Hezbollah Leader Calls on Arabs to Withdraw 2002 Peace Plan

Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, called on Arab leaders to withdraw a 2002 peace initiative in response to comments this week by U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“When we hear the speeches and the stances of Obama and Netanyahu, we become more convinced of our choices,” Nasrallah said today in a televised speech marking the Israeli army’s 2000 pullout from southern Lebanon, ending a 22-year occupation.

The developments of the past years “proved that the correct choice, the realistic and logical one is that of the popular armed resistance,” according to Nasrallah, who said that peace talks “are the wrong choice.” He urged the scrapping of the Arab peace plan, which called for peace between Israel and Arab countries after Israel returns land it captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

Obama and Netanyahu met in the White House May 20, after the president called for an Israeli-Palestinian accord that includes a return to the borders that existed before the June 1967 war, along with mutually agreeable land swaps. The Israeli leader rejected the plan, describing as “indefensible” the 1967 lines that defined the boundaries of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, areas that Israel captured in the war from Jordan, Egypt and Syria.

Nasrallah also said reports by some Arab media outlets that members of his Shiite Muslim group have taken part in popular unrest in Syria, Libya, Bahrain and Yemen are false.

Al-Assad

It’s important for Lebanon to support the stability of Syria and the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad because of Syria’s support for Hezbollah, which resulted in “liberation on May 25, 2000, and the July 2006 victory,” Nasrallah said.

The group won popularity in Lebanon by helping to force Israel’s military to withdraw from the country in 2000. Israel fought an monthlong war against Hezbollah in 2006.

The fall of the regime in Syria would serve only the “interests of the U.S. and Israel,” the Hezbollah leader said. Assad wants to implement reform and is “determined” to introduce changes and the wide majority of the Syrian people support him, he said.

The U.S. and Israel classify Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

To contact the reporter on this story: Massoud A. Derhally in Beirut, Lebanon, at mderhally@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net.

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