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Cause a pretext


Hizbollah’s secretary general Hassan Nasrallah uses every trick in the book in an effort to cement his militia’s credibility within the Sunni Arab world and to justify its existence. His speeches are deliberately crafted to con Arabs specifically Palestinians, into thinking he is the hero who will defend Jerusalem and free the occupied territories.

As several Middle East commentators have noted, he is out to win a place in the Palestinian good books with anti-Israel threats at a time when he is viewed throughout the Sunni Arab world as a betrayer for propping up the brutal Bashar Al Assad regime.

Nasrallah’s latest rant boasts that Hizbollah has the capacity “to cover the entirety of Israel with missiles” adding that the militia would be the victor in any coming war with nuclear-armed Israel. He was even more specific concerning his plans. An ammonia plant in Haifa would be targeted in order to cause a nuclear bomb type explosion.

Those threats are mere flimflam, empty of substance, because, if carried out, Israel would adopt a scorched earth policy in retaliation while every Palestinian would have a target placed on his back. To prove how nonsensical they are in the event Israel were in danger of being obliterated, no American president would sit on his hands witnessing its destruction. That is just a fact which this big-mouthed paper tiger knows only too well.

Until now, neither Iran nor Hizbollah have done anything tangible to aid the Palestinians other than throw them a few dollars and low-grade missiles. They merely hold out the freeing of Jerusalem as a recruitment carrot, one that offers hope to Muslims and, of course, Palestinians in areas where hope is becoming a rare commodity.

He vows to support the Palestinians year-upon-year and so far he has done nothing tangible to that effect. Instead, he has ordered attacks against Saudi Arabia; one example is the attack on the Khobar Towers residential complex near Dhahran carried out by Hizbollah’s branch in the kingdom. Moreover, Cairo alleges that Hizbollah, together with other groups, murdered guards to release tens of thousands of prisoners during the 2011 revolution, many of them convicted terrorists.

I have advocated for a Palestinian state throughout my adult life. I feel deeply for the suffering of the Palestinians and their frustration in the absence of even a small chink of light. I understand why a small minority may be tempted to grasp at Nasrallah’s straws, but have no doubt that they are being set up for disappointment.

I am sure President Mahmoud Abbas understands Hizbollah’s ruthless game. I do not doubt his patriotism for a second, but I do wonder at his silence. He should dissuade his people from being fooled by Hizbollah with propagandist statements designed to attract recruits who will no doubt be farmed-out to fight elsewhere.

Palestinians, wake up! You are being played. Disassociate yourselves from Hizbollah and its master. Reject false partners for those who have stood shoulder to shoulder with you rather than those with silvery tongues and anti-Sunni agendas. If you let him, Nasrallah’s weasel words will lead you down a hellish path with no return.

Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor

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