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Hajj Hussein Al-Khalil to Al-Ahed: May 25 Symbolizes the Strength of the Resistance and the Homeland

Hajj Hussein Al-Khalil to Al-Ahed: May 25 Symbolizes the Strength of the Resistance and the Homeland
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By Latifa Al-Husseiny

Beirut -  It was a day when the Lebanese tasted true independence. This is how the political aide to Hezbollah’s Secretary-General Hajj Hussein Khalil describes May 25, 2000. He gives credit exclusively to the resistance fighters and heroes and believes that without them everything would rest on stalled international resolutions.

According to Khalil, the liberation from “Israeli” occupation of Southern Lebanon in 2000 was the culmination of all the operations executed by the resistance and their victories. This is the same resistance that took the initiative to support its comrades-in-arms in Gaza on October 8, 2023 – a move stemming from its commitment to the Palestinian cause.

Hezbollah's impact on the ongoing war in Gaza is further highlighted by Khalil’s revelations to Al-Ahed News. He said messages by external actors to the leadership of the resistance are aimed at neutralizing the gun firing at “Israel”.

Khalil explains that Hezbollah approaches all threatening messages it receives through intermediaries with Lebanon’s best interests in mind. He asserts that the “Israelis” are deterred from expanding the war despite all the escalatory steps because they know what Hezbollah’s true capabilities are.

When it comes to Lebanon’s internal issues, Khalil notes that the relationship with the Christian factions has not been broken despite existing discrepancies.

Khalil reiterated Hezbollah’s readiness for a national dialogue that leads to the election of a president. He rejected allegations that Hezbollah and Amal were limiting options to a single candidate, i.e. Suleiman Franjieh.

Al-Ahed News sat down with Hajj Hussein Khalil on the occasion of Resistance and Liberation Day.

Below is the full transcript of the interview:

* It’s been 24 years since the big day. What is your recollection of that day? What preceded it, and what was accomplished?

This day represents a manifestation of the power of the resistance and the nation. The resistance and a grassroots movement against the occupier, whoever it is, has proven that it can score achievements, even after many years. This accumulation of resistance operations gave Lebanon its true image and became a space in the political and international community. On this day, the Lebanese tasted true independence for the first time since the founding of their country. Lebanon has gained a position in the world. Otherwise, all the resolutions issued at the United Nations and the Security Council, especially Resolution 425, would have been ink on paper or in international drawers. No one could have implemented them had it not been for the resistance and the sacrifices of its martyrs. This is what brought Lebanon to the shore of safety and pride.

In our contemporary world, there are two examples presented at this level: the first in Lebanon in 2000 as a result of the accumulation of Islamic resistance operations, and the second in Gaza in 2005 when the “Israeli” occupiers withdrew under the weight of Palestinian resistance operations at that time.


* Do you have any memory of the pivotal speech delivered by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah in Bint Jbeil or what was called the Spider Web speech on May 26, 2000?

This speech laid the foundation for the next stage. In the past, “Israel” was a monster to the entire Arab world, especially after the wars that were fought to liberate Palestine or the Arab lands in 1967. “Israel” was a scarecrow that everyone feared to approach, until the resistance came and proved Sayyed Nasrallah's statement that it was weaker than a spider's web. This is due to the blood and will that distinguish the resistance.


* What can you tell us about the days leading up to the liberation and the rapid decline in the withdrawal of the Lahad army and the “Israelis” and about the military and political leadership in Hezbollah following up on what was happening, and perhaps in the Shura sessions?

The withdrawal of the Lahad army and Zionists did not surprise the Resistance. At the same time, it was not aware of the precise date when this withdrawal would take place. Successive strikes against the positions of the occupation army and its proxy forces led the enemy to surrender, flee, and declare its inability to continue under the weight of these operations. We were watching closely, and the “Israelis” were in a state of panic and did not give their soldiers and the Lahad army a chance to prepare to escape. They were also shocked by the withdrawal, and this is evidence of their confusion that was dominating them.


* The martyrdom anniversary of the great jihadi leader Sayyed Mustafa Badreddine, Sayyed Zulfiqar, was a few days ago. Could you tell us about his role in liberating the South and the western Beqaa?

When we talk about Sayyed Zulfiqar, we are talking about someone you rarely find in the work of the Islamic resistance. This person had loved resistance and jihadi work from a very young age. For him, resistance work cut across all Islamic organizations and movements. That is why we saw him with everyone, sharing their concerns.

When Hezbollah officially became an organized formation, Sayyed Zulfikar played a very active role. No one can forget his role in Operation Ansariya in 1997, when he revealed the enemy’s plans and how he raced them on the battlefield, set up ambushes, and confronted them with strength and valor. He also played a major role in 1996 in escalating operations against the enemy.

Sayyed Zulfiqar contributed to two very important dates in the life of the resistance: the 1993 aggression and the 1996 aggression. We all remember how Hezbollah emerged victorious in both and established deterrence and the anti-“Israel” force as well as the balance of strategic deterrence against “Israel”. It also established the equation of causing pain to the enemy and its civilian facilities when “Israel” bombs civilians. The 2000 liberation was the culmination of all these operations and the great victories achieved.


* Moving on to the current war, Gaza, and Lebanon, do you see what is happening on the two fronts as an indicator of the liberation of Palestine, or is it a limited war?

There is no doubt that the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation moved the Palestinian cause from one to a much higher position. I am one of the people who believe that this jihadist action and the opening of the large front in Gaza and the support front in southern Lebanon will establish the great victory that will come one day in which we will witness the liberation of Palestine from the sea to the river.

