Hezbollah leader both threatens Tel Aviv and offers ceasefire

Thursday, August 3, 2006

Hizbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in a taped 45 minute televised speech the group would target Tel Aviv if Israel attacked central Beirut. Nasrallah confirmed for the first time that Hizbollah has longer-range missiles capable of hitting Tel Aviv 130 km (80 miles) from the border. "If you bomb our capital Beirut, we will bomb the capital of your usurping entity… We will bomb Tel Aviv."

Nasrallah also offered his first gesture toward ceasefire. “Any time you decide to stop your campaign against our cities, villages, civilians and infrastructure, we will not fire rockets on any Israeli settlement or city,” “The only choice before you is to stop your aggression and turn to negotiations to end this folly.”

Nasrallah said he held President Bush responsible for the war in Lebanon and claimed the U.S. was blocking the path to a cease-fire. "Lebanon will never be pro-American or pro-Israeli. Lebanon will not be part of the `new Middle East' that Bush and Condoleezza Rice want," he said.

The statement was broadcast on Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV and on all other Lebanese and Arab satellite channels and parts of the speech was sent on Israeli television channels.

A highly-positioned IDF officer said Israel will retaliate harshly against an attack on Tel Aviv and will destroy the entire infrastructure in Lebanon according to Channel One's Mabat news program.

David Baker, an official in the Prime Minister's Office said today "The Israeli government, along with the Israeli people are fully determined to break this Hezbollah threat and to restore quiet to Israel's north. We will seek and pursue Hezbollah without relenting and we will put an end to these murderous attacks,"

Though the official position of the Israeli government do not support a cease fire between Israel and Hizbollah the leader of the Degel HaTorah political party as well as the ultra-Orthodox Lithuanian community in Israel expressed his support of a cease fire. Rabbi Yosef Shalom Eliashiv said recently "the decision makers must take into account the position of the world nations. They shouldn't ignore or take lightly the ideas raised by other nations. If the United States raises solutions that could bring about the end of the war and save Jewish lives, they should be heeded. No offer or idea should be dismissed offhand. We mustn't anger the nations of the world."