Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Peace Between Hizbullah and Israel? It Almost Happened

While it is certainly true that Hezbollah's leader, Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah, has long called for Israel's "disappearance," it is important to remember, especially now as the wheels of international diplomacy finally seem to turn, that Nasrallah and leading Hizbullah figures at one point accepted that a regional peace agreement involving Syria, Lebanon and Israel would end Hezbollah's state of belligerency in the region.

Indeed, several months prior to Israel's withdrawal from South Lebanon in May 2000, Nasrallah publicly announced, in a leading Arab magazine, that if Syria struck a deal with Israel which ensured a full Israeli withdrawal from all Lebanese territory, "Hizbullah would relocate in the South, but [would] not have any form of security force, since it is a resistance movement whose goal is the liberation of land and not an alternative to the government." In a subsequent interview, Nasrallah added, "We are convinced that the signing of a peace agreement will be a victory for the resistance and the rationale of resistance."

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