Sheikh Naim Qassem:
We know how to temporarily bury the hatchet
In what seems to be a stark change in policy, Hizbullah now admits to not only providing Hamas with “every type of support,” but also to having done so for some time, Sheikh Naim Qassem, the deputy leader of the organization said in an interview published by the Financial Times on Wednesday.
“We have always said that we supported the resistance in Palestine but we have not mentioned how or given details of such support,” he said. “But Egypt has now revealed that we have given military support to Palestine. We have done so for a while but we have not talked about it.”
In April, Egyptian authorities arrested 49 people suspected of plotting attacks against Israeli targets in the country, as well as against Egypt itself, of trying to smuggle weapons into Gaza, and of spreading Shi’ite ideology on behalf of the Islamic organization. The incident quickly escalated into a war of words between Hizbullah and Egyptian officials, in which the latter accused the former of using Egypt as a “playground” for terrorist activities.
Israel has long suspected Hizbullah of assisting the Palestinians militarily, but the recent public feud with Egypt led the organization to its first public admission of their operations.
“What he [one of those arrested by Egypt] really did was a kind of logistic work to help Palestinian brothers in transporting men and equipment for the resistance inside Palestine,” Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah said at the time. However, he categorically denied that the activities were aimed at harming Egypt or spreading the group’s ideology. Without addressing the latter charges, Qassem reiterated to the Financial Times Nasrallah’s point.
“It is one of the secrets of the resistance that we don’t talk about the details of our support, but suffice to say that we are giving them every type of support that could help the Palestinian resistance. Every type that is possible,” he said.