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'We are witnessing the failure of Israel': Nasrallah

'We are witnessing the failure of Israel', says Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah
3 min read
South Lebanon
13 February, 2024
Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said that Lebanon was in a "position of strength" when it came to international negotiations.
Fighting in south Lebanon has killed some 231 people, most of them Hezbollah fighters, since 7 October. [Getty]

The leader of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, said in a Tuesday speech that Israel is "unable to meet its goals" and that Lebanon is in a "position of strength" after 130 days of cross-border clashes between Hezbollah and Israel.

Fighting between Hezbollah and Israel started in the wake of Hamas's 7 October attack on the Gaza envelope and has steadily widened, with international powers warning of further escalation if clashes did not stop.

Despite recent assassinations of Hezbollah leaders in south Lebanon last week, Nasrallah said on Tuesday that fighting in southern Lebanon is "within limits and controls."

Fighting has killed at least 231 people in Lebanon, most of them Hezbollah fighters, according to an AFP tally. According to Israel, nine soldiers and six civilians have been killed – although Hezbollah counter-claims that the number of Israeli soldiers killed is much higher.

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Nasrallah stressed that international efforts to try to de-escalate cross-border clashes between Israel and Hezbollah will not stop fighting between the two.

Lebanon and Israel have seen a flurry of Western diplomatic activity since 7 October, with the US, UK, and France engaged in shuttle diplomacy to try to forge a peace deal between the two parties.

Much of the diplomatic efforts have settled around implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah.

The UN resolution mandated a withdrawal of Hezbollah forces north of the Litani River – around 30 kilometres from the Lebanese-Israeli border. It also required Israel not to violate Lebanese territory and airspace, as well as relinquish control of occupied Lebanese territory – such as the town of Ghajar.

Various proposals have been floated to reach an agreement between Israel and Hezbollah, including the instalment of watchtowers on the shared border, the deployment of thousands of Lebanese army troops and the withdrawal of Hezbollah's forces to 10 km of the border.

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Nasrallah, however, has said repeatedly that there would be no negotiations with Israel until there was a ceasefire in Gaza, where more than 28,000 people have died in Israel's attack of the besieged coastal enclave. 

"The enemy is not in the position of imposing conditions on Lebanon," Nasrallah said, adding that the displacement of more than 80,000 Israelis from their homes in north Israel is a source of pressure on the Israeli government.

Israel has said that even if a ceasefire is reached in Gaza, fighting would not stop in Lebanon until residents could return to their homes in northern Israel – something it has linked to the withdrawal of Hezbollah north of the Litani.

On Friday, 9 January, the head of the Israeli Northern Command, Maj. General Ori Gordin said Israel is continuing to "prepare for the expansion of the war and going on the offensive" against Hezbollah.

Nasrallah also added in his speech that residents of south Lebanon should turn off their phones, as he claimed Israel is using them to assist in conducting airstrikes and in intelligence collection.