Netanyahu Says Nasrallah covering up ‘great humiliation’ by Israel

In a television interview, the Hezbollah leader tried to divert attention from reported health problems and scandal to tout the organization’s prowess.

By David Jablinowitz, World Israel News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has suffered a “great humiliation” as a result of Israel’s “immense success” in Operation Northern Shield.

“His people invested great effort in digging [cross-border attack tunnels], and within three weeks we totally took away that weapon from them,” added Netanyahu at the Israeli cabinet’s weekly meeting on Sunday.

Breaking a prolonged silence on Saturday, Nasrallah confirmed the IDF’s operation against the tunnels from Lebanon but said that it did not affect the terror organization’s ability to attack Israel.

The Nasrallah interview aired on Hezbollah’s own television channel, Al-Mayadeen. It followed reports that he was ill, either with cancer or having suffered a heart attack, and that he was under house arrest by Iran facing demands to disclose the whereabouts of “tens of millions of dollars” allegedly embezzled from Hezbollah bank accounts funded by Tehran.

Hezbollah promised a weekend appearance by their leader and they delivered. Nasrallah reacted publicly for the first time to the Israeli military operation along the Lebanese border against attack tunnels.

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He said that the tunnels were old and that the Israelis had failed in that it took the IDF so long to discover them. “The Israelis discovered a number of tunnels after many years, and it’s not a surprise. The surprise is that they took some time to find [them].”

“Some of the tunnels are from before Resolution 1701 and the Second Lebanon War,” he said, referring to the 2006 conflict between Israel and Hezbollah and the U.N. Security Council decision that ended it. The resolution says that the sides shall not cross the Blue Line, the border demarcation between Lebanon and Israel, and orders Hezbollah to leave the area around the frontier.

Nasrallah smiled smugly as he said: “One of the tunnels discovered in recent weeks is 13 or 14 years old.” He also contradicted the Israeli assertion that all the tunnels had been located.

He denied that the terror’s organization’s capabilities had been hurt significantly by the Israeli action to neutralize the tunnels: “The uncovering of the tunnels does not affect by 10 percent our plans to take over the Galilee. If we decide to do it, even if they’ve destroyed the tunnels, can’t we rebuild them?”

‘To enter the Galilee, you do not need tunnels’

“Part of our plan for the next war is to enter the Galilee… To enter the Galilee, you do not need tunnels,” Nasrallah told Al-Mayadeen.

He added that all of Israel would be the battlefield and repeated that Hezbollah had precision-guided rockets that could strike deep into the country.

“In any war that happens, all of ‘occupied Palestine’ will be a war and battlefield,” he vowed.

He told the interviewers in a tongue-in-cheek manner that Hezbollah’s possession of precision-guided rockets was to Israel’s advantage.

“It’s better because if the day comes that we want to respond to Tel Aviv, if I have a precision missile, I will hit a military site. But if I don’t have a precision missile, I will want to hit a military site, but I will be off by 500 or 1000 meters. Where will it land? On people,” said Nasrallah.

Nasrallah claimed that Hezbollah would act only in response to an Israeli attack.

“If the Israeli enemy bombarded targets in the Lebanese lands, undertook a security operation in Lebanese land, carried out an assassination in Lebanese land…[or] killed anyone from Hezbollah in Syria…we consider that an assault and we will respond,” he said.