Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah`s Full Speech on al-Quds International Day

Secretary General of Hizbullah his eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah delivered a speech during a ceremony organized by Hizbullah on the "International Al-Quds Day" occasion, with large public attendance at the Hall of the Lord of Martyrs in the Beirut`s southern suburbs.

The event was attended by clerics, political and partisan Lebanese and Palestinian personalities, headed by the Lebanese president General Emile Lahoud, represented in the person of former Minister Yacoub Sarraf, and House Speaker Nabih Berri, represented by MP Ali Hassan Khalil and Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Beirut Muhammad Ali Subhani.

Sayyed Nasrallah gave a speech through a giant screen covering stands concerning various political, local, regional and international files.

Sayyed Nasrallah said:

"I welcome you on this day and this evening at the International Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Day to fulfil one of the religious and political obligations at hand. This day whose revival Imam Khomeini (May Allah honours his soul) called for to be held on the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan, since the time, place and occasion have distinctive historical, ideological, political, spiritual and Jihadi particularities.

Out of loyalty to the Imam, I bring to mention that Imam Khomeini and from the beginning of his political and jihad movement in Iran, and his entrance into public life, he believed in the cause of Palestine, fought for it and raised its flag in every place.

From the outset, even as early as the late 1950s when he became the `Marjaa` or the religious reference authority, as well as a person of leadership in religious and political domains, he always raised the Palestine question, in his books, articles, speeches and statements.

One of the most important issues that constituted a source of conflict and contradiction with Shah of Iran was the position taken by the Shah`s regime towards "Israel", its alliance with "Israel", and its position on providing "Israel" with oil fuel either through sale or free of charge, a matter Imam Khomeini considered as the worst of disasters committed by the shah`s regime against the nation of Islam and Muslims.

Thereafter and after various armed Palestinian resistance movements started, the Imam extended his support on the moral, religious, legislative levels as well as politically and financially. So, he issued `fatwa` or religious opinion that gave legitimacy to the payment of funds to the resistance fighters and the Palestinian factions.

This underlines the sensitivity with which he viewed the matter when he issued fatwa allowing payments of this kind.

In such a conflict through fighting and resistance, the revolution triumphed in Iran. Thereafter, the Imam broke Iran`s relations with "Israel", expelled the "Israeli" ambassador and established the first embassy of Palestine on Arab or Islamic land. Hence, the commitment to Al-Quds, Palestine and its people became a stable ideological and political one by which the Islamic Republic regime, people and institutions engaged to.

Imam Khomeini committed himself to this cause until his passed away, whereas his eminence Sayyed Khamenai continued his path in all sincerity and loyalty.

Iran continues to express its strong commitment to this position and has announced today with boldness, courage and clarity via the President of the Islamic Republic in Iran, Sayyed Ahmadinejad before the Friday sermon in spite of all the pressures faced by the Islamic Republic as a result of this attitude.

Imam Khomeini`s declaration of the International Al-Quds Day falls within the context of a long continuum of religious and political commitment to this sacred cause, rather than a seasonal or the odd occasion used by the Imam to pay a compliment to the Palestinian people or the nation. His efforts rather fall in the context of this historic natural movement, the Imam`s approach and commitment, his revolution along with all those who continue down his course, both in Iran and the world.

As for Al-Quds International Day, the Imam wanted this day to be a reminder to the entire nation at the least, a reminder of this great loss that struck the nation in the last century, the occupation of Palestine and the fall of Al-Quds in the hands of the Zionists as one of the greatest misfortunes, tragedies and pains that have befallen this nation, whose repercussions continue to create pain, tears, blood, victims, martyrs, prisoners, detainees over decades and years.

Today is the day when we recall our sacred land, "Al-Quds", "Baitul-Maqdis" Noble Sacred Place, God`s sacred house, the Muslim`s first Qiblah - the first place toward which Muslims turned in prayer before Mecca.

On this day, we first and foremost evoke the suffering, pain and sacrifices of a people.

Unfortunately, today the suffering of the Palestinian people has become secondary and ordinary news items in the Arab and Islamic world, even in the entire world which claims to be civilized, the news has become second row even late news.

When the news is mentioned it has become natural and normal news that ten, twenty or thirty Palestinians are killed every day, that large numbers of Palestinians are wounded and dozens forced into prisons every day.

Eleven thousand Palestinian prisoners and detainees, and with them Lebanese, Jordanian, Syrian and Arab prisoners, this is ordinary news. People hear it like any other news. That Palestinian children are killed, their bones shattered by Zionist tanks. This is ordinary news. For thousands of Palestinians to be held for weeks at this or that crossing point, or that some of them die of disease, pain and oppression is still seen as ordinary news story.

Today, we must evoke the suffering and pains, the pain of captivity and homelessness, the continuing pains of hunger, murder and slaughter. This Al-Quds Day is a day of reminder of the people closest to Al-Quds and the suffering inflicted upon them against a backdrop of forgetfulness and disregard experienced by the rest of our nation.

Today, we meet to reaffirm the historical and political realities that we know and we are not talking here about events that took place centuries ago, but before tens of years only.

Some of those present here as well as our fathers remember it well and talk of it, since they lived its era from the beginning of the Zionist occupation of the land of Palestine.

If we entered the heart of every Arab, Muslim person and the conscience of the free and asked them, they would surely respond with the truth that says that historic Palestine from sea to river is a land owned by the Palestinian people and no other.

The truth which says that the State of "Israel" is an entity usurping the land of others; the truth which says that the Zionists foreigners who came from all over the world, formed gangs, and with the support of the British occupation and many countries of the world, they invaded the Palestinians` land, spread corruption, killed, slaughtered, burned, looted, destroyed and established their state through occupation, murder, rape and terrorism.

This does not need documents, statements and witnesses. It is evidenced by the generations and generations who lived through these painful events. Against this reality, many in our nation do not try to evade responsibility, but attempt to disguise themselves from the truth in order to argue why they do not bear any responsibility. Yet, when sitting in closed rooms with them, they very clearly say: "what can we do, it is out of our hands".

This has become the theoretical, realistic and rationale basis to surrender to the settlement process, to negotiations and to giving concessions after concessions.

Everyone knows the truth and what is just, but everyone escapes the responsibility with their fictive weakness as the excuses.

I do not want to enter into self-punishment or self-denial but I want to talk directly about responsibility.

Today, witnessing these horrors and calamities suffered by the Palestinian people, the fact that Al-Quds is still occupied nearly sixty years on, difficult and harsh conditions surround the Palestinians everywhere, and Al-Aqsa Mosque is threatened every day by excavations and similar works carried out by Zionist protests, though flimsy and weak, we must talk about responsibility.

I will not stand here today to say that the nation ought to wield its weapons and for the Arab armies to sweep across the land of Palestine on all borders and frontiers, to liberate this land and this people and lift this historic injustice; such event is to the Palestinian people and to us closer to a dream than reality.

I know even when there was talk at some stage of a Unified Arab Strategy or when the Lebanese were told to wait for a Unified Arab Strategy to fight in, that it was said in order not to fight because there will not be a Unified Arab Strategy under the current reality of the official Arab regime.

The Lebanese and the Palestinians have chosen a different strategy.

The Palestinians announced to the nation that if the nation, its governments and armies do not fight, nor open their borders, that the resistance movements, their leaders and factions will. We will fight as a Palestinian people and adopt the choice of the national, real, serious, Palestinian resistance.

We are a people who made sacrifices, are willing to make more sacrifices, to provide more blood and suffer more pain, but you to stand by our side and support us.

This is what the Palestinian people declared through Al-Aqsa Intifada after the failure Camp David negotiations and after the resounding victory of the resistance in Lebanon in 2000.

The Palestinians declared this strategy and took it a long way further. They began martyrdom operations, popular and military confrontations. Everyone recalls how much this Palestinian people have given during and since year 2000 to this day.

The resistance in Lebanon also lived through this experience and pursued this strategy.

Since 1982, when the resistance did not wait for an Arab strategy for fighting and confrontation, but formed a Lebanese resistance with diverse, numerous and various factions, fought hard and enjoyed the support of some brothers and friends whom we thank for their support, even if the world condemns their support of the resistance.

The Lebanese resistance managed to liberate the major bulk of the occupied territory with Lebanese fighters, Lebanese expertise, Lebanese blood, Lebanese sacrifices and Lebanese will.

Through this strategy the Palestinian people succeeded in freeing the Gaza Strip.

Let me frankly say that had the Palestinian people received the required support from the nation over the past seven years and over the next few years, they would at least be able to liberate `67 territories.

The uprising, which was abandoned by the world, by the great sacrifices made by the Palestinians it was able to shake the enemy entity and push the leaders of this entity to talk and for the first time about the battle of independence and the battle of the "Israeli" state`s existence.

