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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Palestinians in Lebanon - Exploited and unwelcome guests

Palestinian Arabs in Lebanon have a status slightly worse than that of dogs. Nonetheless, no UN resolutions are ever passed regarding the violation of Palestinian rights by the evil Lebanese, and the Palestinians are exploited to aid the Lebanese economy. Theoretically, they are not allowed to work. In fact, they do work - without social benefits and without any protection against exploitation, a convenient situation for some.
Palestinians pump up Lebanese economy - study
Despite employment obstacles, refugee community doesn't burden state's social safety net
By Dalila Mahdawi
Daily Star staff
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
Palestinians pump up Lebanese economy - study
BEIRUT: Despite facing severe work restrictions, most Palestinian refugee households have at least one family member who is employed, constitute 10 per cent of all private consumption in Lebanon, and do not burden the Lebanese welfare system, a recent report has found.
The Najdeh (Welfare) Association, a Palestinian nongovernmental organization (NGO), published the report examining the contributions of Palestinian refugees to the Lebanese economy in January with funding from aid agencies Diakonia and Christian Aid, as part of its "right to work" campaign.
The study is the result of a survey of 1,500 households in eight refugee camps across Lebanon and a number of focus group discussions, and assesses the income of Palestinian refugees, challenges to and perceptions of work, and their contribution to the Lebanese economy. According to Najdeh, the study "constitutes a paradigm shift in research on Palestinian refugees in Lebanon from examining employability to examining the contribution to the economy of the host country Lebanon."
Under Lebanese law, Palestinian refugees are barred from all but the most menial occupations. Nonetheless, the report found one third of the individuals sampled worked, 91.1 of households had a member who worked, and roughly 40 per cent were searching for work. Only 1.7 per cent of those surveyed had work permits, a fact the report said "renders the Palestinian refugee labor force invisible in official statistics" and exacerbates their socioeconomic marginalization.
Najdeh also found there was "disequilibrium in the contribution to the workforce among men and women typical to the region: women constitute only 20 per cent of those who work between ages 15 to 64 years." No change to this disequilibrium had occurred since a similar report was published a decade ago, the report said.
Some 31.1 per cent of men of working age (defined as 15-64 years old) were not currently in employment, compared to 83.2 per cent of women in the same age group. More women were found to work between the ages of 40-44 and 55-65, the report found, because "women go to work after their children grow up" in line with their traditional gender role as homemakers, or because elder women "have already been involved in the workforce since their youth."
Most men, meanwhile, worked when they were younger, between the ages of 25 and 29, and 35-39, in keeping with their time-honored gender role as breadwinner. However, significantly more men of working age were illiterate compared to their women counterparts. "This phenomenon may be considered a crude indicator of school dropouts," Najdeh said.
Most Palestinian men and women worked in the private service sector, with men working predominantly in construction, industry, transport and agriculture. More women, meanwhile, were employed in the NGO sector or by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Because of "limited work opportunities for Palestinian refugees outside" their camps, most of the men and women surveyed were found to work within or on the peripheries of the camps.
Perhaps surprisingly, the report found that a greater proportion (67 per cent) of employed women worked full-time, compared to 62 per cent of men, who more often engaged "in seasonal, occasional and other work patterns." Furthermore, more employed women (48.6 per cent) were employed by an establishment, whereas 49.6 per cent of men worked for an "individual employer." Men were also more likely to stop working due to health problems.
Most men (59.6 per cent) and women (55.1 per cent) said they were "somewhat satisfied" with their current work environment, but "twice the proportion of women express being 'very satisfied' with health and safety conditions at work" compared to men (21.7 and 10.8 per cent respectively). This may be because more men engage in occupations with greater safety hazards, stated the report.
The majority of both men and women expressed dissatisfaction with their low income levels, the report added. Median monthly wages were $260-266 for men and $188-200 for women. An overwhelming majority (84 per cent) of Palestinian households furthermore believed there were no work prospects for their children in Lebanon, a perspective perhaps compounded by the fact the median monthly household income of Palestinian refugees had declined from $260-266.7 in 2007 to $108-112 "during the first half of 2008." In addition, 54.9 per cent of households said they were supported financially by remittances from emigrant family members.
Individuals living with chronic illness constituted 16 per cent of the sample population in the report, 6.5 per cent of whom attributed their illness to occupation; 4.3 per cent of those with disabilities likewise attributed their disability to occupation. The report emphasized the difficulties these individuals faced, as because they are not legally supposed to work, they cannot claim insurance from UNRWA for occupational injuries. Consequently, "patients suffering from occupational injuries and their aftermath are vulnerable to financial as well as health-related catastrophes."
Although Palestinian refugees cannot legally contribute much to the Lebanese economy through employment, the sheer amount of them living in the country (more than 400,000) means they count for 10 per cent ($352 million) of all private consumption in Lebanon. Food, healthcare and rent constitute their top spending priorities.
The report also found that despite a 60-year presence in Lebanon and extreme vulnerability as a group, Palestinian refugees "do not appear to have constituted a burden on the safety net system provided by the Lebanese welfare system." The report stated UNRWA, NGOs and faith-based organizations represented the primary safety net for the Palestinian refugee community.
Palestinians also contributed to "invigorating" the areas surrounding their camps by creating low-cost markets for low-income and other marginalized communities in Lebanon. The "Sabra, Ein el-Hilweh and Nahr al-Bared camp markets are recognized as major informal economic hubs for the poor," said the report, adding that the destruction of Nahr al-Bared during the battles of 2007 had "resulted in a gap in the Akkar" region in northern Lebanon for such communities.
Concluding the report, Najdeh spoke of the importance of granting Palestinian refugees the right to work and called for "implementing a formal economic strategic partnership between the Lebanese economic community and the Palestinian refugee economic community." Najdeh also recommended allowing highly trained professionals to work in the Lebanese market "when needed," and forming a dialogue committee between the Lebanese and Palestinian economic communities. "This would enable Palestinian refugees to work more effectively toward their own welfare and the development of the country hosting them," said the report.

