Nasrallah announces escalation and calls for pressure on Israel

Hezbollah secretary general Hassan Nasrallah speaks on the occasion of Martyr’s Day (al-Jazeera, November 11, 2023)

Hezbollah secretary general Hassan Nasrallah speaks on the occasion of Martyr’s Day (al-Jazeera, November 11, 2023)

Overview[1]
  • On November 11, 2023, Hezbollah secretary general Hassan Nasrallah gave a speech entitled “Life on the way to Jerusalem” for Martyr’s Day, marked by Hezbollah every year.
  • He related to the war in the Gaza Strip and Hezbollah’s activities, stating that recently Hezbollah had escalated its attacks on Israel by firing Katyushas rockets, launching Burkan rockets (equipped with a warhead of between half a ton and a ton) and a drone attack. He claimed he was following the “equation” he set out in his previous speech, according to which escalation in Lebanon or the Gaza Strip would lead to escalation from Hezbollah. He also noted the Arab-Iranian “support front” working against Israel.
  • He claimed the war was becoming increasingly difficult for Israel because of changes in world public opinion, the increasing international pressure, the strength of the “resistance” in the various arenas[2] and the pressures at home from economic damage, the residents who were forced to leave their homes in the north and south of the country and from the families of the abductees. He called for the pressure on Israel to continue to prevent it from making progress.
  • He again accused the United States of being the main actor operating against the Gaza Strip and thanked Iran for the aid it provided to the “resistance.”
Hezbollah secretary general Hassan Nasrallah speaks on the occasion of Martyr’s Day (al-Jazeera, November 11, 2023)
Hezbollah secretary general Hassan Nasrallah speaks on the occasion of Martyr’s Day (al-Jazeera, November 11, 2023)
  • It was Nasrallah’s second speech since the outbreak of the war. His first speech was preceded by a build-up of expectations and was broadcast by many media and in front of a large audience, and was extensively rehashed. This speech did not inspire much interest, started about half an hour late, was broadcast only on al-Manar TV and did not prompt reactions.
The Main Points
  • He related to several issues (al-Manar, November 11, 2023).
    • The importance of martyrdom: Nasrallah praised Hezbollah’s martyrs, especially Ahmed Qusair, who is considered its first suicide bomber. He said martyrdom had a supreme value for the “resistance,” and as Ayatollah Khomeini, who led the Islamic Revolution, pointed out, “martyrdom leads to victory.” He praised the families of Hezbollah martyrs for their willingness to “sacrifice now for ‘Palestine.’ “
    • Escalation of Hezbollah’s “fighting” [attacks] from Lebanon: Nasrallah emphasized that Hezbollah has escalated its “activities” against Israel in recent days both quantitatively and qualitatively by firing Katyushas [rockets], launching improved Burkan rockets with a warhead weighing half a ton and drone attacks. He said “the resistance” sent intelligence-gathering drones deep into Israeli territory every day as far as Haifa, and “some return and some don’t.” He claimed Israel hid the extent of its casualties, which was higher than what Israel reported. He also claimed Hezbollah’s attacks had recently penetrated deeper into Israeli territory, according to the “equation” he set out in his previous speech, namely that Hezbollah would escalate its attacks whenever Israel escalated its attacks on the Gaza Strip and Lebanon. He said Hezbollah would not forgive attacks on civilians. For example, Israel attacked civilians in south Lebanon and Hezbollah responded with launching a Katyusha to attack Kiryat Shemonah. He said the attacks would continue if Israel attacked civilians in Lebanon.
    • The importance of the “support fronts” opened against Israel: He emphasized the importance of the various “resistance” fronts attacking Israel, noting the West Bank, Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria. He claimed they were “necessary” to pressure Israel into stopping its attacks on the Gaza Strip by diverting Israeli forces to other arenas, causing economic damage to Israel and keeping Israel busy in dealing with civilians who had been forced to leave their homes in the north and south. He said that the “resistance” in Iraq and Syria was operating not only to remove American forces stationed in their countries but to help the Gaza Strip. He pointed out that according to Israel, Syria allowed a Hezbollah branch to attack Eilat from its territory, and that no one demanded more from Syria than that. He praised the Houthis in Yemen for launching [ballistic and cruise] missiles and suicide drones to attack Israel, some of which were intercepted by United States vessels “and even by Arab countries” (a reference to Saudi Arabia). Nevertheless, he claimed, Israel was vulnerable, but hid it. The activity of the “support fronts” forced Israel to allocate some of its resources, including Iron Dome aerial defense systems, to deal with the Houthi attacks along the southern front.