The Palestinian uprising managed to extend and continue until now, a national Palestinian jihad strategy of this type out to receive the support of the nation. Let rulers retain their armies, weapons and jets to protect their regimes, but let them too provide this Palestinian people with the political, media and material support.

Today, this is the posed strategy. No one is talking about forces or armies to fight on behalf of the Palestinian people who have the fitness, the merit, efficiency and necessary capacity for the liberation of the land, but they are people who need help and support.

Today, the nation can do much to Palestine and its people. At the very least, the rulers can themselves stop blockading the Palestinians before asking them to assist in lifting the siege off the Palestinian.

A Part of the blockade suffered by the Palestinian people is practiced by some Arab regimes. This embargo must be lifted and support must be submitted.

Oh brothers and sisters, did you know that there are thousands of billions of dollars deposited by Arab nations in American banks while Palestinians die of hunger, siege, wounds and unemployment.

A people ready to give their blood in fulfilling the entire nation`s duty to liberate Al-Quds, yet this nation is too miserly even with its dollars that are stockpiled in the United States` banks.

Today, the nation ought to concern itself with aiding the Palestinians to overcome their internal crisis. At the same time, we appeal to the Palestinians and especially our brothers in Hamas and Fatah to practice restraint and refrain from any form of armed confrontation, to persevere without despair with the treatment of the dangerous political stranglehold of a crisis.

Governments that are capable of playing any role ought to do so rather than show contentment for the blockade on the Gaza Strip or the government there, or for some to rejoice by saying `we want to fail or thwart this example of an experience`.

All the losses suffered by the Palestinian people today and any of the Palestinian factions are losses to the Palestinians as a whole and the entire nation, and a hand of help and assistance should be extended to them.

We must help the Palestinians towards this cause to uphold the right of return and to refuse any resettlement as well as to reject assimilation in any country as is happening through their forced migration to countries in Latin America, Europe, Australia and others.

This places responsibility on the states that sponsor Palestinians in the Diaspora. Here in Lebanon, meaning the current government, and as we have in the past, we call now again for a reconsideration of the relationship with the Palestinians in Lebanon and of the conditions of the Palestinian camps in Lebanon.

If some are speaking today of new risks to a camp here and a camp there, again I reiterate my advise that the security and military treatment should remain the last resort, and priority should be given to the social, humanitarian and ethical treatment, and an outstretched hand to deal in a brotherly manner with all the Palestinians on Lebanese soil.

Within the Palestinian context, I want to warn of the dangers of the international conference that George Bush called for. The danger lies in that the American-"Israeli" plans aim at gaining normalisation of relations for "Israel" and give nothing in return.

For "Israel", to gain normalisation of relations with some Arab countries that do not yet have ties with "Israel", and achieve nothing for the Palestinians, is a real concern and fear shared by many, especially in front of Olmert`s powerless government. How can Olmert, who is too powerless to release a substantial number of Palestinian prisoners to strengthen the so-called peace process, make any real and substantial concessions on the Palestinian track?

Where we must draw attention is the Arab cover. So, I appeal on your behalf to Arab states intending to participate in this meeting, namely, the Saudi Arabian leadership, not to give this gathering such Arab cover, if the outcome is normalization while on the other hand no substantive results are gained by the Palestinian people.

Here, I am not speaking ideologically or in principal, because according to principal and ideology my position is different. So, here I am speaking on the political reality level as they say.

Political logic does not permit granting all these gains to the Olmert government at a time when Arab governments should flock to bring Olmert`s government before an international tribunal to punish those butchers for the crimes they committed and are still committing every day against the Palestinian people, and for what they did in Lebanon in the July war.

Are Olmert`s government and the Zionist perpetrators of massacres to be rewarded with normalization of relations; further concessions and a hand shake, are all these reasonable?

We may not bury our heads in the sand. Have you noticed the Arabs talking about peace while "Israel" is beating the drums of war in the region? Concerning the "Israeli" air force launched a raid against Syria, is it not likely for that raid to have lead to a Syrian reaction and hence possibly war?

The media revealed a few days ago, that there are three "Israeli" armoured brigades stationed in the Golan since before the "Israeli" raid on Syria.

Why are these brigades present in the Golan? What scenario are they preparing for?

Why did the enemy commit such an air raid while readying for a confrontation and making loud and thundering threats?

