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Sayyed Nasrallah’s Full Speech on Resistance and Liberation Day, 2019

Sayyed Nasrallah’s Full Speech on Resistance and Liberation Day, 2019
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Translated by Staff

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s speech on the occasion of Resistance & Liberation Day 

25-5-2019

In the name of Allah the Most Gracious, the Merciful. Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, and prayers and peace be upon our Master and Prophet, the Seal of the Prophets, Abi al-Qassim Mohammad bin Abdullah and his good and pure household and his good and chosen companions and all the prophets and messengers.

Peace and Allah's mercy and blessings be upon you all.

Before I delve into today’s speech on the occasion of the 19th anniversary of the Resistance and Liberation Day, it is my duty to first and foremost express my condolences to all Muslims on the martyrdom anniversary of Amir al-Mu'minin [the Commander of the Faithful], Imam Ali bin Abi Talib (PBUH). On days like these, the Commander of the Faithful (PBUH) was struck in the head while he was in a mihrab [niche] at the [Great] Mosque of Kufa. His unjust martyrdom came a few days later. This year marks the 1400th anniversary of his martyrdom. The Imam was martyred on AH 40 and now we are in AH 1440. 1400 years have passed since this great and painful event. Of course, even though it has been 1400 years, yet Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (PBUH) is still present in history, in conscience, in thought, in culture, in emotion, in events, in the centrality of events and in the outlook for the future. From the start, this has always reflected the greatness of this figure in faith, patience, courage, jihad, sacrifice, knowledge, fighting, leadership, humility, morality, worship, in everything that is good in the perfect human being and Allah Almighty’s Awliya [custodians]. He was a great and bright figure, who remained bright and will remain so until the occurrence of the Hour. No figure in human history has been subjected to defamation and insults as Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (PBUH). His virtues were prevented from being mentioned while lies and misinformation about him were spread. He was subjected to this for hundreds of years. However, all the attempts of defamation failed to erase a large part of this great Imam’s true and bright image.

I extend my sincerest condolences on the martyrdom of this great Imam, Mujahid and custodian of the message of Islam.

Now we return to the occasion. For us in Lebanon and in the region, the commemoration of May 25, 2000 is the anniversary of the liberation of the bulk of our land in southern Lebanon. It also marks the defeat and unconditional expulsion of the Zionist enemy and its agents from our lands. It was a great and historic victory. I congratulate you all on today’s 19th anniversary. We did not host a celebration because it is the month of Ramadan, and we usually burden people with events. [This year] May 25th fell during the month of Ramadan. Probably next year, it will also be [in the month of Ramadan]. We will mark this occasion with a televised speech in order to give priority to taking part in the Al-Quds Day commemorations. God willing we will hold a great mass celebration in the Ashura courtyard in [Beirut’s] southern suburbs next Friday evening, the last Friday of the Holy Month of Ramadan. I call for popular participation. We scheduled it at nigh in order not to burden people as much as possible. But I appeal to everyone to take part in this broad public celebration due to the importance of this year’s event. 

We have all heard US officials talk about launching the so-called “deal of the century” after the Holy Month of Ramadan. The first step has been announced: holding the economic conference in the Bahraini capital Manama. There are other steps that will follow. Therefore, we are all concerned with shouldering the historic responsibility in the face of this ominous deal aimed at liquidating the Palestinian cause. This year, the main theme of Al-Quds Day will be confronting the “deal of the century” in order to preserve the Palestinian cause, to preserve al-Quds, defend al-Quds and the Muslim and Christian sanctities in it, preserve and defend the rights of the Palestinian people as well as the future, security, peace, sovereignty and the wealth of the people of the region.  

Thus, this is a very important and great occasion. It must be given interest in Palestine, Lebanon and the Arab world. It usually receives a great deal of attention in the Islamic Republic and foreign capitals. Hopefully, this matter will be given greater interest this year because Palestine, al-Quds and the Palestinian cause are facing the greatest conspiracy aimed at liquidating them. It is done by utilizing the American arrogance, taking advantage of the divisions in the region and the repercussions of what came to be known in our region as the Arab Spring.