    • World public opinion has become hostile to Israel: Israel appears before the world “at the height of its barbarism,” revealing to the Arab and international public who it really is. That has united world public opinion, except for the United States and Great Britain, regarding the need for a ceasefire.
    • The United States is responsible for the events in Gaza: According to Nasrallah, the Israeli leadership is acting out of personal interests, but the main actor behind the war in Gaza is really the United States government. It is exerting heavy pressure on Lebanon and Iraq to stop their “resistance,” but the “resistance” will not stop its attacks. To the United States he said, “If you want the “resistance” to stop and to prevent regional deterioration, stop Israel’s hostilities.” Nasrallah also accused the United States of working to strengthen and revive ISIS in Syria.
    • A demand that the Arab League and the Islamic Summit pressure the United States to stop the fighting or at least open the Rafah Crossing: Referring to the Arab League and Islamic summit conference held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Nasrallah stated that the Palestinians did not demand that troops be sent to the region, but only that the Arab-Muslim world unite and demand the Americans immediately stop the war or at least open the Rafah Crossing.
    • Iranian aid for the “resistance”: Nasrallah thanked Iran for its permanent moral, material and military support to the “resistance.” He admitted it was now common knowledge that Iran was behind the “resistance” everywhere. He said the achievements of the “resistance” in the Middle East and Lebanon were due to Iran and personalities such as the late Qassem Soleimani, the former commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Qods Force
    • Israel has failed to produce an “picture of victory:” Nasrallah alleged that Israel committed indiscriminate “war crimes” against civilians, including attacking hospitals and civilian facilities, out of a spirit of boundless revenge. It was not just revenge, he claimed, but rather the desire to overcome and subjugate the Palestinians and the “peoples of the region,” so that they waive their rights and “resistance” [terrorist] strategy. He claimed that would not happen, as the Palestinians had not abandoned them in the past. On the contrary, the reaction to Israel’s conduct was an ever-increasing adherence to “resistance [terrorism] until the elimination of Israel.” He added there were Arab and foreign media correspondents who helped Israel with their reports, which sowed despair among the Arabs, while it was Israel which should despair in the face of growing “resistance.” He praised the “resistance” in the Gaza Strip, especially Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, for “fighting bravely” in problematic circumstances, and causing Israel, for all its elite units operating in the Gaza Strip, to fail to produce a “picture of victory” or a “picture of the surrender of Gazan ‘fighters.’“ He also claimed Israel lied about the number of its casualties, implying that the actual number was much higher.
    • Israel is “losing the war” and the pressure on it must continue: The war was causing Israel a number of problems, including the loss of billions of dollars, displaced residents from the north and south, international pressure and pressure from the families of the abductees. He said that the political, economic and military pressure on Israel had to continue to prevent it from achievements in combat. He also called on his supporters to pray for the victory of the “resistance” on all fronts.
    • Adherence to continuing the “resistance:” Nasrallah said Hezbollah would continue the path of resistance and of Hezbollah’s martyrs until victory, the destruction of Israel and the “liberation” of al-Aqsa Mosque.

[1] Click https://www.terrorism-info.org.il/en to subscribe and receive the ITIC's daily updates as well as its other publications.
[2] The “axis of resistance:” Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, the Palestinian terrorist organizations, the Houthis in Yemen and the pro-Iranian militias in Iraq.