Violations of Lebanon sovereignty are committed each day, with Zionist reconnaissance planes infiltrating our skies, but as of a few days ago our south, Beirut and the far Bekaa have been witnessing intensive mock air attacks.

Have you asked why?

Have the group in power done anything to end such provocations? Have they called on their American allies to pressurize "Israel" to respect Lebanon`s sovereignty, since this government is in the hands of independentists, sovereigntists, the sons of the `Cedar revolution`!?

Why these mock raids?

Is it psychological warfare or preparatory military manoeuvres?

"Israel" speaks of peace while beating the drums of war, as it prepares for war while on the other hand here in Lebanon we are discussing the resistance weapons, the will of the resistance and the resistance position etc…

This is where we need to be careful.

"Israel" wants to impose its hegemony, conditions and control over the Palestinians and all the countries of the region, over all those going to the International Conference of the so-called peace in the region.

Even the recent raid that targeted Syria, in my opinion it was aimed at rattling the Syrian stand prior to the conference in order to influence the resilience and resistance its regime demonstrated by sticking to their land and legitimate national rights.

Let us not rule out the existence of a coordinated "Israeli"-Americans motive to drag Syria into war, and thus the entire region, because this is Bush`s plan for the area.

His project for the region is not one of peace but war, just as he did in Iraq, Palestine and as he did in Lebanon in July 2006 last year, he now tries to do the same at the entire regional level.

On the Iraqi front, we have all seen and heard the United States Senate`s decision which calls for the division of Iraq. It is true that this decision is non-binding, but only a simpleton and a naive believes or imagines that this decision was made independently of Bush and his administration.

We know that when the Americans want to implement any project, they begin with the media, then politically and psychologically until it becomes the norm, just as the question of Palestine and all its calamities began with a promise from Balfour. The new calamities arriving in the region have now begun with a non-binding decision made by the United States Senate to partition Iraq.

Such a decision reveals the true American intentions we always spoke of, even disagreed about in discussions we had with some of the Lebanese about the new Middle East.

They say that the new Middle East means a Middle East that enjoys democracy, freedom, and sovereignty of States, with no outside intervention in internal affairs, security, peace, stability, economic prosperity and respect for human rights.

We have since witnessed all these headings in the Iraqi arena and saw suffering inflicted on the Iraqi people by the Americans occupying Iraq.

Across TV screens we have seen a large part of the Iraqi population migrate, millions left Iraq and millions are displaced inside Iraq due to the occurring demographic segregation taking place.

Millions of Iraqis are below poverty line, without food for `Iftar` a fast break meal, while they live on distributed food rations.

Imagine the state which possesses the world`s second biggest oil reserve if not the biggest, a state leading the Countries of the world in petroleum exports, yet its people are displaced, migrated, poor and in need for food rations just to eat?

This is the prosperity the Americans promised us: a people without nutrition, medicine, security, stability or freedom.

Where is this freedom in Iraq today?

Americans continue their systematic destruction of Iraq, as they continue their project there.

Today the greatest danger facing Iraq is the new phase it has entered.

Americans along with Zionists and the "Israeli" Mossad stirred up Shiite-Sunni fighting in Iraq, a situation that evolved into Sunni-Sunni fighting in more than one Iraqi governorate, and now they are working day and night to start Shiite-Shiite fighting in more than one Iraqi governorate.

This is the American project: Sunni-Shiite fighting, Sunni-Sunni fighting, Shiite-Shiite fighting, Arab fighting Kurds, Kurdish fighting Turkmen; this is what is happening in the Iraqi arena...

American leaders now consider the Sunnis fighting Sunnis in the Anbar province, one of their greatest achievements in recent months; has this not been presented as a qualitative achievement for Bush, the military leadership and the armed forces in Iraq?

On Al-Quds International Day, I reiterate what Imam Khomeini called as the day of the meek and vulnerable of the world and not only in Palestine.

On your behalf, I appeal to the Iraqi people and say to them `your unity and connectedness, your overcoming of sedition and national reconciliation are all your only choice`.

Your jihad and political resistance and your cooperation are the only path towards saving Iraq and the entire region.

In July last war, the resistance thwarted the new Middle East project from the region`s West gate. Now the proud, faithful, oppressed and sacrificing Iraqi people have to thwart it from the region`s East gate, through bringing down the partitioning project to begin in Iraq but none knows where it stops, nor what disasters and suffering will it inflict on this region and its peoples.