But before I turn to our occasion, I would like to pay tribute to and commend the people of the region as well as the unanimous, unified and resolute Palestinian stance taken by all the Palestinian people, the different resistance factions and the Palestinian authority regarding the economic conference in Bahrain. The Palestinian people everywhere rejected this conference and decided not to participate in it. They called on everyone to boycott this conference. They articulated abundant reservations about this conference, which underscores the extent of the Palestinian stance. This is the true position, a king’s position. Usually, when it comes to us and other supporters of the Palestinian cause taking a particular stance, we are often asked if we are greater than the king. 

This is the king. The king is the Palestinian people. It is the decisive, unanimous Palestinian position that is boycotting and confronting the economic conference in Bahrain, which is the first step in the deal of the century. We should also pay tribute and commend the positions of Bahrain's scholars, the Bahraini people and the political forces in Bahrain, who also expressed through speeches and statements their rejection of Bahrain and Manama being the land that hosts the first step of the deal of the century, which is aimed at liquidating the Palestinian cause.
 
In any case, we will talk about this on al-Quds Day, God willing. On al-Quds Day we will tackle Palestine, the deal of the century, the developments in the region, including rising tensions over the American-Iranian issue as well as what the Islamic Republic of Iran is being subjected to, the many analyses, readings, expectations and positions, especially those related to Hezbollah. There is undoubtedly a great deal of rejection to this position and there are a lot of embassies, intelligence apparatuses and regional and international sides that have been working to understand the truth about our position in the past few weeks.  I believe that some main aspects of what is happening in the Gulf region and the targeting of the Islamic Republic are strongly linked to the deal of the century. 

Today I would like to talk about the occasion and its relation to Lebanon as well as one headline related to Syria.

Back to the occasion, there is no doubt that this is a very great, historic, national day for Lebanon and the region. It is also a historic day with regard to the equations in the Arab-“Israeli” conflict. What happened on May 25, 2000 had great strategic results at the military, battlefield, security, psychological, moral, spiritual, political and cultural levels and on the whole equation of the conflict in our region. As usual, we have to thank and extend our appreciation and gratitude to a group of people who made sacrifices and give them credit. Their sacrifices played a great role in making this victory possible. These include the martyrs and their families, the wounded and the prisoners who spent their youth in the occupation’s prisons. Of course, praise be to Allah for giving them their freedom. However, there are some brethren whose cases have not been addressed yet. The missing persons and their families, the resistance fighters, the mujahideen and the fighters from all factions, parties and movements and the patient people have all made sacrifices and were steadfast. They have borne a lot during the years of the resistance. We also have to commend the people who expressed their support through words, actions, money and prayers as well as any other form of embrace of the resistance in recent years years. When we talk about all the different parties, we have to mention all the Lebanese factions, the Lebanese army, the Lebanese security forces, the different Lebanese security institutions, the Palestinian factions and the Syrian Arab army while it was stationed in Lebanon as well as everyone who made sacrifices. We should also mention those who stood by our side from 1982 until 2000 and still do. They were fundamental partners in attaining victory as they provided political, moral and material support. They provided facilities, protection and support. These two countries are the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Syrian Arab Republic. 

One of the most important outcomes of the 2000 victory was the creation of the power equation in Lebanon. In 2000 as the “Israelis” were defeated, it became clear that there was a force in Lebanon that expelled the “Israeli” enemy, defeated and humiliated it. The “Israelis” did not gain anything and were unable to impose any conditions, security arrangements, or secure trophies and rewards. On the contrary, they left humiliated. The “Israelis” unanimously agree on this.

In an attempt to diminish the victory, it was said at the time that it was the result of settlements and agreements and an “Israeli” commitment to Resolution 425. However, this did not last long because it was a mirage, a deception and a lie. It had no basis in truth. The whole world, including the “Israelis” acquiesced, acknowledged and accepted that what happened on May 25, 2000 was a complete defeat for the “Israeli” enemy. It was a great, clear and decisive victory for Lebanon, the Lebanese people, the resistance in Lebanon, the Lebanese army and for everyone who participated in creating this achievement and victory.

