Interwiew of Sayed Hashem Safi al-Din, Head of the Executive Office of Hezbollah, May 11, 2021.
This interview was to be devoted exclusively to martyr Sayed Mustafa Badr al-Din “Zulfiqar”, Hezbollah commander killed in Syria on May 13, 2016, but the developments in Gaza were evoked at the beginning and end of the interview. We only translate these excerpts. Sayed Hashem Safi al-Din is a likely successor to Hassan Nasrallah.
Journalist: […] Before getting to the heart of the matter, we must talk about what is happening in Palestine, especially since the Palestinian cause was very important to Sayed Zulfiqar. How does Hezbollah see the violent Israeli escalation against Palestinians in Al-Quds (Jerusalem) and Gaza? What are the challenges & horizons of this escalation, and why is it happening now?
Sayed Safi al-Din: In the Name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Let me first congratulate Muslims on the last days of the month of Ramadan, and for Eid al-Fitr, which will be celebrated in a day or two. I ask God the Most High to make these occasions a blessing for our Ummah (worldwide Muslim community), for the Resistance fighters and for the combatants. I have special thoughts for the families of the martyrs, the family of Sayed Badr al-Din, his daughters, his sons, his parents and his brothers, as well as all his loved ones, and all the families of the martyrs. I ask God the Most High to fill them with blessings in these days.
I must also extend sincere and strong greetings, from the bottom of my heart, to the soul and spirit of the Mujaheedin in Palestine, to the (Palestinian) people of Al-Quds (Jerusalem), to its men, women, young people, children, and the young people of Gaza, to all the heroic fighters of all the Palestinian (Resistance) factions. We salute them with respect and thank them for everything they do during these days and hours, in these very minutes. They defend the honor of the entire Ummah. Al-Quds represents the honor of the whole Muslim Community, the dignity of the whole Muslim Community.
What is happening in Palestine today is a sign of the end of a stage, and the start of a new stage (of the Arab-Israeli conflict). We have witnessed, in recent years, some examples of Israeli and American arrogance and hubris, and examples of the servility, betrayal and humiliation (of Arab rulers) who have vilely crept in the direction of normalization (of their relations with Israel). Some thought this was the last Act to be played, but we told them it was not the end, because the Muslim community is bigger and stronger than that. The Ummah in which there are so many Resistants, martyrs and leaders such as Sayed Mustafa Badr al-Din, for whom Palestine was in the eyes, in the heart and in all his existence… We said that this Muslim Community concealed many blessings, strength, capacity and greatness, and that it was capable of shaping (itself) the future.
The events of Al-Quds occurred, with the events that followed, until the use of rockets yesterday and today, by the hundreds, a veritable storm of rockets which shook the Zionist entity in order to say (two things): first, to tell the Israelis that the Resistance was much stronger than they imagined; and second, to tell the Zionists and Americans as well and all the normalizers, cowards and traitors (of the Arab-Muslim world) that the Palestinian people was much stronger, and that he would never abandon Palestine or Al-Quds.
These upheavals happening today will open new doors, create a new reality. A reality fraught with (huge) consequences, namely new equations. The equation of victories, the equation of the near Liberation (of Palestine territories) with the grace of God the Most High. These are equations that are based on the sacrifices of recent years. In recent years, there have been many sacrifices on the part of the Palestinian people, the Resistance, the Resistance Axis, in all directions and on all fronts and battlefields. All of these sacrifices resulted in what we see today, some of the scenes we see today. And what is yet to come is greater, much greater with the grace of God the Most High. […]
Journalist: To come back to what is happening in Palestine, what did Al-Quds and Palestine represent in the eyes of Sayed Zulfiqar? What emotional and jihadist ties linked him to the Palestinian cause?
Sayed Safi al-Din: Palestine represents jihad, and his first connection to it is (through) weapons, guns and bullets. He began his journey as a fighter in the ranks of the Palestinian Resistance (during the Fedayeen era in Lebanon). He has (strong) links, experiences, relationships, participation (with them). After that, his experience within Hezbollah was mainly focused on Al-Quds and Palestine. It’s no secret, it’s the truth. He also belongs to this culture. As far as he was concerned, Palestine was the compass, the central cause, the ultimate goal and hope. Al-Quds was for him the place where we had to make all the sacrifices to reach the stage of its Liberation, because by liberating Al-Quds (Jerusalem), we will not only liberate the holy places, but we will recover all the honor and all the dignity that have been stolen from us in all the past decades. As far as we are concerned, Al-Quds is everything we live for. And in these days (of war in Gaza), we feel more than ever the presence of such figures as Sayed Zulfiqar, Hajj Imad Moghniyeh, and the great leader Hajj Qassem Soleimani: in the end, (even if) they have found martyrdom in Syria, in Iraq or anywhere else, their essential cause, their greatest hope, what their whole being tended towards was to bring the Muslim world from one point to another, until it reaches Al-Quds and can finally liberate the Holy City.
