August 28, 2006
Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah Hezbollah leader granted long interview with the "NEW Television" station, according to the female reporter that did the interview, she had been rushed to the location on very short notice.
Nasrallah described the main success of Hezbollah as being the prevention of Israel‘s advancement any further into Lebanon, and he said that the movement‘s fighters are stationed in positions close to the border with Israel.
It would be impossible, he added, to disarm the groups in southern Lebanon since most of its fighters there are residents of the area.
Nasrallah discuss at length his general outlook on developments in Lebanon. He reiterated the Hezbollah claim that Israel planned to carry out an offensive against the organization in September or October, and explained that the decision to attack Hezbollah immediately following the raid forced the IDF into a premature operation that had been stripped of its element of surprise.
The Hezbollah leader said that the events that followed the abduction of the soldiers were also unexpected, and added that the Israeli operation in which a tank entered Lebanon and was destroyed by a mine complicated the situation with the deaths of additional Israeli soldiers.
Nasrallah also commented that negotiations for the release of the abducted IDF soldiers have already begun. Nasrallah also said he did not believe there would be a second round of fighting with Israel, and stated that Hezbollah would adhere to the cease-fire despite what he called Israeli provocation. "Contacts recently began for negotiations," he stated. "It seems that Italy is trying to get involved in the subject.
Hezbollah would not have abducted two Israel Forces soldiers on July 12 had it known that the action would lead to war in Lebanon, Hassan Nasrallah said. "We did not think that the capture would lead to a war at this time and of this magnitude. You ask me if I had known on July 11 that the operation would lead to such a war, would I do it? I say no, absolutely not," he said. Responding to a question concerning whether he will meet Annan, Nasrallah smiled and said that it would be difficult to bring the official to the site of the interview secretly, like the reporter was shuttled there. Nasrallah added that he was unlikely to emerge in public in the foreseeable future. The Hezbollah leader warned Israel not to target any of Hezbollah‘s leadership "for the health and benefit of the Israelis."
He said that due to the efforts of Israel to reconstruct the North, it is unlikely that there are plans for another Israeli offensive. However, he warned that as long as Israeli soldiers are deployed in Lebanese territory, Hezbollah retained the right to attack back.