Accordingly and as I have said, there was a driving force present. This force defeated the enemy. Thus, Lebanon is no longer seen as the weak link in the Arab-“Israeli” conflict or as the basic point of weakness of the nation or the region. This is over. Now, Lebanon is seen as having a great position of strength. This is not merely a claim of mine. “Israeli” officials, the “Israeli” enemy, the politicians, the military, the security personnel, the journalists and press, research centers and conferences that are held all year round in the entity, the maneuvers and the measures taken along the border all confirm that the “Israeli” enemy is dealing seriously and around the clock with the fact that there is a real force in Lebanon, which it has long called a strategic threat or a central threat.

I will get back to the threat. The enemy recognizes this force. The whole world recognizes this force. The Americans recognize this force too. That is why they are always discussing how to get rid of it. When they talk about Hezbollah, for example, as a backbone of the new Lebanese equation, formed after 2000, they are talking about how to get rid of Hezbollah. They are talking about assassination attempts, sanctions, isolation, terror designations, blockades and even an all-out war. They have tested all these, but Hezbollah was obstinate to all these conspiracies and all these tribulations.

Thus, the enemy recognizes the existence of this force and the great transformation that took place in Lebanon. In fact, the events that unfolded in Lebanon after 2000 were consolidated following the resistance’s victory after 2006. It is a great testament for us when the “Israelis” today talk about this force, precisely Hezbollah, as a strategic threat or a central threat to “Israel”. We take pride in this. I would like to present this in a positive and patriotic sense, from our point of view and not the enemy’s. The “Israelis” present us as a strategic threat or a central threat to provoke people against us. But let us present it in a positive sense, from our point of view. In a positive sense, what the enemy calls a threat, we call a defense force, a prevention, repelling, protective and deterrent force. This means that Hezbollah, as part of the Lebanese force that was established after 2000, is a part of the deterrence, protection and prevention force that will prevent the “Israeli” enemy from achieving any of its ambitions or issue any threats. We are all aware that until now the enemy has ambitions on our land, in our waters, in our country and within our borders, even along border areas. I will talk about this in a little while. 

The “Israeli” enemy is still debating over some points that are strategic points for Lebanon, including the issue of the Shebaa Farms and the strategic and security value it holds as well as the issue of maritime, oil and gas resources. The enemy's ambitions go beyond these borders. In any case, it has ambitions. It is forcefully trying to impose its preferences on our country, our people and the Lebanese state. This force is confronting it. While the enemy recognizes this force and attempts to end it, remove it and get rid of it, we as Lebanese have to recognize the importance of this force in preserving Lebanon’s sovereignty, safety, security, resources, present and future. We have to work to preserve this force that we called the golden equation – the army, the people, the resistance. We must preserve this force so that we can confront the ambitions and the threats. With this force, we were able to liberate our land. Imagine if there was no resistance in Lebanon and if there was no liberation in 2000. Imagine if the “Israeli” occupation forces continued to control, at the very least, our lands in southern Lebanon until today. 
Won’t we be witnessing today Mr. Trump gifting southern Lebanon or large parts of southern Lebanon to the “Israelis” the way he gave away al-Quds and the Golan and will give away the West Bank – the way his predecessors gave away the lands in 1948?

Today, this resistance, as part of this fundamental Lebanese force, the defense, deterrence, protection, repelling, prevention and confrontation force, is the force that we must be keen to preserve as much as we can. When we find that our enemies are targeting it with all means to get rid of it, we must know that they are working for their own benefit. Hence, we, as Lebanese, will act from our national and sovereign position, our moral position and our interest – our interest as Lebanese in security, safety and wellness, in preserving the land, capabilities, blood, honor, dignity, pride and freedom. We have to be strong. This is our real guarantee.

During today’s occasion, I must emphasize that now more than ever it appears that there is no place in this world for international law, international resolutions, the UN Security Council or international institutions. There is only place for arrogance and the Zionist-American tyranny. There is also place for the resistance fighters, the strong, those holding on to their rights and those ready to defend and sacrifice to attain their rights. The rest are the victims. They have no place in the equations. They have to pay money and bear the consequences. Eventually, they will be disposed of when they become mere burdens.

From this occasion, I would like to quickly tackle some related topics.

