Hezbollah Launches Donation Campaign to Purchase Missiles, Drones

Hezbollah members take part in a military exercise during a media tour organized for the occasion of Resistance and Liberation Day, in Aaramta, Lebanon, May 21, 2023. (Reuters)
Hezbollah members take part in a military exercise during a media tour organized for the occasion of Resistance and Liberation Day, in Aaramta, Lebanon, May 21, 2023. (Reuters)
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Hezbollah Launches Donation Campaign to Purchase Missiles, Drones

Hezbollah members take part in a military exercise during a media tour organized for the occasion of Resistance and Liberation Day, in Aaramta, Lebanon, May 21, 2023. (Reuters)
Hezbollah members take part in a military exercise during a media tour organized for the occasion of Resistance and Liberation Day, in Aaramta, Lebanon, May 21, 2023. (Reuters)

Lebanon’s Hezbollah group did not stop at involving foreign armed parties in its fight against Israel allegedly in support of Gaza, but has moved further to involving civilians in a donation campaign in order to purchase missiles and drones to continue its fight against Israel.
The Iran-backed party launched the campaign, providing telephone numbers for contact purposes, encouraging civilians to “be part of the battle” that it has waged against Israel in what it says is in support of Gaza.
Some sides have interpreted Hezbollah’s move as a “weakness”, criticizing it for boasting about its military powers and ability to “change the equation to eliminate Israel”, meanwhile asking for donations to purchase weapons.
The party’s campaign came in parallel with an announcement made by Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, who said he “opened channels” with the World Bank and friendly countries to “participate in the reconstruction of what Israel destroyed in South Lebanon during the Gaza war”.
Former MP Fares Souaid, head of the Lady of the Mountain gathering, criticized Hezbollah and Berri’s “double standards”.
“Double standards are extremely annoying because one side is asking the world to help rebuild the South, and another asks for donations to continue the war and prolong destruction”, said Souaid.
In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, the MP said Hezbollah “is indirectly declaring itself in a deep political and financial crisis, which indicates that Iran has taken a decision to stop funding (Hezbollah’s) war in South Lebanon”.
Strength or Weakness?
The confrontation that Hezbollah chose to wage against Israel has so far achieved none of the party’s goals, mainly in preventing Israel from invading Gaza or preventing it from diminishing the capabilities of Hamas.
Hezbollah only succeeded at driving Israeli civilians out of their settlements in northern Israel and away from Lebanon’s southern border.
But, this war has caused massive destruction to more than 40 villages in south Lebanon, and has displaced its residents and left more than 500 Lebanese civilians and fighters dead.
The donation campaign “raises a lot of question marks for people of the South” on whether it implies the party’s “strength or weakness”, said Souaid.
He said Hezbollah has always boasted about its ability to wage a “war of that size with Israel”, and has always challenged the international will and claimed an ability to eradicate Israel, “is it possible that it begs for donations from the southerners to continue its war?” he asked.
In February 2022, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said that his group has been manufacturing military drones in Lebanon and has the technology to turn thousands of missiles in their possession into precision-guided munitions.
“We have started manufacturing drones in Lebanon a long time ago. Those who want to buy can fill out an application,” he had said.
Media Provocation
For his part, political analyst Qasem Qasir, told Asharq Al-Awsat the campaign could be part of an effort to engage people in the party’s warfare. He ruled out the possibility of any diminishing Iranian support.
“It could be an attempt to make people feel involved in the confrontation...and to show popular support for the party at this stage”, he underlined.
Israel and Lebanon’s Hezbollah have exchanged near-daily fire since Hamas's unprecedented October 7 attack on southern Israel sparked the war in Gaza.
Fighting has intensified in recent weeks, with Israel striking deeper into Lebanese territory, while Hezbollah has stepped up its missile and drone attacks on military positions in northern Israel.



White House: Qatar and Egypt Plan Talks with Hamas on Gaza Ceasefire

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, US, May 22, 2024. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, US, May 22, 2024. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights
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White House: Qatar and Egypt Plan Talks with Hamas on Gaza Ceasefire

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, US, May 22, 2024. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, US, May 22, 2024. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Saturday that mediators for Qatar and Egypt plan to engage Hamas militants soon to see if there is a way to push ahead with a Gaza ceasefire proposal offered by US President Joe Biden.

Sullivan spoke to reporters on the sidelines of a Ukraine peace summit and was asked about diplomatic efforts to get an agreement for Hamas to release some hostages held since Oct. 7 in exchange for a ceasefire lasting at least six weeks.

Sullivan said he had spoken briefly to one of the main interlocutors, Qatar's Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, and that they would speak again about Gaza on Sunday while both are in Switzerland for the Ukraine conference, Reuters reported.

Hamas has welcomed the ceasefire proposal, but insists any agreement must secure an end to the war, a demand Israel still rejects. Israel described Hamas's response to the new US peace proposal as total rejection.

Sullivan said that US officials have taken a close look at Hamas's response.

"We think some of the edits are not unexpected and can be managed. Some of them are inconsistent both with what President Biden laid out and what the UN Security Council endorsed. And we are having to deal with that reality," he said.

He said US officials believe there remains an avenue to an agreement and that the next step will be for Qatari and Egyptian mediators to talk to Hamas and "go through what can be worked with and what really can’t be worked with."

"We anticipate a back-and-forth between the mediators and Hamas. We’ll see where we stand at that point. We will keep consulting with the Israelis and then hopefully at some point next week we’ll be able to report to you where we think things stand and what we see as being the next step to try to bring this to closure," he said.