azmi bishara 224.88.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
A former Arab MK accused of spying for Hizbullah during the Second Lebanon War last summer praised the guerrilla group Friday, saying it is now stronger than ever.
Azmi Bishara, a once prominent Arab Knesset leader who has been on the run since June, made the comments during a tour of south Lebanon border villages, where he visited the graves of Lebanese war victims and met with their families.
"Everybody envies the Lebanese for their resistance (Hizbullah) and its leadership, but I envy the resistance for its people," said Bishara, according to comments carried by the state-run National News Agency.
Bishara also condemned Israeli attacks against Lebanese civilians during the fighting last year.
"The massacres that were carried out by Israel were not a coincidence but were a strategic policy to frighten people," he said.
He praised Hizbullah for its performance during the 34-day war last summer, which was triggered by Hizbullah's capture of two Israeli soldiers in a cross border guerrilla raid.
"I am convinced that Israel has become incapable of attacking Lebanon again, and that is a very big achievement for the resistance," he said.
"Hizbullah has rearmed itself in the last year and perhaps is now stronger than ever," he added, according to the NNA. He did not elaborate.
Bishara left Israel in early June after being grilled twice by investigators and later resigned his Parliament seat. Police said he would be arrested immediately if he returns to Israel on charges of espionage for Hizbullah.
Both he and Hizbullah have denied the accusations. He has said he is a victim of political persecution.
Bishara has antagonized many Jewish Israelis over the years by meeting with some of Israel's bitterest enemies, including the leaders of Syria and Hizbullah. A Christian from the town of Nazareth who joined parliament in 1996, he frequently speaks out in favor of Palestinian rights.