The first point: on the occasion of the 19th anniversary of the resistance and liberation, we must emphasize our commitment to the Shebaa Farms, the Kfar Shuba Hills and the Lebanese part of the town of Ghajar as well as the statement issued by His Excellency President Michel Aoun yesterday on this issue. It was strong, decisive and clear. So was the statement issued by the Lebanese army leadership in which it declared its unequivocal commitment. This was a good literature. This is what was stated in the literature: the Shebaa Farms, the Hills of Kfar Shuba and the rest of the occupied territories must be liberated, whatever the sacrifices, no matter the price. This was the content. As a text, it can be referred to and is definitely strong in substance.

Today, we affirm our natural right to this land as our land. [We also affirm] our natural right to exercise resistance, all forms of resistance and to utilize every means to liberate what remains occupied of our Lebanese territories.

The second point: the demarcation of the border. Now, one of the points of strength of course is that there is a common background between the Lebanese officials, specifically between the three leaders on this issue. Regarding what is happening, the resistance supports the position of the state and stands behind it as we declared previously. The resistance and the Lebanese people certainly trust that the leaders and state officials will fully adhere to the rights in the land, water and natural resources. They look forward to their management, persistence and bearing the historical responsibility in managing the negotiations regarding this file. Lebanon here is depending on two forces in this negotiation:

-    The force of rights because what Lebanon is demanding is its right.
-    And the force of strength present in Lebanon, which I spoke about a while ago.

Lebanon, today, is not standing before “Israel” from a position of weakness. No Lebanese should feel that his country is in a position of weakness or that his state is in a position of weakness. No, today they are afraid and worried about what is in Lebanon. Just as they can prevent Lebanon from getting oil and gas, Lebanon, too, can prevent them from obtaining oil and gas. I do not need to issue new threats. The “Israeli” enemy and the Americans know these equations well. Thus, as long as the state and state officials rely on the power of rights and the power of strength, we are supposed to hold on to our rights and to share the optimism of Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri over the possibility of achieving a great victory regarding this file, God willing.

The third point: the issue of resettlement. I would like to point out that the economic conference in Bahrain as well as the economic orientation that is to be discussed there and some forms of exhortation and financial incentives here and there may open the door to the issue of naturalizing the Palestinian brothers in Lebanon and the rest of the countries they reside in. In addition, the restrictions that UNRWA is being subjected to may lead to disruption or its suspension.

Similar to the issue of the demarcation of the border, there is common ground at the national level in Lebanon. Although they disagree on many points and issues, the Lebanese are united and unanimously reject the resettlement [of Palestinians], constitutionally, politically, nationally and on every level. There is also common ground with our Palestinian brethren. All the Palestinians, the Palestinian factions, the Palestinian people, the Palestinian refugees and the Palestinian brothers who are in Lebanon are unanimous in rejecting resettlement. They insist on their right to return to their land, to Palestine, to their homes and properties.

Hence, this is the common ground. Now, we are at a stage where it is not enough to say that we are all against resettlement.

The threat of resettlement seems to be approaching, O Lebanese and Palestinians in Lebanon.
 
That is why I call for a quick meeting that does not require negotiations, a dialogue table, conferences or long days. Lebanese officials and Palestinian officials in Lebanon should hold a meeting to seriously discuss and develop a plan to confront the dangers of the coming and creeping resettlement.

This, of course, is different from the Lebanese-Palestinian dialogue committee, which discussed long and detailed issues. I also propose that it include high-level officials. We must be careful today. It is not enough to issue a statement, or you issue a statement, or our Palestinian brother issue a statement. Great! In the statements, we are all against resettlement. But what is the joint Lebanese-Palestinian plan? We need a joint plan to confront the danger of the creeping resettlement. We should all sit down. The concerned Lebanese and Palestinian officials should sit down and draw up a plan. We are ready to provide any ideas, proposals and practical contributions and to certainly be part of this basic national confrontation.

The fourth point: the displaced Syrian people. I have referred to the subject of Syria. Although this topic deserves to be talked about for a whole hour because I am familiar with the boring details, I will only the Lebanese that everyone in Lebanon agrees on this issue. This is also a common ground. I am trying to be positive today and look for common ground among all the Lebanese. Apparently all the Lebanese are unanimous and say that they want to help repatriate the Syrian brothers and displaced families to their country.

But we disagree. We agree on the principle and disagree regarding the means or methods.

Let us be clear with each other and not invent points, we claim are the points of disagreement. The real reason is a political reason. It is related to the coming presidential elections in Syria. President Bashar al-Assad’s term will end in 2021. Regardless of Astana or Geneva or whether a constitutional committee was formed or not, or whether a political solution was reached or not, the presidential elections will take place as scheduled.
 
We must be clear with the Lebanese people today, who unanimously agree on addressing this file. The suffering is a common suffering. The Syrians are suffering because of the displacement. Only a few of them sorted out their lives and they have shops, restaurants and a source of income. There are few whose situations are comfortable and are doing well.

But many displaced Syrians suffer from the plight of displacement. The displaced Syrians are suffering, and the Lebanese in different areas today are also suffering. At some point, some tried unfortunately to give the disagreement over the issue of the displaced a sectarian or regional dimension.
 
Today, the Lebanese in all regions and from all sects are also suffering from the consequences of this displacement. They are suffering economically, socially and at the security level. You know the details of this displacement, and you hear them daily on the news. We know the details.

Why do the suffering of Syrian refugees continue in Lebanon? Why do the Lebanese continue to suffer? Why should all these burdens continue to be shouldered by both sides? For a simple reason. This is the truth. The fact is that the US, the West and some Gulf countries at least do not want the displaced Syrians to return to their country or at the very least not to return before the Syrian presidential elections.

The reason is political. It is not related to humanitarian issues. On the contrary, the humanitarian issues impose that people return to their homes, to shops, to fields, to families and homeland.  It is not related to security reasons.

All those who have returned to Syria are living in Syria like the rest of the Syrians. What some Lebanese officials tried to spread that there are killings and liquidations are just rumors and lies. I demand as I did away from the media that some of the state officials investigate these allegations. These are serious allegations. In fact, these allegations are directed at all the Lebanese political forces that supported and contributed to the repatriation, mainly at a major, important and respected security institution in Lebanon, the General Directorate of General Security in Lebanon. It took the responsibility of the file as a priority. These are allegations to intimidate the displaced Syrians from returning to their country. They are not based on facts. They only serve the political objective I talked about just a little while ago.

During a meeting with Mr. President Bashar Assad a few years ago and not now, I spoke with him frankly and asked him: ‘Do you want the displaced people in Lebanon to return to Syria? So that we can understand each other because we are friends and allies and no one wants to hurt the other.’

He told me: ‘Frankly and sincerely, yes. We want everyone to return to Syria, and we are ready to offer all the facilities for everyone’s return to Syria.’

What is preventing their return today? The reason is political. Is it acceptable for Lebanon, the Lebanese state, and the Lebanese government to submit to this political consideration? Or put it before humanitarian, security and economic considerations only because the US, the West and some Gulf countries forced Lebanon to prevent the repatriation of the displaced Syrians? What is happening in Lebanon is hindering the return of displaced Syrians. It is not like there is a voluntary return for those who want to go back and for those who want to stay can stay. No, there is hindrance. One form of hindrance is intimidation exercised by some Lebanese officials and media. Another form of hindrance is the temptation to stay in Lebanon.  
 
Therefore, this hindrance should stop. We must not be content with issuing statements. Today, of course, no one or not any political force in Lebanon can say we want to resettle the Syrians in Lebanon. We do not want the return of the displaced Syrians. No one would dare say this even if they indirectly want to.

Everyone says they should return [to Syria] and we should help them return. I think after discussions on the Lebanese government budget, Lebanese political forces should also seriously discuss this subject and not just take positions. The regional and international scene has become clear. The Lebanese delegations and the conferences that were held and the communication that took place with other countries… I think what I am saying now on television is that it has become a certainty for Lebanese officials, months ago at the very least if not for years.

But at the very least, for the past few months it has become clear to all Lebanese officials that there is a political hindrance. How will we act, and how will we deal with this matter, which is a very important national matter?
 
The last point: The fight against corruption, the financial situation and the budget. We will speak briefly about this in the time that remains.

As everyone knows during similar days we had parliamentary elections. Among the things we committed to and announced is that we will be part of the process of fighting corruption, ending waste and addressing the financial waste in the Lebanese state.

Of course, we said from the start that this matter requires time, patience, effort and information. It also requires files to be formed as well as tools, elements and causes for confrontation. Every battle has its information, its files, its means and various causes.

From the start, we said that it requires time and patience. One or two weeks later, we’ve already been asked where we stand, what we’ve done, and what we’ve accomplished. I was clear and transparent when I said that this battle is more difficult than the battle to liberate the south. Victory was achieved on May 25, 2000. But achieving this victory will be more difficult and complicated than that victory. That is why this matter requires time. I have pointed out to everyone’s efforts and cooperation in the resistance’s battle. When it is over, one or two factions will continue in the resistance while the rest will be occupied with something else. But in the battle to combat corruption, one or two factions are not enough to fight corruption which is rooted in the state and culture. It needs a national renaissance, national resistance and a national strategy. We have been and will be an essential, advanced and strong part in this battle and in this confrontation.

In any case, during the past period, we … I would like to briefly summarize this file and say: Hezbollah's position was able to contribute strongly to creating a great national climate and a formal, partisan, popular and media climate for the issue of combating corruption and financial waste. It was able to make it into one of the important national and central causes that people think about, are interested in, talk about and work on. Many people are questioned about it. This in itself is a preliminary achievement on this path.

Also, during the past year, we have prepared a set of files, some of which we submitted and others will be submitted, God willing. We postponed submitting the rest until after the discussion of the budget. There are also files at the national level related to corruption and financial waste. They are also ready. We postponed submitting them, as I have stated, until after the budget because the budget research was controlling everything in the country internally. We will submit these files to the judiciary, and we may also talk about them in the media.

Thirdly, we in the Loyalty to the Resistance bloc have prepared a number of proposals. Some have been presented. Others are being discussed with our allies and will be presented jointly, including the issue of tenders, the issue of employment, employment mechanisms and other issues that play an important role in rooting out corruption and bringing an end financial waste. There are other proposals that have been prepared but were not submitted because other parliamentary blocs submitted them. We decided to support the proposals of the other parliamentary blocs. Results are more important than who came up with the proposal. We are sincere in this battle. Results are more important. It is not important to give us credit for presenting the proposal or achieving the objective or preventing waste and corruption. For us, it is important that waste and corruption be prevented once and for all. The results are more important.

At the level of the ministries in which our brothers are responsible for. From the start, we told them that the priority in the fight against corruption is that they do it within their ministries. As it is known, the Ministry of Youth and Sports is our responsibility. We are also responsible for the Ministry of Health. In these two ministries, the brothers the ministers made great efforts. We can claim now, according to our data and information, that there is no more corruption in these two ministries. There is no more waste in these two ministries. This is according to the information available to us and according to the efforts made by these ministers. Of course, they will talk about this. I will not talk on their behalf. But I also want to tell all Lebanese: who has any information or data related to corruption or financial waste concerning these two ministries can present it to the file of corruption that Hezbollah formed or submit it to the two brothers or their advisers or assistants as well as the brothers who are concerned with this matter.

Of course, I also take advantage of this opportunity to address the rest of the political forces. We all say that we are unanimous in the fight against corruption and financial waste. Instead of me struggling in your ministry and you struggling in your ministry and since you say you are committed, keen and serious about this fight, use your position and influence and fight corruption and financial waste in your ministry through your minister. Of course, this does not diminish our responsibility and the responsibility of the rest of the political forces, but the minister in question bears absolute priority in this respect.

Also, recently the file of settlement of financial accounts has been raised. It was raised in the media. Data was provided to the judiciary. The Ministry of Finance, the Court of Audit as well as the concerned and specialized financial judiciary launched procedures and follow-ups. In any way, the Parliament will face all these challenges when it discusses the budget. We consider that this issue, the settlement of financial accounts and resolving this file, is very important for the budget to be approved and a real financial regularity is reached. 

Some useless loans that would have borne a heavy financial burden on the Lebanese treasury and on the Lebanese people should be addressed.

There is no doubt that the discussion of the budget during the past period was a priority for us. We considered that the 2019 budget is very important to combat corruption and stop financial waste as much as possible. It is a real opportunity. We decided that we should deal with the discussion of the budget as an opportunity, too. It is a rescue attempt. It is also a common ground because the financial situation is difficult and the economic situation is difficult. Everyone agrees that we must reach a solution in light of an economic vision, but there is a disagreement on whether to include it in the budget now or to address alongside the budget. Everyone is unanimous on the importance of the steps of reform. In any case, the budget debate was and still is important.

