"Any Israeli incursion will have no political results if it does not achieve its declared goals, primarily an end to the rocketing of Zionist settlements in northern occupied Palestine," Nasrallah said in remarks published on Monday.
 
"I assure you that this goal will not be achieved, God willing, by an Israeli incursion," he told As-Safir newspaper.

His remarks came after Hezbollah fired dozens of rockets at Israel on Sunday.

Responding to reports about diplomatic efforts to end the fighting, Nasrallah said the priority was to end Israeli attacks on Lebanon, but added he was open to discussing initiatives.

Nasrallah, whose whereabouts are unknown, also said Hizbollah would not object if the Lebanese government were to negotiate a prisoner swap, under which Hizbollah freed the two Israeli soldiers it captured on July 12 in return for Lebanese and Arab prisoners in Israeli jails.

International force

Nasrallah would not take a stand on proposals to send an international force to southern Lebanon to keep the peace, but said it was "very noteworthy" that Israel first rejected and then accepted the idea of a NATO-led force.

 

"Any Israeli incursion will have no political results if it does not achieve its declared goals, primarily an end to the rocketing of Zionist settlements in northern occupied Palestine"

Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of  Hezbollah

In a shift of Israel's position, Amir Peretz, the Israeli defence minister, said on  Sunday his country could accept an international force, preferably NATO, on its border to ensure the peace in southern Lebanon.

 

"This shift in Israel's position must be studied and considered well before taking a positive or negative stand on this idea," he said.

 

Nasrallah downplayed Hezbollah's loss of the strategic border village of Maroun al-Ras, saying Israeli media have hyped up the first major ground operation of the 13-day-old confrontation "as if it's the conquest of Stalingrad".

 

He said Israel's losses in the fighting for Maroun al-Ras showed the weakness of the Israeli army. Israel has said five soldiers were killed in the fighting there.

 

"The enemy is seeking a military achievement in order to exaggerate it, and use it in the media and in politics," Nasrallah said.

 

Prisoner swap

 

He also indicated that his group was still interested in a trade of two Israeli soldiers that Hezbollah captured in a brazen cross-border raid on July 12, sparking the current crisis, for Arab prisoners held by Israel.

 

An envoy from Germany's Foreign Ministry visited Beirut on Sunday while the German foreign minister was in Israel, leading to speculation that the European nation may embark on a mission to negotiate the prisoner swap.

 

Nasrallah said that Hezbollah has not been in contact with Germany but that the "German channel is still valid." He said he wouldn't object to other channels that the parties agree to.

 

In 2004, Germany negotiated a previous prisoner exchange between Hezbollah and Israel.