Nasrallah Repeats Denial Bishara Aided Hezbollah During War

Ex-MK accused of selling Hezbollah sensitive information; Hezbollah chief: Israel followed U.S. orders in war.

Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, in remarks broadcast Sunday, denied Israeli charges that former MK Azmi Bishara helped the Lebanese group aim rockets at targets in Israel during last year's Second Lebanon War.

"All that is said about his ties to Hezbollah and providing information to Hezbollah is absolutely not true," Nasrallah said, referring to Bishara, who has been accused of treason by the Israeli police.

On Saturday, Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Kassem also denied that his organization paid off or received intelligence reports from Bishara during war.

Israel alleges Bishara supplied Hezbollah with sensitive intelligence, and suggested ways of causing more harm to Israel.

"I categorically and absolutely deny this," Nasrallah told the Iranian state television's Arabic-language station, Al-Alam. "All the accusations about contacts and giving information to Hezbollah are not true."

Bishara left Israel a month earlier after being questioned twice by investigators and later resigned his parliament seat. Police said he would be arrested immediately if he returns to Israel.

Nasrallah said Bishara was being pursued by Israel's government for his political views. He added that Hezbollah did not need the military information, "he's not of use to be an informant," Nasrallah said.

"His personality is not that of an informant. ... He is a well-known man, a thinker with a cause who says his conviction and ideas with known courage," the Hezbollah chief said. "They are holding him accountable for his political ideas."

"Israel was fed up with him [Bishara] so they fabricated those accusations against him," Nasrallah said.

In an interview earlier this month from Amman, Jordan, Bishara said he was a victim of political persecution. Bishara has pledged to come back to face his accusers, but did not say when he would return to Israel.

Also Sunday, Nasrallah told Hezbollah's Al-Manar television that the United States had initiated the war between Israel and Hezbollah last summer, and that Israel had only been following orders, Israel Radio reported.

According to the report, he added that if the confidential portions of the Winograd war inquiry report were to be released, the Israeli public would learn of the secret meetings that were held between the U.S., Israel and Arab nations wanting to harm Hezbollah. He urged the Israeli public to demand the publication of the entire report, instead of celebrating the fact that it was published in the first place.

Nasrallah concluded that though Israel did not collapse in the wake of the war, it definitely suffered a defeat.

Hezbollah rejects Security Council intervention on Hariri tribunal

Earlier Sunday, Nasrallah rejected the possibility of a UN Security Council intervention to create an international tribunal in the assassination of a former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri without first receiving the country's approval.

"We consider that any resolution issued by the Security Council [on the tribunal] is illegitimate and illegal and has no value because it violates the Lebanese national interest," Nasrallah said in an interview with Iran's Arabic-language state television station, Al-Alam.

The comments by Nasrallah amounted to a warning by the Iranian-backed and Syrian-backed group to the United Nations that could undermine the tribunal if it is created without agreement between the government and the Hezbollah-backed opposition.

Lebanon's parliamentary majority has demanded that the Security Council act to impose the tribunal in the assassination of Hariri after the Hezbollah-led opposition balked at approving it. The matter has since been stalled in Parliament.