Recently, if you remember, we said that we must be serious in this debate. It should not be taken lightly by the political forces. All should discuss it on the basis that this budget is crucial. The 2020 and 2021 budgets will be based on it. The country's financial and economic fate depends on it. We have been serious about it since day one, the discussion of the first ideas, the discussion of the draft submitted by the Minister of Finance. Our deputies, our ministers, our specialists, our advisors and the leadership of Hezbollah made great efforts. Our ministers attended government sessions prepared with ideas as well as practical and subjective discussions.

Secondly, we said and advised that the discussion must be within the Parliament. We should move away from the media, the media debates, stressing the media climate because they affect the objectivity of the debate within the Parliament, which will lead to unfair or impractical and unrealistic decisions. We have also committed ourselves to this. From the start of the debate until today, not us, nor our ministers, our deputies nor our officials have held a press conference, explaining our position or whether we agree or disagree. We just gave our opinion in the Cabinet. Although there were some leaks here and there that got out to the media, some of which are true and others are not, we did not comment on them so as not to get into arguments and break the principle that we called for everyone to abide by.

In any case, when the discussion of the budget is over and if there is anything that requires explanations or clarifications regarding Hezbollah's position in the government over the budget, God willing, it will happen if there is a need.

Now we are awaiting the last meeting at the Baabda Palace. We will not obstruct the issuance of the budget by the government. Although there are points, of course there are many points that we supported and agreed upon, but there are points that we rejected and still refuse. We believe that those points affect the Lebanese people, in particular the poor and the people with limited income. But we will not obstruct. We will cooperate so that the budget is issued by the government and goes to the Parliament. At the Parliament, there will be a great opportunity for discussing, adjusting and cooperating in addressing some of these issues. It is important for me here to call – and out of responsibility … From the start, there were rumors and many fears. Most of which turned out to be just rumors and fears and are not included in the budget. When we reassured the Lebanese people, we told them that most of the political parties said that they would not accept anything that will affect the poor and the people with limited income. They said they will not impose taxes and fees that will affect this group. In the budget that will be passed by the government, there are unfortunately some taxes and fees that affected the poor people and the people with limited income.

I call upon the political forces to fulfill the promises they made at the start of the budget discussions. If it passed the government, in the Parliament everything will be out in the open. During the debate in Parliament we will not abide by the media silence that we committed to in the government. In the Parliament, we will discuss the budget in the Finance Committee. We will appear to the media and hold press conferences. We will discuss in public because there are tools and means during discussions, and what we aspire to is different.
 
In any case, we hope, God willing, that the budget goes as soon as possible to the Parliament. Mr. Parliament Speaker also promised the Lebanese people that he will work night and day to approve the budget as soon as possible. God willing, there will be serious discussions. We hope that we reach the required results after approving the budget. Discussing the reform steps and everything related to the economic vision must continue. Discussing the 2020 budget should start early. We should not, as Lebanese, calm down and say that we have already have the 2019 budget. Are the financial and economic situations safe? No, this is just a step, a step on the road. I do not want now to talk about some of the main topics in the current budget or in the reform issues. This will come later, God willing, for more talk.

This concern must remain present and strongly dominant, and everyone bears serious responsibility.

In conclusion, I would like to congratulate all of you on this occasion, this holiday, on this historic victory that paved the way for the era of victories. It closed the gates the same way the last “Israeli” soldier closed the iron gate and the “Israeli” soldiers left. They got out. Today, they are building walls, artificial hills and barriers because they understood very well the truth about the force that exists in Lebanon. This victory, the 2000 victory, closed the door of defeats the same way the “Israeli” soldier closed the doors of the occupation on Palestine with Lebanon. This victory widely opened the era of victories.  

If we maintain this force, keep our trust in God and preserve our unity, our cohesion and our national responsibilities, we will certainly continue to deter and prevent the imposition of conditions on our country or the truncation of our water, our resources, our land or our sovereignty. Lebanon will certainly not return to the “Israeli” era. It will not enter the American era. Lebanon will remain sovereign, in the era of the golden equation – the army, the people, the resistance. It will remain in the era of the force that secures victories and protects dignity, honor and freedom.

Peace and Allah’s mercy and blessings be upon you.

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