The Humiliation of ’Israel’ in the Eyes of Imad Mughniyeh
By Latifa Al-Husseiny
Beirut - You never run out of stories about the time of liberation. It is like a spring of fresh water on a high mountain pouring on the ground. Twenty full years of Imad Mughniyeh and his comrades in jihad. There was planning, implementation, and then achieving an Arab victory that was only difficult in the dictionary of the weak.
It is May 18, 2000. The beginning of the “Israeli” withdrawal from southern Lebanon begins to unfold. The resistance and its mujahideen are prepared and aware of what is going on. Its military leadership and its cadres are meeting in a village.
The goal is to continuously assess the situation to develop hypothetical scenarios in the event of any major retreat by the enemy. Hajj Imad is heading the meeting. He, along with his cohorts of resistance officers, are providing estimates while examining hypotheticals and sny potential plans the Zionists might adopt. Before those in attendance, he repeats one chorus: the “Israeli” enemy must leave humiliated and under fire.
For this purpose, numerous meetings with the command of military operations and mobilization forces were held. Various sources of fire including the artillery and launchers were stationed in the south. Reconnaissance of the enemy's movements and soldiers was carried out a week before the liberation of the south, especially in light of the evacuations that were taking place along some of the posts. All this was overseen by Hajj Imad personally.
The enemy's retreat rolled on. Qantara, Al-Qoussair, Deir Siriane, and Tayibe were liberated from the occupation under the strikes of the Mujahideen, while the locals headed to the occupied gate and removed it.
The resistance leadership drew up alternative plans on how to pounce the Lahad army at the time. It also deployed military police to the southern border villages to prevent any disturbances during the “Israeli” escape.
Indeed, some Lahad forces surrendered in Adaisseh, while others fled under fire from the resistance. Bint Jbeil and the towns in that district were liberated. The liberation rumbled from Tayibe to Hula to Beit Yahoun until the miniature security belt drawn up by the then “Israeli” War Minister Ehud Barak to protect the northern settlements collapsed.
A leader in the Islamic Resistance tells al-Ahed about those days.
“We stayed in the south, watching closely how the “Israelis” fled. Hajj Imad managed the military missions and distributed tasks. When the operations began, he was at the helm of those checking the situation. He went to the Palestinian border without escort.”
On May 23 and May 24, “Israeli” soldiers continued their withdrawal. From Ainatha to Kfar Tibnit to the Khiam detention center, the Zionists withdrew defeated. Hajj Imad was waiting, while the resistance men spread around and targeted them.
On the final day of throwing out the occupiers, the battle ended at the Fatima Gate at the border. Through it, the last “Israeli” soldier fled. That moment was historic.
While Benny Gantz, the commander of the so-called Lebanon Liaison Unit in the “Israeli” army, closed the gate and put the key under one of the rocks, Hajj Imad was a few meters away looking at how the “Israelis” were humiliated.
He stood in front of the Fatima Gate, while the resistance apparatus deployed and secured all the villages. Inhaling the breath of freedom and the fragrance of Palestine, he did not care about the people who had been trailing him for years. Those people were fleeing broken, looking for a refuge to hide their failures and surrender. On the other hand, Hajj Imad was defying everything to take a look at the Galilee and beyond. He had accomplished the first step of the inevitable liberation.
Six years after the 2000 liberation of the south, the July War came. Hajj Imad led 33 days of confrontations with the enemy. He thwarted the Zionists’ promise. It was another divine victory on the road to Palestine. Angered by the defeat, "Israel" decided to take revenge. For this purpose, it utilized its tools and agents. The meeting was in Syria.
Away from the commotion of the world, a group of leaders of the resistance axis gathered in one of the party’s centers in the Kafr Souseh area in Damascus.
On the evening of February 12, 2008, a group of leaders of the Revolutionary Guards headed by the commander of the Quds Force, Hajj Qassem Soleimani, met leaders of the Islamic Resistance, headed by Hajj Imad Mughniyeh.
It was a military summit that lasted for about an hour. One of the leaders who attended the meeting explained that the main reason for the meeting was to conduct an evaluation of the general situation at the level of the resistance factions. However, the special relationship between Hajj Imad and Hajj Qassem set the tone of the meeting.
There was laughter and smiles as if they felt that this would be a farewell. Hajj Qassem told our interlocutor, "What Hajj Imad says, I implement. I am a soldier of Hajj Imad Mughniyeh." When the latter heard that sentence, he quickly said, "No, we are brothers."
The evaluation session was over, and it was time to depart. Hajj Qassem Soleimani stood at the elevator and embraced Hajj Imad with great affection. That moment was engraved in the memory of the people present. It was proof that the relationship between the two men surpassed the cause. It was a relationship of spirit and sacrifice similar to the relationship between al-Hussayn and al-Abbas (PBUT). They shared redemption, responsibility, and a high jihadist spirit.
Five minutes later, Hajj Imad left to carry out an important mission. When he got to his car, he was martyred.
Hajj Qassem never knew Hajj Imad’s destination. He heard a loud explosion and was informed of the news. He went back to find his companion dead.
What was the nature of the meeting they agreed on minutes earlier? It was a painful separation. However, 12 years later that conclusion was repeated with Hajj Qassem’s spirit rising to the supreme kingdom. Both men’s blood was spilt on the road to Palestine for the sake of Al-Quds.