you again for your attendance. Together we move forward on the path of liberation and freedom to bring honor for our people, nation and sanctuaries. Peace be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings.