Hezbollah Chief: Obama, Netanyahu Dealt Mortal Blow to Peace Process

Sheik Hassan Nasrallah says U.S. and Israel have the same goals; the Hezbollah leader spoke on 'Liberation Day,' marking the withdrawal of the IDF from southern Lebanon in 2000.

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Hezbollah's leader lashed out at U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday, saying that Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have dealt a "mortal blow" to the peace process.

Sheik Hassan Nasrallah spoke on "Liberation Day," which mark the withdrawal of the Israeli army from southern Lebanon in 2000.

Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah addresses his supporters through a giant screen during a rally in Beirut's suburb, March 19, 2011.Credit: Reuters

"Negotiations (with Israel) are the crazy and futile option that don't achieve any results," Nasrallah said.

Nasrallah slammed President Barack Obama for a speech he gave to AIPAC on Wednesday, saying Obama and Israel have the same goals and adding that Hezbollah has "no fear of Obama or Netanyahu."

"We do not fear their threats...or accusations...or their warships," Nasrallah said. "We have more than 12,000 rockets. These rockets will stay and no one will dismantle them," he said. "These are our pride and dignity."

He also mocked the standing ovations given to Netanyahu Tuesday in Congress.

"Yesterday, America's name was Netanyahu," Nasrallah said.

Obama last week endorsed a return to Israel's pre-1967 borders, along with mutually agreed-to land swaps, as the starting point for peace talks with Palestinians. That stance initially angered Israel, although nerves have calmed as Obama emphasized that his position reflected the stance of previous U.S. administrations.

The Palestinians rejected Netanyahu's speech to the U.S. congress on Wednesday, saying that it "contained nothing we can build on."

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas convened a meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization in Ramallah, where he said he would seek UN recognition of Palestinian statehood if there was no breakthrough in the peace process by September.

He said he would consult Arab states over the weekend on Obama's latest ideas for restarting the peace process and Netanyahu's negative response to them, referring to Netanyahu's refusal to return to "indefensible" borders of 1967.

Syrian people should give Assad "a chance"

Regarding Lebanon's neighbour, Syria, Nasrallah said that toppling Assad's regime "is in the American and Israeli interest."

While praising uprisings that toppled longtime dictators in Egypt and Tunisia, Nasrallah urged the Syrian people to protect their country and give a chance to the Syrian leadership to implement reforms.

"We are worried about what is being plotted for the regime in Syria and the Syrian people," Nasrallah said, echoing Assad's claims that the events in Syria were a foreign conspiracy aimed at weakening the country's leadership.

Nasrallah rejected U.S. and Western sanctions on Syrian leaders.

"President Bashar Assad believes in reform and is serious and ready to go a long way toward reforms, but in a calm and responsible manner," he said.

"We should all cooperate so that Syria may emerge strong and immune," Nasrallah said.



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