by Herb Keinon, Jpost
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met with Hizbullah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah at Iran’s embassy in Beirut on Thursday prior to departing Lebanon after a two day visit to the country, Hizbullah television station Al Manar reported.
According to the report, the two leaders discussed a number of issues and Nasrallah gave Ahmadinejad a gun he claimed was taken from an Israeli soldier during the Second Lebanon War as a gift.
Earlier on Thursday, Ahmadinejad unleashed an anti- Israel tirade just four kilometers from the border, telling thousands of Hizbullah supporters in Bint Jbail that the Zionists “will not last long.”
“Bring defeat to the Zionists!” he declared, calling for “Palestine” to be “forcefully freed” and for the Zionists to go “back where they came from.”
As he spoke, IDF helicopters buzzed the skies along the border.
Israel watched the spectacle from afar, and projected a message that those with the most to lose from Ahmadinejad’s triumphant two-day visit to Lebanon were the Lebanese themselves, not Israel.
“Unfortunately, Lebanon is quickly turning into an extension of the Iranian ayatollah regime,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Thursday night in a private meeting. “This is a tragedy for Lebanon, but Israel knows how to protect itself from this development.”
Earlier in the day, during a visit to Independence Hall in Tel Aviv where David Ben-Gurion declared Israel’s independence in 1948, Netanyahu declared, “We heard the insults and curses from the Lebanese border today. The best answer to these curses was given here 62 years ago in the declaration of the state, and all that we did, built, created and achieved in the 62 years since then.”
“Look what a people, what a state, what an army the people of Israel and Zionism have today,” he said. “We will continue to build, to create our country, and we will know very well how to defend it.”
Ahmadinejad called Bint Jbail, a border town that was the site of intense fighting during the Second Lebanon War, “the capital of freedom, the capital of resistance and victory.”
The Lebanese resistance “is more powerful than the swords of Zionists,” he said.
Iran has spent tens of millions of dollars since 2006 rebuilding the town.
“The world knows the Zionists invaded Bint Jbail to break down the resistance, but today they are nowhere to be found, and Bint Jbail is still here,” Ahmadinejad said. “Bint Jbail is still alive and standing up against us. Bint Jbail stands against the enemy to the last minute.”
In his tirade, Ahmadinejad said the Zionists “are responsible for the economic crisis and air pollution in the world.”
“You proved that your resistance, your patience, your steadfastness, were stronger than all the tanks and warplanes of the enemy,” Ahmadinejad said.
“The people of Iran will remain by your side, and all the people in this region.”
Ahmadinejad arrived in Lebanon on Wednesday to a rapturous welcome organized by Hizbullah for his first state visit to the country.
As he spoke in Bint Jbail, a number of Israelis held a protest in Moshav Avivim, along the Lebanese border, releasing blue and white balloons into the air.
Earlier on Thursday, Ahmadinejad received an honorary doctorate from the Lebanese University in Beirut, according to an Iranian Press TV report. During his speech at the university, Ahmadinejad accused the West of blocking other countries from accessing peaceful nuclear technology.
“They have deprived other nations of this technology and have monopolized it,” he was quoted as saying.
The Iranian leader also slammed the US for its military policies in the Middle East, accusing Washington of killing innocent civilians in Afghanistan under the guise of the war on terror.
During his visit in Beirut he also called on all religious scholars and leaders to come together in solving challenges facing human societies, during a meeting with Lebanese scholars, clerics and religious leaders.
“Scholars of divine religions can put major challenges facing human societies on the agenda to find… solutions to them,” Ahmadinejad said, according to the Press TV report.
“All divine religions guide mankind to prosperity and invite human societies to monotheism, justice and friendship,” he said.