In Lebanon, we recently witnessed a string of assassination operations the most recent of which was the assassination of MP Antoine Ghanem.

When an assassination of this kind is committed against a March 14 figure, it has become a tradition for that group to instantly accuse Syria from the first few minutes. Some even go as far as accusing or blaming Syria`s allies for these assassinations.

When asked for proof, they quickly openly and covertly respond that their accusation is based on ‘political analysis rather than on security or judicial facts or evidence`.

On the other hand, confusion befalls the opposition. Then, after we issue statements of condemnation and denunciation, some philosophise that their proof that Syria or its allies are behind these killings because it is not rational for `March 14` to kill their own leaders.

Since this question is a matter of political reading, I will not then talk about a hypothesis in the security subject tonight, but rather about my conviction, vision and my fundamental belief on the security subject, to present to the Lebanese people, to March 14 leaders along with their audience too, and to the families of the martyrs who were unjustly and aggressively killed by these explosions.

This presentation is for them to think about, reflect on, ponder over and study since the question is one of political presentation and political reading.

I am not saying that March 14 forces kill their own leaders and figures, but I say that the "Israelis" are the ones who kill March 14 personalities and leaders.

If anyone among March 14 wonders why, it would therefore be strange that they wonder! For why would "Israel" not want to kill you?

Are you friends of "Israel" that they will not kill you? Are you their brothers or allies that they will not kill you?

No. You say no and we say no.

So, if you are not their allies, friends or brothers, what is the moral and political obstacle that makes the "Israelis" not kill you?

This is firstly.

Secondly, the existing "Israeli" precedents.

The "Israeli" Zionists killed Jews in Western and Eastern Europe as well as in different parts of the world. They killed sons of their own religious faith to force them to migrate to occupied Palestine.

Because their plan necessitated that those Jews be killed, they killed them.

Jews were also killed by Zionists.

"Israel" has a political project in Lebanon and the region, which it is serving. Therefore, if March 14 blood must be spilled to serve "Israel`s" political project, then as far as they are concerned why not.

During the July war, they spilled blood considered March 8`s together with the rest of the Lebanese society, but the war was launched against the resistance and whoever embraced this resistance.

Whose blood is spilled makes no difference where "Israel" is concerned. Is their any difference between one child and another, one woman and another, one blood or another, because to them their political project is what comes first.

I think the Americans may or may not have prior knowledge of the "Israeli" actions, nonetheless the hand that kills is an "Israeli" hand.

Take the most recent assassinations of MP`s as existing specimens, the assassination of MP Gebran Tueni, MP Pierre Gemayel and MP Antoine Ghanem.

Look at the common observation, MP Gebran Tueni was assassinated a day prior to the Security Council convening - or may be on the same day - to approve in principal the International Tribunal (IT).

MP Pierre Gemayel was assassinated on the day a meeting was held at the Security Council to approve the IT structure.

The third was the assassination of MP Antoine Ghanem on the day the Security Council was to listen to the Executive Report for the establishment of the IT, whose slow formation pace drew American dissatisfaction.

What is this coincidence?

I do not want to defend Syria, but if Syria is the country that suffers most from the IT, why would Syria or any of its allies kill MP Gebran Tueni on the day of ratifying the IT, then MP Pierre Gemayel on the day the IT system was being adopted and MP Antoine Ghanem on the day the Executive report for establishing the IT was being presented?

Who then is it that commits such crimes in Lebanon?

"Israel" and America do.

In Lebanon, relatives of martyrs have an interest in the IT being formed to uncover the killers, but the interests of the Americans and "Israelis" are different because they want to use it to topple the last remaining defiant Arab regime in this region, to force Syria into a regional level settlement, connected to the Arab, "Israeli" and Iraqi issues.

I do not accuse the families of the martyrs who work night and day for the establishment of the IT, but I accuse "Israel". Yes, and take note of the locality where these last three operations were carried out?

Security observers and military analysts have all agreed that these assassinations were carried out by a side that possesses high degree of professionalism, precision, skill and information in addition to a high level of operational capability in these particular localities.

Aren`t the "Israeli" networks the ones with a tradition of security presence in those areas, well informed and with the ability to operate?

The side which definitely has a strong interest in the assassinations in Lebanon is "Israel". Why? Because "Israel`s" project in Lebanon is that of sedition and inner fighting.