And today, yes, as we have heard in some comments, those rockets that have been launched (against Israel) are the hope of Hajj Qassem Soleimani. They carry the hope of Hajj Imad (Moghniyeh). They carry the fiery aspiration of Sayed Zulfiqar. They carry all these (pure) souls. It is these souls who have acted and made all efforts relentlessly, (taking all the risks and) making all the sacrifices to ensure that this ballistic capability reaches the hands of the Resistance in Gaza. And thank God, today, these capabilities arrived in Gaza! These abilities grow and develop. The first credit goes to the Palestinian fighters there, of course, whatever their faction, but those who acted, supported and allowed all this, are these martyrs, these (Iranian and Lebanese) leaders, including Sayed Zulfiqar, who worked day and night for the Resistance inside Palestine to obtain great capacities, and even colossal capacities.
Journalist: So Sayed Mustapha Badr al-Din helped transfer skills and support to Resistance factions inside occupied Palestine?
Sayed Safi al-Din: He did more than contribute! He acted constantly (for the Palestinian Resistance)!
Journalist: What did this action consist of?
Sayed Safi al-Din: Transfering the experience, training, maintaining contact with all the resistant Palestinian forces, helping them to obtain the capacities and skills in all the fields, whether it has to do with obtaing weapons, the ability to manufacture them, their handling and use, all these abilities. Generally speaking, Hezbollah has played a big role in this regard, and we are very proud of it. It is our duty anyway. All of our commanders participated in that. This is neither a secret nor a shame, on the contrary, it is a matter of pride!
Journalist: Eminent Sayed, how important is the equation imposed by the Palestinian Resistance in linking the fate of Jerusalem to that of Gaza? How will this equation affect rules of engagement and the balance of power in the future?
Sayed Safi al-Din: If you remember correctly, this Gaza which just drowned the Israelis (under a deluge of rockets), the enemy considered that all Gaza could do was struggle its way through the various calamities in which it had been abandoned, struggling to cope with the problems created by the occupier and the United States, whether by the siege, pressures, (crippling) policies, etc., and therefore Israel considered it had nothing to fear from them. I am not going to recall all these well-known elements, which are part of History. But today, this Gaza is not only taking back its life, its future and everything it has in Palestine and Al-Quds, no! The very soul of Gaza now arises in Al-Quds! The soul of the Resistance that the occupier wanted to crush and suffocate in Gaza is present today in Al-Quds, in the West Bank, and will rise tomorrow in all the territories occupied in 1948 and throughout Israel!
The most important consequence of what is happening today is that the Palestinian cause is revived everywhere, at all levels, with all its weapons, all its fighters, all its rockets/missiles, all over (historical) Palestine! And that’s just the beginning!
Israel is unable to understand that the dislocation of Palestine into ≠ entities is over. Gaza stands for all Palestinians & the reverse is true
— Le Cri des Peuples (@lecridespeuples) May 14, 2021
Israel wanted to neutralize Gaza, through massacres and destruction, and then to neutralize a whole part of the (occupied) West Bank, through the separation wall. You have seen how the Separation Wall is built in a sinuous and even vicious way, with areas off-limits to Palestinians (making life impossible for them). Israel considered the territories conquered in 1948 to be safe, and part of the “historic Israeli entity” forever. The Arabs could forget (the territories of) 1948, they were irremediably absorbed! Forget Gaza, which is out of the game! (That’s what Israel thought). There were still a few besieged places in the West Bank, whether in Hebron or elsewhere. But the reality is that today, all of historic Palestine is set ablaze and embracing the Resistance! Today all of Palestine is resisting! All of Palestine is Al-Quds! This city of Al-Quds (Jerusalem) that they wanted to erase from the Palestinian cause, making forget even its (Arabic) name and its memory, whether through the Deal of the Century, the displacement of the American Embassy (from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem), and all these campaigns (to liquidate the Palestinian cause), the humiliating visits of some cowardly and enslaved Arab (regimes), unfortunately, the promises of establishing normal relations, etc. But (despite all this), Al-Quds today shines. She shines through her martyrs, she shines through the martyrs of Gaza. These Israelis today are killing children, women and men who die because they defend Al-Quds! These martyrs make Al-Quds even more resplendent, and give it even greater value in the minds of Palestinians, in the minds of Arabs and in the minds of (all) Muslims (worldwide).
