Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah delivered a speech on May 25 marking Liberation Day, when Israeli troops withdrew from southern Lebanon in 2000:
“In the name of God, the Holy, the merciful. I welcome you on [this] occasion. At first, I address all of you, all the Lebanese people and our Arab and Muslim nation, to congratulate everyone on the occasion of Liberation Day. This year we chose to celebrate the event in the Bekaa, in the town of Nabi Sheet, because we want to stress the partnership of the Bekaa in the liberation of the South, from now, until the goals are achieved. This town, was one of the first towns to believe in the Resistance. This town has been a warm lap to the displaced Lebanese [during the wars] and was a link between training camps [of Hezbollah] in time of occupation.
Brothers and sisters, on this occasion I would like to discuss the Palestinian issue, the situation in Syria and finally, the developments in Lebanon. I will stress the recent speeches made by the leaders of occupation: [US President Barack] Obama and [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu.
I will be brief. Liberation Day is not the occasion of a particular party or sect, but a national occasion, and the occasion of Palestinians. We are keen on making it a national occasion. If we want to turn it into a national holiday, the Lebanese people will find out about the greatness achieved on May 25, 2000, [when Israeli troops withdrew from South Lebanon].
What happened on May 25, 2000 changed the face of Lebanon and that of the region. Our nation needs triumphs in order to get rid of the [negative effects] of Nakba Day. When we see the stances that Obama and Netanyahu have taken, we become more certain of our beliefs. The developments in the last three decades proved that the correct choice and the realistic one is that of the ‘popular armed Resistance.’ The unrealistic, maddening, depressing…humiliating choice is that of negotiations. If we [made concessions in the 1980s], our territory would have been occupied by now. Israel would have built settlements that will have reached as far as the Litani river.
But the Resistance, through its sacrifices, has managed to excluded these possibilities and has brought our land back [to us]. [There is a] strategy used by [the Israelis] to make the Arabs think that their only option is to run away. In 2000, the Israelis were the ones that ran away. In 2000, the equation changed.
Israel, in the eyes of the world, is no longer unbeatable. Yesterday, I saw the fear in Netanyahu’s eyes when he was speaking to the US Congress about Hezbollah and Gaza’s rockets. I will move to the Palestinian issue: What did Obama and Netanyahu leave for the Palestinians, and the Palestinian Authority?
Obama, [on Sunday], reiterated his country’s commitment to Israeli security. Obama rejected the establishment of a Palestinian state and the reconciliation between the Fatah and Hamas movements. His earlier speech about establishing a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders did not even last for two days [before he changed his mind].
About Netanyahu, the Americans gave him a stand-up ovation at Congress, which means that all of the [US] parties support Netanyahu. Yesterday, American’s name was Netanyahu. After Netanyahu’s Tuesday demands from the Palestinians, what is left for those when they go to negotiations? See the lies [of Israel]. Yesterday, Obama and Netanyahu, both, launched a final strike against the  Arab Peace Initiative. I call on the Arab League to withdraw the Arab Peace Initiative after Obama and Netanyahu’s speeches.
We should be a nation that rejects negotiations and [only] back the Resistance. Again, on May 25, on the Day of Liberation, I tell you, the Palestinians only have the choice of Resistance to liberate their territory. I call on the entire nation to adopt the option of the Resistance, because what is happening is not a threat against the Palestinians only, but against the [Arab] nation as a whole.
Moving on, I would like to comment on some rumors about the developments happening in the Arab world [and about Hezbollah’s involvement in the events occurring in other Middle Eastern countries]. This is not true. There are reports that Hezbollah members are fighting in Yemen or in other countries. Also, about Syria, there are reports, namely on Al-Arabiya television, they broadcast that Hezbollah sent 3500 fighters to Damascus [in order to suppress the anti-regime protests]. This is unfounded.
Those newswires, such as the Lebanese Forces website, said that there are Hezbollah members deployed as snipers on the roofs of buildings in Syria. Denying these reports is very important: I tell all those liars in the media and journalists who write after having been funded by [the US], I tell them that the events happening in the Arab world are not our responsibility. But, in case we deploy our fighters in other countries, we, in Hezbollah, have the courage to publically announce where our fighters are deployed. Secondly, our party’s standpoint regarding the Arab revolutions is based on two issues: the country’s stance on the Arab-Israeli conflict and the degree of corruption in the country.
In all cases, the people of these states [witnessing protests] know better. All we look for is to attain a certain degree of harmony between the Arab states and their people and to have these governments [willing] to fulfill the needs of their people. However, we need to warn that Israeli and the US want to confiscate [the process of decision making in the Arab world].
Yesterday, [Israeli PM Benjamin] Netanyahu insulted all Arabs when he said that 300 million Arabs do not benefit from democracy but that there are one million Arabs in Israel that benefit from democracy. We tell Netanyahu: no. We, in Lebanon, have democracy and freedom. The US should respect the will of the people and withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan. I tell the people to beware of the US policies in the region.
Regarding the Syrian developments: Syria in Lebanon has offered a lot, it prevented the country from falling into a divide and helped strongly preserve national unity in Lebanon. Syria backed Lebanon and its Resistance. We cannot forget how much Syria embraced Lebanon. When we express our concerns about Syria, we express our concerns about its regime and its people, and we would worry about what is being plotted against Syria and its people. Secondly, the position of Syria in relation to Israel and the resilience of Syria. Thirdly, Syria’s position in light of the [US] project of a new Middle East. Also, our stance regarding Syria takes into account the regime’s willingness to make reforms.
We believe in Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and believe in his reforms and that he is willing to achieve it, providing this issue happens peacefully.
There is data that proves that the majority of the Syrian people still support the regime. Bringing down the Syrian regime benefits Israel and the US. Our standpoint with regard to the Syrian developments also takes into account Lebanese. Syrian relations and Lebanon’s commitments to Syria, including the Taif Accord. These factors impose on all of us, to take the following standpoint: Firstly, to be devoted to the security of Syria, its regime and its people. Secondly, to call on the Syrians to preserve their regime and give it a chance to achieve reforms and opt for dialogue. Thirdly, to not interfere in what is going on in Syria and allow the Syrians to manage their affairs on their own. Fourthly, to reject any sanctions promoted by the West against Syria and have a firm Lebanese stance regarding this issue. Lebanon should not in any way stab Syria [in the back] and be subject to US interests.
I move on to the Lebanese developments: I stop at the accusations of Obama that Hezbollah carries out political assassinations. The US aggression against Hezbollah is nothing new. Those comments are not based on any evidence and come to confirm what is plotted by means of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) [probing the 2005 assassination of former PM Rafik Hariri]. We thank Obama for speaking on the behalf of the STL. When a killer [the US] stands to accuse us of murder, do not bother. Obama did not accuse us [of murder] but issued a verdict against us.
When an enemy launches [verbal] attacks against us, we are proud of that, because it means that we have an importance in the equation. When the devil lauds you, you should be scared. But when the devil attacks you, you should be happy.
About the formation of a new Lebanese cabinet [headed by PM-designate Najib Mikati], one of the benefits of the delay in the cabinet formation is that it shows you how much [Hezbollah’s rivals] deal with the party. When the cabinet of [outgoing PM Saad Hariri] collapsed [in January], [the Western-backed March 14] parties accused Hezbollah of staging a coup. But now they stopped making such statements. The delay shows that there is no coup because the cabinet has not yet been formed.
It is not true that Hezbollah wants to control the Lebanese government. Second, there are foreign and US demands [placed on the parties concerned in the formation of the cabinet]. Why did US Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly visit Mikati and President Michel Sleiman? This is to remind that there is [US] pressure exerted on the cabinet formation. [Saad Hariri’s] cabinet was formed after five months of delay and not more because Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdel Aziz and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad personally intervened to speed up the cabinet formation.
If we look at the March 14 stances, whatever happens, they accuse Hezbollah of obstructing the state or of delaying the cabinet formation. This shows you that the rival parties have already taken an anticipated position [against Hezbollah]. They always hold us responsible. I would like to say that we believe in the need to form a cabinet soon and that the cabinet is the basic institution designed to resolve problems occurring in the country. We also act based on the idea of a strong and responsible cabinet, and because we do not want a substitute for the [Lebanese] state. We are the first Resistance that triumphs [against Israel] and does not demand shares in the government or power.
We will keep on making efforts, and we will not give up, but we will not pressure anyone. Eventually, there will be a result and dialogue with our allies. In a country like Lebanon, no majority can exclusively rule. There should be a ‘protected political cabinet’ or a national-unity cabinet in the country. We reject the formation of a technocratic cabinet because Lebanon is a political country to the bone.
We support Speaker Nabih Berri’s call to convene the parliament [before the new cabinet is formed]. The Resistance will remain. We are not afraid of Obama, Netanyahu or anyone. Yesterday, Netanyahu increased our convictions [in the strength of] our rockets. I tell Netanyahu, who is scared of these missiles, that the rockets are not just 12,000. They exist and will remain. No one in Lebanon, or in the world will ever be able to take these rockets away from us. Those rockets are our money and dignity. This Resistance will remain loyal to its past and to the blood of its martyrs, and I repeat , on May 25, 2011, the time of victories has come and that of losses has faded away. After 11 years [of liberation], I tell you that Israel is [weaker] than a spider web.
We can see that we are closer to achieving victory and the US and Israel’s [agenda] in the region will not yield results. May peace and mercy of God be with you.”