It is not normal or natural for the entire globe to witness a movement at the political, military, cultural, ideological, and academic levels in American cities, protesting for Palestine, raising its flag, and calling for the condemnation of the brutal crimes. The Palestinian people are making great sacrifices on the roadmap to victory and the divine promise.


* How do you evaluate the work of the resistance axis and its role in supporting the Palestinian factions in the Al-Aqsa Flood?

What the resistance axis is doing is excellent and extensive. Each according to their ability and national, legitimate, Islamic, and patriotic responsibility, whether in southern Lebanon with Hezbollah or with the Palestinian resistance in Gaza. What Hezbollah is doing on the support front is part of its duty towards the Palestinian Cause, as it cannot remain a spectator in the face of what is happening to Gaza.

The Yemenis also did well in this battle, and the whole world waited and watched at what was happening in the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, and the Gulf of Aden. In Iraq as well, all factions play a very big role, and the brothers in Syria, for their part, provide assistance as much as they can.

There is a process of integration between all these movements, and the “Israeli” enemy today feels the great loss at the military and economic levels as a result of the intervention of resistance movements in the region to support Gaza.


* How do you evaluate the internal Lebanese positions towards the Lebanese support front, especially since there are voices that approach the issue by measuring human and material losses?

In Lebanon, the internal issue is complicated. The simplest issues cause divisions, let alone the issue of supporting the Palestinian people! There are multiple points of view, including those who do not consider the Zionists to be enemies, neither to them nor to Muslims and Arabs, and this has been the case since 1982. The actions of the resistance in Lebanon did not achieve consensus at the Lebanese level, but the majority blesses this bold and strong stance, as well as the stance of the Amal Movement in this battle.


* In politics, negotiations, and communications, what can we say about the messages you receive from abroad related to the ongoing war in the South?

Since October 8, we have received direct messages from many European countries, and indirectly from the Americans. All of these have one objective, which is to neutralize the gun that is firing at the “Israelis” from southern Lebanon and to stop this front in any way possible. This is proof that the enemy is suffering on this front. Sometimes these messages include warnings and sometimes “Israeli” threats. We deal with the issue with our conviction and with the national interests of Lebanon, its future, and the Palestinian people in mind.

It is naive for a person to stand by and wait for someone to slap him, so we took action and carried out work in support of the Palestinian people in the first place, and secondly in proactive and major work against the enemy.

We welcome whoever wants to send their messages. We listen to them, but we act according to our conviction and based on the interests of Lebanon and the nation.


* Is it true that France informed Hezbollah that the “Israelis” are going to war with the Resistance soon if it does not stop supporting Gaza? What was your answer?

Messages like this can be conveyed, without France. “Israeli” War Minister Yoav Gallant and other Zionist officials issued threats to Lebanon and threatened it with destruction. The “Israelis” will take into account the destruction that will befall them if they commit this act of foolishness and dare to expand the war against Lebanon.

There is a real war in the south. The enemy knows Hezbollah's reaction and its ability to defend Lebanon if it commits this foolish act. This fact is one of the fundamental deterrents that prevented the “Israelis” from expanding the war.


* There is always talk of a military confrontation that will expand in the summer, or perhaps in September, as the Zionists say.

The “Israeli” enemy is not reliable and is extremely treacherous. What is required is for the opposing party to be present, attentive, aware, and not ignorant of these issues.


* How do you describe the relationship with the Christian factions and Bkerke?

The relationship was normal in the past. Sometimes its rhythm decreases or strengthens depending on the political situation and what happens in the country. The dialogue has not stopped with everyone, even in the darkest circumstances, with the exception of the Lebanese Forces, with whom we do not have any dialogue.

The relationship is not interrupted with the Free Patriotic Movement, as well as with Bkerke, despite the extensive discrepancies that exist. However, the dialogue and meetings are still ongoing.


* At the level of the presidency, the accusations directed at the national duo [Hezbollah and Amal] are that they are not serious about working to elect a president and linking this challenge to the Gaza war. How do you respond?

We are the only ones who announced a candidate, namely Suleiman Franjieh, and this is our right and that of every party in Lebanon. But what is not right is to say that we do not want to elect a president. From the first day, we sought to achieve this goal, and we were serious in our proposal, and we called on others to present their candidates.

But you are accused of calling for dialogue exclusively in the name of Suleiman Franjieh.

That’s not true. We did not refuse dialogue with anyone. At the very least, when they call for dialogue, there should be a dialogue table with a manager, not a discussion salon. If there is a serious dialogue, of course, it has a leader, a date, and an invitation. Speaker Nabih Berri was always in charge of managing the dialogue. If the Parliament and its members wanted to engage in dialogue, it’s perfectly natural for the Speaker of Parliament to chair this dialogue.

If Hezbollah is invited at any time to a dialogue headed by Speaker Berri, it will inevitably heed the invitation. Hezbollah, therefore, does not obstruct any dialogue related to the presidential election.


* The last question. What did Hezbollah lose with the departure of Iranian President Sayyed Ebrahim Raisi?

We lost a big brother, a strong supporter, a refuge in times of trouble and difficulty, and a supporter of the Palestinian cause and Lebanon’s right to liberate its land. We lost a brother who stood by the Lebanese and Palestinians in all adversities. We ask God to compensate the Iranian people, their leadership, us, and the Islamic nation with someone like Sayyed Raisi.


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