"Israel" views the resistance, as growing in strength with every calm day passing over Lebanon. "Israel" considers every day of strife and internal fighting in Lebanon as dragging the resistance internally, making "Israel" more comfortable.

Some say what is there for "Israel" to fear now, that there is nothing in the south?

“Israel” considers the resistance a strategic concern because the resistance as a defence force prevents "Israel" from achieving its ambitions, aspirations and dreams in Lebanon. Therefore “Israel” aims to weaken, drain and exhaust the resistance, and drag it into internal conflict and fighting.

"Israel" remains the primary beneficiary of any internal fighting and sedition in Lebanon, just like the case in Palestine, where the primary beneficiary of any internal fighting is the Zionist occupation, and so is the case in Lebanon.

Some people recently told me that I erred and encouraged them against us when I said `if you kill not one of us but a thousand, we still will not be dragged into sedition`.

They know that if they killed from us we will not be dragged into sedition. This is not an invitation to be killed, but if they do we will take our revenge from the Zionists, not Lebanese.

This is how we think.

Killing us will strengthen the opposition and the people`s rallying around the opposition for the sense of wrong they would be subjecting the opposition to.

Those assassinated were meant to be from the other side of the political divide, because the other side had a one hundred per cent accusation, complete and ready to be issued at will. They do not need facts, judicial or security. They do not even need to wait for an international investigation.

During these blessed Ramadan days, (detainees) are behind bars. There are families who will celebrate `Eed Al-Futr` end of Ramadan celebration in a few days, but there are officers detained along with others in Lebanese prisons by a political and not judicial decision.

After more than two years in detention and investigations, with no charges brought against these persons, the IT Chairman and also Chairman of the Legal Committee at the United Nations clearly stating the matter was outside their area of concern, and that the subject matter concerns the Lebanese judiciary.

Here tonight on this blessed evening, I appeal and call on the Lebanese judiciary to use their conscience and remember that on that grand Day of Judgment, they will have to answer for unjustly keeping them in prison without an accusation, but only for political pressures, calculations and decisions.

In any case, there is a political group in Lebanon with ready pre-accusations, with preset outcomes and an accused already listed on their agenda to be announced upon hearing the news of any assassination or explosion. They do not only make accusations, but also judge and charge all at once, which is why "Israel" delves further into killings.

You (Feb 14) said that passing the International Tribunal (IT) will surely end these killings. Yet, the killings have not stopped.

You had previously said that the establishment of an International Investigation Committee will stop the killing, and it did not.

Even if an IT and an International Investigation Committee are actually formed, the killer still carries a political project. Also, as long as your accusations and hence the IT`s omit the real killer, this real killer remains free at large, making the killer immune from prosecution. By this, I mean "Israel". Hence, even if one hundred ITs are formed, the killings will continue.

I openly accuse "Israel" as the side committing these killings and assassinations in Lebanon. I base my accusation on indications, facts, reading into who benefits, and based on local, regional and international political readings, in addition to tactical and strategic interests.

All the Lebanese ought to make their calculations on this basis rather than on doubt and suspicion, to save Lebanon from going where “Israel” wants to take it to, through spilling this blood unjustly and aggressively.

Pertaining to the assassination of MP Antoine Ghanem, there is another political indicator.

Parliament Speaker Berri`s initiative was approved by the opposition. This in fact was a significant concession from the opposition, which incidentally provided one concession after another, not out of weakness but fear for the country, and its security and stability.

The opposition agreed to waiver its demand for a National Unity government and agreed to a consensual president on the basis that the other group recognises and commits to the two-thirds quorum for electing the president. Until now, they have not yet committed to the two-thirds quorum and every day they threaten with electing a president with half + 1 quorum.

Even when they talk about the opposition, they say the opposition wants to take from us the half + one "weapon", they call it a weapon.

They refused to abide by the two-thirds quorum. However, state Speaker Nabih Berri entered into a debate over a consensual President, an initiative agreed to by the opposition parties and forces.

This is not out of weakness, but keenness for the country`s unity, stability and security; to reach the desired outcome.

But who is it whose interest is for Lebanon not to have a consensus President? Some said Syria!

I guarantee you that Syria accepts a consensus president and is serious about this matter, and I know that.

The side with no interest in a consensus president in Lebanon is "Israel".

Because a consensus President means a government of national unity, while for the "Israelis" who only seeing the resistance weapon in Lebanon, such a government and president do not give the desired `confrontation President` they want.

"Israel" does not want a President who is committed, understands or is even neutral to the subject of the resistance weapon. "Israel" wants a confrontational president.

"Israel" and behind it America want a President committed to disarming and eliminating the resistance.

"Israel" wants a confrontational, seditious President because its project in Lebanon is to sow discord.

MP Antoine Ghanem`s assassination was to derail Speaker Berri`s initiative. This is also a further indication.

In the presidential elections we have heard many statements in the past few days, and that the other side wants a purely Lebanese presidential election.

We also want a purely Lebanese presidential election, without outside intervention neither by the Syrians nor the Americans. It`s wonderful how the Americans forbid the world from interfering, while they interfere themselves and condemn the world for intervention. This is an expression of the level of arrogance, conceit and domination practiced by the American administration in all parts of the world.

They also talked about something else: for the first time, they want for the Lebanese to elect a President.

We support that too, we want the Lebanese to elect a President in isolation from outside interference.

They also said there is no group in Lebanon that could monopolize the will of the Lebanese.

True, the opposition cannot say it reflects the will of the overwhelming majority of the entire Lebanese nor can the loyalists say the same.

But how to arrive to this result?

If we truly want a pure Lebanese presidential election by consensus that reflects the will of the Lebanese people, we have clear peaceful, legal and civil means and the first of which is a consensus President.

Hence, let us agree on a President and thus end the crisis.

When the essential Lebanese political forces or the opposition and loyalists reach consensus on a President, that president would be 100% Lebanese, `made in Lebanon` and reflects the will of the Lebanese 100%.

This is the way.

Ignoring this way means we do not want a consensus President of Lebanon, nor a Presidential elections that is purely Lebanese. The half + one threat means someone is listening to a place outside clearly i.e. outside the interests of Lebanon.

The second option is if we cannot reach a consensus, and why shouldn`t the political class reach such consensus?

They don`t because they may be exposed to external and internal pressures.

The best way is for the Lebanese people to express their will; they say resorting to the will of the Lebanese people necessitates a constitutional amendment!

Doesn`t Lebanon, the people and future of Lebanon at this crucial phase deserve an extraordinary Parliament session to amend the Constitution only this once, and allow the Lebanese people to directly elect their president, away from foreign interventions?

We talk about the will of the people and the Americans talk about the will of the people, a matter that is both funny and sad at the same time.

Let us look at the will of the people.

What is the will of the Palestinian people? What is the will of the Iraqi people? When you draw a settlement or peace agreement, why don`t you run a referendum?

Referendums are permitted in Europe but banned in Palestine, Iraq and also prohibited in Lebanon. Why? Because it is forbidden for these people to express their will.

Let us consider what the Iraqi people want? Why don`t they hold referendums, because they are well acquainted with opinion polls? I mean, for instance, if we put to the poll the questions of the occupation forces remaining in Iraq, or a timetable for the occupation forces withdrawal from Iraq, the result would be that a very high percentage of Iraqis want the occupation out. Therefore, it is natural that no referendum is being held in Iraq over whether the occupation forces stay or leave, knowing full well that that is the key to solving the crisis.

It is natural that no referendum is held on any peace deal in Palestine!

And of course, it is normal to be told here in Lebanon that referendums are a heresy! Who said it is heresy? This practice exists in all democracies.

Let us either amend the constitution only for once so that the people go to elections and thus we will resolve this catastrophe. By this way, the Presidential elections will, for the first time in history, reflect the independent and free will of the Lebanese people.

This is the great challenge before you.

There is also a third option.

If you do not want a constitutional amendment, then let us (the current political forces who could not agree on a president) adopt and accept three or five impartial, scientific and reliable opinion poll institutions, to come and conduct an opinion poll in Lebanon. Then, we would all go to the parliament and vote the personality that receives the highest percentage of support as President of the Republic. Thus, we will be respecting the will of the Lebanese people.

Why don`t you (Feb 14) accept? These are formulas to respect the will of the Lebanese people.

If you say that the `majority` is numeral and that the setup in Lebanon is concordance-consensus, then come forward to work on consensus. You either accept the numeral `majority` or you don`t?

The numeral majority has its requirements, if you accept it.

Whatever the `majority` method you want, it would have its requirements. If you want to say that Lebanon is diverse and is based on a sectarian make up, then this too has its requirements, so why not commit to these requirements?

We are still open and continue to reaffirm that the presidential elections must be purely Lebanese. The Lebanese people must be able to freely express their will for the presidential elections, and we must be able to arrive at a consensual Lebanese president.

Otherwise clear the way for the Lebanese people to deliver a President independent the current conflict, because the `half + one` formula is unconstitutional, and a President chosen by `half + one`, is unconstitutional, illegal, and is the vacuum itself, even worse than a vacuum at the top position.

I want to speak about one remaining point in the presidential elections. We heard a great deal of talk recently about the presidential program being more important than the person.

I want to differ and say, that the person of the President is more important than the program, for two reasons: the first is that the ruling power in Lebanon is not the president but the government. Yes, the President`s thought, intentions, and political aspirations no doubt influence the government`s decision.

The second reason is that the President may submit a program now, only to retract it later. Who can offer guarantees to the contrary? Particularly since in Lebanon nothing is easier than to change colour and sides! And unfortunately lying has become a daily sustenance rather than gallantry, honesty and honour.

Today, when we hear comments such as: this or that politician "Oh is so smart ", it means he knows how to lie and deceive. Yet, one who does not know such tricks is seen as apolitical.

The person behind the president is more important than the program.

What does the president`s person mean?

It means we want a patriotic president, whom experience shows he does not submit to pressures and embassies; experience proves that this person does not give in to pressure or intimidation, has sufficient courage, advances national interests and is ever ready to assume responsibility with earnestness and honesty and delivers on his promise.

This is the person of the president and this person definitely exists. Therefore, he can be reached. We just have to reach accord round him.

As far as we are concerned, the person of the president forms the guarantee and not the paper or speech he announces.

You can say this or that person honours their word, delivers on his promise, is truthful with his patriotism, does not yield to pressure or to being terrorised or enticed, millions of dollars cannot sway his loyalty because his homeland is the dearest thing to him.

Such a person forms a guarantee as far as I am concerned. He can be the President of the Republic of Lebanon, who can protect Lebanon, its unity, peace, stability and security. He can build a real national unity government, a state, and face all the coming challenges and threats coming to Lebanon and the region.

That is our vision. Again, we, the entire opposition despite what was and is being said, we re-affirm our adherence to the country`s unity, peace, security, stability, harmony and dialogue. However, a `dialogue table` for 8 or 9 people going back and forth does not give results.

We always said we have no problem with such and such persons from leaders of the opposition and loyalists sitting together and seriously discussing.

As for me personally, I am unable to attend because of special circumstances that prevent me, but the other brothers are present and are able to assume responsibility.

The Arab initiative comes for two or three days and then goes and that does not suffice. Anyone who wants to help, let him come, sit and hold discussions with everyone. We do not mind, we are open and agree to sit and discuss with everyone, but look for serious frameworks and formulas for dialogue that lead to the desired outcomes.

On the International Al-Quds Day, I can assure you that in the atmosphere of the holy month of Ramadan that the future is not frightening as portrayed to us, yes, there are challenges, threats and hurricanes.

Of the major miracles of the Koran, is one when it talked through God`s prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) 1400 years ago, that the Children of "Israel" will spread corruption in this Holy Land and rise to great heights.

The Messenger of God said quoting the revelation and in the Koranic `Ayaat` verses, at a time when there were no Jews in Palestine except for an extremely small number of a feeble few, in an era when the Children of "Israel" were a group of torn apart tribes and scattered in the Arabian Peninsula, North Africa, Yemen and elsewhere.

The Koran came to talk about an event that will happen 1400 years later. This is one of the miraculous and great verses of the book of God Almighty.

This (Zionist entity) has established a state unprecedented in their history. Never before in the history of the Children of "Israel" have they built such a high level State on earth as is the case now with this state.

But the Koran, which over 1400 years ago foretold us that the towering state, spreader of corruption, deadly and insolent state will rise in the Holy Land. It also unequivocally and categorically foretold us that this State will cease to exist, and that (We sent against you [Children of Israel] Our servants given to terrible warfare: They entered the very inmost parts of your homes) [ISRA 17:5], and at a later point told us: (to disfigure your faces, and to enter your Temple as they had entered it before, and to visit with destruction all that fell into their power.) [ISRA 17:7]

When Imam Khomeini declared an international day for Al-Quds (Jerusalem), Khomeini was the Koran`s son, who verily saw God`s credible promise, saw that this Sacred House will return to the owners and will be cleansed from the impurity of occupation and the squalor of the occupiers, God willing.