Hizbullah MP: Border Tour Misinterpreted, Resistance in Defensive Position

MP Ali Fayyad of Hizbullah’s Loyalty to Resistance bloc announced Sunday that the controversial tour that his party organized Thursday for reporters on the Lebanese-Israeli border has been “deliberately misinterpreted” by some Lebanese parties.

“Some parties trying to stir disputes based on exaggerated interpretations and sometimes deliberate misinterpretation, especially that it is fully clear that the resistance is in a defensive position and that it is seeking to consolidate the state of stability in the South based on the equation of deterrence with the Israeli enemy,” Fayyad said.

Hizbullah’s “steps are aimed at preserving the equation of deterrence and preventing the enemy from pushing for the corrosion of this equation,” the MP added.

He reassured that “preserving stability in Lebanon and calm and security in the southern towns is at the core of the resistance’s policies and what it does is aimed at achieving these objectives and not the opposite.”

Fayyad noted that “there is a certain interest for everyone to refrain from aggravating any dispute that might affect the performance of institutions or the domestic situations.”

He also urged all parties to “take into consideration the explosive regional environment surrounding Lebanon, the reckless U.S. escalation policies, Israel’s provocative practices and repeated threats, and the poisoned policies of incitement that are being practiced by some regional forces.”

Fayyad’s remarks come three days after Prime Minister Saad Hariri criticized Hizbullah’s border tour during a landmark visit to the South. Several other Lebanese parties have also slammed Hizbullah’s move.

Hariri’s visit to the South came a day after Hizbullah took a group of over 100 local and international journalists on a rare tour of the border with Israel that the party said was aimed at explaining the unprecedented Israeli defensive measures on the frontier.

Members of Hizbullah’s armed wing stood guard on part of the tour, displaying weapons despite a prohibition stipulated by U.N. resolution 1701 on any armed paramilitary presence near the border.

Hariri said Friday that “what happened yesterday is something that we, as a government, are not concerned with and do not accept.”

The premier, who was accompanied by the defense minister and army chief, said his trip was intended “to tell the Lebanese armed forces that they and only they are the legitimate force in charge of defending our borders.”

There has been rising speculation about a new conflict between Hizbullah and Israel, who fought a 34-day war in 2006 that ended after the approval of Resolution 1701.

That conflict killed 1,200 people in Lebanon, mainly civilians, and 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers.