Hizbullah: We won’t disarm, withdraw north of Litani
Hizbullah member of the Lebanese Parliament Fadlallah tells Al-Jazeera terror group objects to disarming and withdrawing from area south of Litani River despite UN Security Council Resolution 1701; ‘our top priority now is rebuilding Lebanon,’ he says
According to Fadlallah, the terror group refuses to withdraw from areas south of the Litani River due to the fact that its members are residents of south Lebanon. As to the disarmament issue, the organization claims it is not being discussed within or outside the Lebanese government.
Confiscated Hizbullah weapons (Photo: Ofer Amram)
Hizbullah said its top priority is to rebuild Lebanon and help those who have been displaced from their homes.
He said Hizbullah would be willing to implement Resolution 1701, which, among other things, calls for the deployment of the Lebanese army in the south with the assistance of UNIFIL. Fadlallah said the deployment clause was unanimously accepted by the government with Hizbullah’s backing, adding that this does not contradict Hizbullah’s refusal to disarm as the terror group’s weapons will be kept in storage and not be displayed in public.
Last Saturday the Lebanese government approved the Security Council's Resolution 1701 , which calls for a ceasefire and for an end of hostility activities in the country.
Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said that "the decision was accepted unanimously, with several reservations."
Hizbullah’s previous announcement that it would refuse to disarm irked several Lebanese government officials.
'War with Lebanon will not be a picnic'
Lebanese Minister of Tourism Joe Sarkis attacked Hizbullah last Monday, calling the group to withdraw from the south.
In an interview with al-Jazeera, Sarkis said, "Hizbullah must ease the situation and must apply the decision unanimously agreed upon in the cabinet to support Resolution 1701.”
Tuesday’s compromise offer formulated by Siniora and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, Hizbullah's de facto negotiator, called on Hizbullah members in the south to keep their weapons concealed so the Lebanese army would not have to act against them.
Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah said during a speech aired on Al-Manar TV Monday that ‘we are at the brink of a great victory; a strategic and historic one. The Hizbullah fighters brought about this great triumph.”
In his first speech delivered after the ceasefire went into effect at 8 a.m., Nasrallah said "this is not the time for Hizbullah to disarm.
"It is unfortunate that the initial discussion on this matter and on the deployment of the army (in the south) was held by the (Lebanese) government in direct contrast to the agreement between the sides,” he said.
“Who will defend Lebanon in case of a new Israeli offensive?” he asked. “The Lebanese army and international troops are incapable of protecting Lebanon,” He said, flanked by Lebanese and Hizbullah flags.
But Nasrallah said he was open to dialogue about Hizbullah’s weapons at the appropriate time. And he credited his group’s weapons with proving to Israel that “War with Lebanon will not be a picnic. It will be very costly.”