Nasrallah says Israel wants cease-fire, U.S. opposed

By Yoav Stern

Haaretz

Av 5, 5766

Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah on Saturday vowed to fire rockets on communities in central Israel if the military operation in Lebanon continued, and accused Israel of being an American "slave."

"The bombardment of Afula and its military base is the beginning ... Many
cities in the center [of Israel] will be targeted in the 'beyond Haifa' phase if the savage aggression continues on our country, people and villages," Nasrallah said in a speech aired on Hezbollah's Al-Manar television.

"The Israelis are ready to halt the aggression because they are afraid of the unknown. The one pushing for the continuation of the aggression is the U.S. administration. Israel has been exposed as a slave of the U.S.," he said.

"There are developments on the diplomatic front, and attempts to end the crisis, thanks to our strong position. The enemy attained no military achievements. They admit this," Nasrallah said, claiming that Israel suffered a "serious defeat" in ground fighting around Bint Jbial.
Nasrallah said U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice aimed to impose conditions on Lebanon and to serve Israeli interests during her diplomatic mission to the region.

"Now Ms. Rice is returning to the region to try and impose her conditions again on Lebanon to serve her project, the new Middle East and to serve Israel," he said.

Nasrallah pledged to cooperate with the Lebanese government, which has presented a peace package that could lead to the eventual disarming of Hezbollah. The guerrilla group's politicians in the government agreed to the package.

Nasrallah did not mention the proposals specifically. But he suggested that Hezbollah would not follow through with disarmament if the government compromises on conditions outlined in the Lebanese proposal.

"We are keen to cooperate with the government," Nasrallah said. But "for Lebanon to win the battle, it needs political will no less than the will of the resistance fighters in the field ... The government is required to act in a way that reflects the Lebanese people's steadfastness and unity," he said.

"We have a historic opportunity in Lebanon to liberate every inch of our land, regain of our prisoners and guarantee our national sovereignty, so that our skies, water, land and our people are no longer subject to Zionist violation and aggression," he said.