by Ari Soffer
Hezbollah chief makes appeal to Sunni Arabs in wake of growing anti-Iranian alliance.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has voiced his concern over Israel's emerging alliance with Sunni Arab gulf states, and urged Arab leaders to break ties with the Jewish state.
Nasrallah made his remarks during a televised address Tuesday evening from his bunker in Lebanon, from which he rarely emerges.
In comments broadcast on Hezbollah's Al Manar TV in honor of "Martyr Leaders Day", Nasrallah claimed that Israel was "taking advantage" of Sunni states' confrontation with Iran to forge "relations and alliances with the Sunni Arab states."
He also accused Israel of seeking to affect regime change in Syria, by supporting Sunni rebels in that country's bloody civil war, and claimed that Israel viewed "Al Qaeda in Syria" (the Nusra Front) as a "lesser evil" compared with the Iranian-backed Assad regime and its proxies.
Addressing Lebanon's own Sunni population - which has largely turned against Hezbollah due to its key role in the Syrian civil war on the side of the Assad regime - Nasrallah urged them not to be wooed by Israel's overtures to the Sunni Arab world.
Turning to the leaders of Arab states themselves, Nasrallah issued a direct plea to end ties with Israel.
"Do you accept a friend occupying Sunni land in Palestine? Can you become friends with an entity that has committed the most horrible massacres against the Sunni community?" he said, according to transcripts of the speech carried by Naharnet.
"You are free to consider Iran an enemy but how can you consider Israel a friend and an ally?" he asked.
Nasrallah accused Israel of working with Saudi Arabia and Turkey in particular - key foes of the Assad regime and Tehran - in order to "partition" Syria and remove Assad from power.
"They want to partition Syrian into four states – a Sunni state, an Alawite state, a Druze state and a Kurdish state," he alleged.
The Hezbollah leader also claimed Israel was too afraid to take on his group in an all-out war, since it was only willing to engage in "quick" battles.
"There is no need to fear an Israeli war because after the first and second Lebanon wars, Israeli decided that it would only wage war if a quick victory is guaranteed," he said. "When Israel knows that there is a force in Lebanon that can prevent it from achieving a quick victory, it will not engage in such a war."
Israel's ties with Sunni Arab countries once avowedly hostile towards the Jewish state have grown rapidly in recent years, particularly in the security and intelligence spheres, in the face of the growing mutual threat posed by Iran and its proxies including Hezbollah.
Saudi Arabia in particular - Iran's arch nemesis and major rival - has forged close ties with Israel, particularly since the Obama administration's move towards detente with Iran.
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