What happens today will have very big, even grandiose consequences, as I told you before. Of course, now is the time for battle, not for analysis, now is the time for battle. It will be time to draw all the conclusions afterwards. In this time of battle, our common duty is to stand with the Palestinian people. We salute these efforts, these sacrifices, we salute these heroes, men, women and children, who went yesterday at dawn to the holy mosque of Al-Aqsa to enter and assert their right to be present there, at Sheikh Jarrah district, at the Damascus gate, everywhere, at every point (from where the settlers and police were trying to drive them out); we salute these men, these women, these young people, these children, all those who sacrifice themselves. We salute the fighters who, as I said, restore honor to the Ummah. We send them a thousand greetings, and with the grace of God, the whole Muslim world will be with them, the whole Arab world will be with them.
… perpetrate another Holocaust or anything like that. But if you insist on perpetuating the occupation, then I assure you that the Day of the Great War in this region, whatever triggers it, is coming (fast). That day is close on which we will all pray in Al-Quds (Jerusalem)."
— Le Cri des Peuples (@lecridespeuples) May 14, 2021
What is happening today is (the triumph of) the truth. The truth of our (Arab-Muslim) world is visible to everyone. Our Ummah is (deeply) steeped in Resistance, its inner core is Resistance. Its history, its culture, its identity are the Resistance! Such are our peoples, such is our (Arab-Muslim) Community. There may be, in this or that country, economic, political, or any other kind of problems, we can say that the Arab world is drowned in the so-called Arab Spring, whether in Egypt, in Tunisia, Syria, Iraq or anywhere else, but despite all their efforts to present these realities as preponderant to exhaust the peoples of our region, today, Palestine, Al-Quds and Gaza are reviving all these elements of strength present within our Community. And our Ummah declares to the United States, Israel and all the cowards that no, it is stronger than that, greater than that, and able to shape her future. And that’s exactly what she’ll do.
We are talking about realities and equations today, not empty slogans or hopes, not at all. As I told you at the beginning, what happened in Syria was no small thing, and what happened in Iraq was no small thing, at the level of the action of Resistance (reference to the victory against ISIS). And what is happening in Palestine now is no small thing. What happened in Yemen is no small thing. This victorious resistance of the Resistance Axis, among other consequences clearly visible today, brings the peoples of the Muslim world, little by little, to join this Resistance Axis, until it becomes the dominant choice and priority for our entire region.
And today I can say categorically and without any hesitation that yesterday and today, we had glaring proof of Trump’s failure when he targeted Hajj Qassem Soleimani, may God be pleased with him. The Al-Quds Force (Revolution Guards Corps, led by Soleimani), which spearheaded this Axis of Resistance, is now achieving very great victories. Of course, it is the Palestinian people who achieve these victories (in occupied Palestine), but at the level of vision and (common) cause, what happens there is one of the consequences of the work of the Hajj Qassem. And with the grace of God, what will come in the next battles will be even greater.
Journalist: Can you tell us, given your close proximity to Palestinian Resistance factions, to what extent we can say that Gaza still holds surprises and secret cards in its hands, which it can use if the confrontation extends?
Sayed Safi al-Din: It’s up to them to talk about this. The Palestinian Resistance, through its fighting and resistant factions, is capable of expressing itself, whether through declarations, through missiles, through actions, when it sees fit. This is their exclusive right, and we do not have to interfere with it. But what I know (and can say) in general is that the capacities of the Resistance in Palestine are very great, in terms of time (they can keep pace for weeks and months), capacities, weapons, the ability to fight (victoriously), etc. Their capacities are great, much more than what Israel can imagine.
Journalist: I am told in my earphone that Ben-Gurion Airport has just been targeted. What does this indicate? Is it a strong symbol?
Sayed Safi al-Din: To strike Tel Aviv is a very important thing, a remarkable qualitative development in terms of acts of Resistance. The same goes for the attack on Ben Gurion Airport. This is all due to the grace of God and the blessings that come with standing up for Al-Quds. The fact that Gaza has come into action in defense of Al-Quds brings great (divine) blessings. When the Islamic Community decides to defend Al-Quds, God pours out (huge) opportunities and benefits upon them.
Of course, all of this cannot happen without sacrifices. Whenever in a battle, the Islamic Resistance achieves great achievements, we must always remember that these exploits happen thanks to the grace of the blood of martyrs, the efforts of the fighters, the sacrifices, the patience and the endurance displayed by the Resistance, whether in Palestine, Lebanon or any other place. […]