Hezbollah: US, Israel 'deal final blow' to Arab peace plan
BEIRUT - US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have "dealt the final blow" to the 2002 Saudi-led peace initiative, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said Wednesday.
"Obama and Netanyahu have dealt the final, decisive blow to what is called the Arab peace initiative," Nasrallah said in a televised address marking 11 years since Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon, ending a 22-year occupation.
"Is it not time that this initiative be dropped as an option?" asked Nasrallah.
His statement, via video link, prompted cheers from a crowd of thousands of Hezbollah supporters gathered in the village of Nabi Sheet, a Shiite stronghold in the eastern Bekaa Valley.
"At the very least, the Arab League should pull the initiative as an option," he added. "No to negotiations. No to Israel. No to the occupation of Jerusalem."
The peace initiative presented by Saudi Arabia in 2002 offers Israel full normalisation of ties in return for its withdrawal from occupied Arab land and the creation of a Palestinian state.
Netanyahu has rejected Obama's request that negotiations with Palestinians resume immediately and that he agree to the borders that existed before the 1967 Six Day War to form the basis for the talks.
Nasrallah's Iranian-backed militant group last fought a devastating war with its arch-enemy Israel in 2006.
The month-long conflict killed more than 1,200 Lebanese dead, mainly civilians, and 160 Israelis, mainly soldiers.