A Lebanese parliamentarian for Hezbollah openly called for Israeli civilians to be kidnapped in a future war with Israel.
The MP, Walid Sukkarieh, made the comments during an interview last week with Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV. The remarks were translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
Hezbollah’s missiles, he boasted in the interview, “can now reach Tel Aviv from Iran, not just from Damascus, Beirut, or Cairo.”
“What would the capturing of settlements [in a future war] mean? First, we would be liberating land. Second, we would take hostages, prisoners. The Israeli people would be a prisoner in your hands. This would prevent Israel from targeting civilians on your side. It would not be able to implement the Dahiya Strategy. They have threatened that in the next war, they will implement this strategy and destroy all of Lebanon. What will they destroy if we hold settlements hostage? We will have hostages. If they kill us, we will kill them,” he threatened.
“Then, when the final solution comes,” continued Sukkarieh, “you will have a number of prisoners, and you will be occupying a land… Or rather, you will have liberated a land, not occupied it. Under these circumstances, no resolution will be able to force you to withdraw to your previous positions, and to hand this land back to Israel. Even the Arab [regimes] would not be able to tolerate this. The worst Arab regimes would not be able to accept this. They would not be able to say: ‘Hezbollah managed to liberate a settlement in Palestine, but it must withdraw from it.’ A new situation will be forced upon the conflict between Hezbollah and Israel, or upon the Palestinian cause as a whole.”
Members of Hezbollah, and particularly its leader Hassan Nasrallah, have continuously threatened Israel. Nasrallah specifically threatened to target civilian sites across Israel and to invade the northern Galilee region.
He has also suggested that the organization would strike Israel’s chemical plants in Haifa, referring to the ammonia storage tanks there as “Hezbollah’s nuclear bomb”.
The fact that the threat to kidnap civilians is coming from a Hezbollah lawmaker is significant, since the European Union in 2013 voted to blacklist Hezbollah’s so-called “military wing”, but kept its political arm off the list.
Critics of that decision say that the group in its entirety should be banned as there is no real difference between the “military wing” and the “political wing”.