The Hezbollah Resistance Museum or the Tourist Landmark of the Resistance, as it is officially known, is an open air war museum created by the Islamic militant organization Hezbollah to commemorate the battles they fought against the Israeli troops in and around the site the museum occupies today. The museum is located in the Southern Lebanese city of Mlita, 50 kilometers north of the Palestinian-Lebanese border. Mleeta was one of the most important sites of the Lebanese resistance. Between 1982 to 2000, this region was hotly contested between Hezbollah's forces and the Israeli military, eventually leading to the retreat of the latter from Lebanon. The bizarre theme park-cum-propaganda center, which was opened in 2010, covers some 60,000 square meters of undulating outdoor paths and wooded areas, and another 5,000 square meters in buildings.
Tours are led by guides who begin by welcoming tourists to "the land of resistance, purity and jihad." The guides emphasize the view of Hezbollah being the sole defenders of Lebanon against Israel, and mainly responsible for the Israeli withdrawal that came eighteen years after Israel's second invasion of Lebanon in 1982. They also maintain that Hezbollah's involvement is defensive: "If the Israelis don't attack us, we won't attack them. We are not terrorists, we are very peaceful people and we have the right to live like any other nations."
Visitors are then shown a welcome speech on video, where Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah speaks: "We hope this tourist jihadi center will be a first step toward preserving the history of our heroic resistance." Another film is shown, about the Lebanese-Israeli conflict that ends with a speech by Nasrallah and a "sober pronouncement" by the assassinated Hezbollah leader Abbas al-Musawi that "Israel has fallen".
The centerpiece of the museum is "The Abyss" – a depression filled with a variety of IOF vehicles, from battered jeeps, to remains of an IOF helicopter, to the IOF’s prized Merkava tank with its gun barrel tied in a knot, in mockery of the Israeli forces. The exhibit was formed by armored vehicles and weapons that were left behind by the Israeli army and its collaborators. A sign next to “The Abyss” reads, "This is a structural scenic art that symbolizes the defeat of Zionist entity.”
In the surrounding forest, displays show how fighters fought in the mountains, tunneling through rock to avoid detection from the air. Visitors can see bunkers and walk through a tunnel 200 meters long, used during the 2006 war. The bunker contains cots, kitchenware, electrical generators, and other equipment including an office equipped with telephones, radios and computers offering visitors a view into the life of Hezbollah fighters.
Another exhibit called “Martyrs Hill” features a garden decorated with guns and missiles, dedicated to the organization's martyrs who have died fighting against Israel.
Hezbollah has plans to expand the park's visitor facilities with swimming pools, spas, playgrounds, hotels and camping areas so that people "can come here and spend their vacations", stating that people in southern Lebanon have been deprived of such recreation for decades. There are also plans for a cable car to connect the park and town of Mleeta with the nearby town of Sojod.
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