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Hizbullah's Leader Deserves Nobel Peace Prize - Israeli Arab Reactions to Israel's Withdrawal from South Lebanon

In a series of events organized by the Israeli Arab leadership to celebrate Israel's defeat by Hizbullah, Israeli Arab members of the Knesset and community leaders discussed how the lessons of "Hizbullah's victory" could be applied to their own situation as well as that of the Palestinians.

Nominating Nasrallah-Knesset Member (MK) Taleb Al-Sani' stated: "Despite its military inferiority, Hizbullah forced peace on Israel and made her flee from Lebanese soil. Therefore, I reckon Sheik Nasrallah is entitled to the Nobel Peace Prize and I will write a letter to the Nobel Prize commissioners on this matter. He forced peace upon Israel, and Israel accepted it unwillingly."

"I have always said that there are two burning areas in the Middle East: South Lebanon, and the Israeli Arabs in the Negev. Now, after the admirable struggle and sacrifice of Hizbullah put an end to the occupation, we are left with only one area: the Negev. Why not Arabs in the Triangle or the Galilee? Because there are no more lands there for Israel to appropriate, but they do plan to do it in the Negev. Should they commit such a foolish (act) the Arabs will respond violently and loudly..."

Lessons from Lebanon-In the city of Um Al-Fahm, the Democratic National Union, headed by MK 'Azmi Bishara, organized "The festival of freedom and dignity" in honour of the Lebanese struggle's victory. The celebration opened with a moment of silence in memory of the "martyrs who were killed during the war against the Zionist enemy."

Party members described the most important lessons of the Lebanese triumph. Party Chief MK 'Azmi Bishara stated: "The most important thing is the model the (Lebanese) struggle sets after its victory and the principles it brought with it: sovereignty of law and respect for the state. (Those principles) were missing in the Arab world... There is a difference between the rules of the game against occupation and the rules of the game when the battle is over. Some people may be criminals or traitors (The South Lebanon Army) but they should be punished according to the law..."

National Union Central Committee member, Lawyer Riadh Anees stated: "Israel withdrew and the South was unconditionally liberated, without surrendering to any Israeli dictate, with no agreements and no concessions. This is the most important thing the Lebanese Resistance achieved..."

"This joy (over the Israeli withdrawal) was brought about by the Resistance (movement). It should not be credited to Barak's (pre-electoral) promises nor to his commitments to fulfill UN Resolution 425. It was an Israeli flight from the Lebanese swamp."

National Union Central Committee member, Dr. Jamaal Zakhalqa stated: "The most important feature of the (Lebanese) struggle's victory is the fact that is coincided with the negotiations towards the final solution of the Palestinian issue... Israel invaded Lebanon (back in 1982) in order to stalk the Palestinian struggle and kill it. (Now, it seems that) Israel will not succeed in imposing her decisions and solutions regarding this problem..."

Intifada in the Negev-The City Hall of Sakhnin, in the Gallilee, hosted the secretariat of "The higher Monitory Committee of Israeli Arabs."

At this meeting, Mayor of the Bedouin town Rahat, in the Negev, Sheik Jum'a Al-Qasasi, hailed the "Lebanese people, especially the brethren from Hizbullah, for their steadfastness against the Zionist challenge... This state (Israel) comprehends nothing but force... She appropriated one million dunams from the inhabitants of the Negev and actually declared a war (on them)... I say, as I have said before, that the (new) Intifada shall burst out from the Negev... We want to be citizens, enjoy our rights, and live in dignity... If we do not unite before this demon (Israel), it will devour us. The whole country ought to know that if one house is demolished in the city of Sakhnin, an Intifada will explode throughout Palestine, from the Negev to Lebanon..."


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