The conflict around Palestine is continuing. The clashes are more intense around the Gaza Strip, but there is a looming second front in the north, where Israeli forces face the Hezbollah. Both sides exchange fire regularly and daily.
Hezbollah provides no official statistics about its military strength, but US sources consider the organization of commanding over a huge number of fighters and sophisticated armament. Both the US and Israel repeatedly warn Hezbollah from entering the conflict forcefully.
What is the organizations perspective on the conflict? We asked that Dr. Ahmad Malli, Member of the Politburo of Hezbollah and also Director of the Political and Legal Studies Center in the Lebanese University.
How do you evaluate the current situation in the conflict around Palestine?
With October 7, we entered a new era in the Arab-Israeli conflict. We witness a turning point in the Arab-Israeli relations. Usually, we, the Arabs, had setbacks, for instance on 5 June 1967, the Six-Day-War. But we can state that on October 7, Israel has lived its June-5-moment.
Ben-Gurion: ‘Arabs can lose lots of wars. If Israel loses one, it will be its end’
The Gaza Strip was the largest world prison, besieged for 15 years from all sides, including the sea. But then happened this surprise attack, and it is impossible for the Israelis to erase that.
Remember what David Ben-Gurion, the founder of Israel, had said: ‘Arabs can lose a lot of wars, but if Israel loses one, it will be its end’. That was his prophecy. I think this explains why all the Western leaders are visiting the country in a kind of panic. But I think that it is too late now.
How will the Hezbollah react to the invasion of Gaza?
This is an expected question. First of all, Israel has already invaded and occupied some of our lands, such as the Shebaa Farms, the villages of Kafr Shuba or Al-Ghajar.
Secondly, after the establishment of the Israeli state, people were expelled from that territory. In Lebanon, we have currently 400.000 refugees, whose land Israel has stolen. These refuges are our brothers, they live under dire conditions. Lebanon is not obliged to solve Israel’s problem; hence, they must be able to return.
Thirdly, Hezbollah has been at the center of this war since its beginning. We remember that Israel has invaded Lebanon before. Hence, the parties of the resistance are in permanent coordination, with each doing its job. Our attitude is related to the developments in the future. We are in a permanent battle against Israeli occupation.
Division of labor between Lebanese government and Hezbollah
The United States is pressuring the Lebanese government not “to expand the conflict”. Do you observe support for your position in Beirut?
There is a division of work between the Lebanese government and Hezbollah. It is a kind of ‘gentlemen’s agreement’. The government is not responsible for the activities of Hezbollah.
The United States is continuing its diplomatic and military contacts in the region. At the same time, we see some distancing of regional actors from Washington. What is your observation?
I do not underestimate the aggression of the United States. At the same time, they want to force the people of Gaza to go to Egypt. And Israel’s goal is to expel the Palestinians from the West Bank to Jordan. Hence, if they accepted that, the Egyptian President and the Jordanian King would act against their interests. This is why we see a retreat of American influence in West Asia.
Arab-Israeli normalization will be “affected negatively”
How do you see in that context the recent processes of normalization between Arab countries and Israel?
I think that when these governments pursue such normalization efforts, they don’t ask their people. Now, we witness demonstrations in all Arab countries, in Morocco, in Jordan, Egypt. I think the Arab people stand with the rights of the Palestinian people, not with the aggression of the Israeli army. The defeat of Israel will influence the process of normalization with Israel negatively.
On the other side are Russia and China becoming more and more active in West Asian diplomacy, what is your take on that?
Neither Russia nor China will send military ships to the region, that is for sure. Notwithstanding, Russian President compared the siege of Gaza with that of Leningrad in the Second World War, hence he compared Israel with the Nazis. That is very important. I think this is also related to the fact that the Israelis stand with Zelensky. We also witness many statements from Chinese officials who are very active in diplomacy. They make a lot of statements about the rights of the Palestinians.
I think the result of this war will be to accelerate the transition to a multipolar world. American intelligence services have already detected that the global power center is moving from the West to the East.
Two-state-solution “belongs to the past”
There is much talk about the two-state-solution in that context. Is it possible that Israel and Palestine stand by side as two states?
The late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat signed the Oslo Agreement. After 30 years of its signing, what progress has been made? None.
I think actually it is not because of the Palestinian people but the Israeli government, which nowadays is dominated by the right wing, that such a solution has become impossible. It is now something that belongs to the past.
What I expect now is an exodus from the Israelis. We have always had waves of Palestinian refugees, now, we will see Israelis leaving. It has already started at the Lebanese border, in Shmona. They are trying to organize the arrival of their refugees inside Israel, but the Israeli society is not used and prepared to that. I think they will emigrate. This is the importance of October 7.
Talking about domestic Israeli politics: There has been a strong internal division there before October 7. Do you think that those who oppose Netanyahu present a resistance to his policies against Palestine?
I am sure there are important internal differences there. The ex-Prime Minister Olmert called for Netanyahu’s resignation.
After the war of 1973, then-leaders Golda Meir, Moshe Dayan and others were investigated and went. We can witness more divisions between political fractions, and each one of them will consider the other responsible for Israel’s defeat. I doubt that Netanyahu will survive this.
Crusaders had to leave after 200 years
But would his resignation be of importance for the resistance?
No. I think the resistance knows not to bet on these political maneuvers. Our basic demand is the return of Palestinian refugees to their lands. Which Israeli faction would accept that. There is no hope to get from their internal divisions.
The core of the problem is the Zionist dream. They try to implement it. But they didn’t study the history. The Crusaders came into our region, occupied a great part of it for around 200 years. But in the end, they were obliged to leave.
This interview was conducted on behalf of and first appeared on TeleSUR tv. A shorter version of it in Spanish can be watched here.