Hezbollah Chief Condemns Normalization With Israel: 'Palestinians Should Not Be Afraid'

Hassan Nasrallah says U.S. sanctions on Iran have no impact on the Lebanese militia; warns his group would respond to any attacks from Israel.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah gives a speech, via a video link, in a southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, November 10, 2018.
Bilal Hussein,AP

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah warned the Palestinians on Saturday against reaching any deal with Israel.

His remarks, broadcast on a large screen to supporters in Beirut's southern district, were made as reports in recent days said Israel and Hamas are nearing an agreement, mediated by Egypt, about reducing the violence on the Israel-Gaza border and easing conditions in the Strip.

"We condemn any normalization with Israel, and call on the Palestinian people not to be afraid," Nasrallah said.

As for the gains by Bashar Assad against rebel forces, Nasrallah said that Israel has ties with opposition leaders in Syria. "If Syria and the Assad regime were to fall, we would have seen Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Damascus, because most of the opposition in Syria maintains ties with Israel," the head of the Iran-backed group said.

Nasrallah said that the sanctions the United States imposed on Iran had no effect on the Lebanese militia, saying Israel won't attack Lebanon out of fear of the group's rockets. He said that neither threats nor sanctions will force his group to give up its capabilities.

Nasrallah says Lebanon should not succumb to diplomatic pressure because "giving in" would permit Israel to attack Lebanon. Nasrallah said his group would respond to any attacks from Israel.

Hezbollah is proscribed as a terrorist group by the United States. The group last fought a major conflict with Israel in 2006, since when it has grown militarily stronger as a major participant in the Syrian war. 

Gaza authorities over the weekend paid salaries of some 30,000 Hamas government officials after a recent deal to transfer $15 million from Qatar.  Police forces, emergency rescue services and the security forces in Gaza are among those receiving payments.

The funds will also be used to pay compensations to families of those killed in mass demonstrations along the Gaza border with Israel. Some of the demonstrators have tried to breach the border fence and in more recent months, incendiary devices in the form of kites and balloons have been launched from Gaza to the Israel side of the border.

Wafa, the Palestinian Authority’s official news agency, which is closely associated with the office of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, took the unusual step on Friday of publishing a column accusing Hamas of what it called the sale of Palestinian blood for $15 million.

“Fifteen million dollars has been paid to Hamas at the expense of Palestinian blood, and the leadership of the organization is taking advantage of this money to continue with the Zionist-American plan to separate the Strip from the West Bank,” the column read.

With reporting by the Associated Press and Reuters