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Daily Star on Iran's Paranoia

The editorials of the Beirut Daily Star are not generally known for their Zionist sympathies, and they don't usually dare to speak out against Iran - that can be hazardous to your health in their neighborhood. Iranian behavior is of course predictable by anyone who understands what the Iranian regime is all about.
Thursday, February 05, 2009

Iran is currently celebrating its 30th birthday, with the passing of three decades since the nation's people succeeded in bringing down the monarchy of the US-backed shah and creating a government of their own. Yet despite having survived several external attempts to reverse the revolution, the Islamic Republic still behaves less like a confident, functional 30-year-old nation and more like a nervous teenage rebel fending off the authority figures in the United States and the United Nations Security Council.
Part of Iran's paranoid stance can be explained as the natural result of having been the openly declared target of a US campaign for regime change. But Iran's own delusions of persecution must also be counted among the reasons that the country has not yet assumed its rightful, respected place within the community of nations. While most Iranian leaders are typically experts in Islamic jurisprudence, few have demonstrated a solid understanding of the political workings of foreign states, and many appear to have been operating under the assumption that much of the outside world is waging a covert war against them. Most senior officials seem not to have noticed that the world around them - especially the United States - is rapidly changing course.
Many Iranians have reacted skeptically to US President Barack Hussein Obama's call to turn the page on the last three decades of sour relations between Washington and Tehran. But Obama's new stance was reinforced on Wednesday by Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany, who issued a joint statement voicing common commitment to seeking a diplomatic solution to the row over Iran's nuclear program. This softer tone marks a dramatic shift in style away from George W. Bush's "axis of evil" rhetoric, and could herald a significant change in substance as well.

The Iranians will need to adjust their own positions in order to adapt to a world with an America that is being reinvented each day that Obama is at the helm. The US president is widely popular around the world, and failing to respond to his challenges would risk allowing the Islamic Republic to be portrayed as the villain who seeks to thwart a sincere peacemaking mission. The best strategy for the Iranians would be to focus on the two arenas in which their country has most noticeably failed: public relations and diplomacy. Iran has never been able to successfully defend its controversial policies in the global arena, even though the country has arguably operated in accordance with international law. And although Iran is the most populous country in the Middle East, the country has so far been outfoxed by smaller, PR savvy nations that seek to demonize the Islamic Republic as a result of their own paranoia. The only way to change the current score is to join the PR and diplomacy game.

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Friday, July 18, 2008

Moderate Palestinian Leader Abbas congratulates Kuntar's family for killer's release

Is any comment really needed here? It speaks for itself.
Ami Isseroff
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday congratulated the family of notorious Lebanese terrorist Samir Kuntar , who was freed on Wednesday with four Hezbollah guerillas as part of a prisoner exchange with Israel.
Abbas welcomed the swap between Israel and the Lebanon-based militant group, and in a statement congratulated the families of the "liberated prisoners," issued during a visit to Malta.
Kuntar has been imprisoned in Israel since 1979. He was convicted of one of the grisliest attacks in Israeli history - killing three people including, a man in front of his 4-year-old daughter, and then killing the girl herself by crushing her skull.
In Gaza, meanwhile, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh on Wednesday hailed Kuntar as "a great hero" and said Israel's decision to release him and four Hezbollah fighters had undermined Israel's policy of not freeing "prisoners with blood on their hands."
Haniyeh also branded the exchange of prisoners as "a victory" for Hezbollah and armed resistance against Israel.
"The Israelis should pay the price for the release of Gilad Shalit," Haniya said in a statement in central Gaza, referring to the Israel Defense Forces soldier kidnapped by Gaza militants in June, 2006 cross-border raid.
"It is hard to see thousands of prisoners still held in Israeli jails," He added.
People celebrated in the streets of the Hamas-controlled coastal territory, and handed out sweets in support of Hezbollah.
"Today is a great victory for the resistance movements and to Hezbollah, said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri. "It shows that the only successful way to free the prisoners is by kidnapping soldiers."

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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Did Hezbollah really lose?

This account of the Hezbollah victory in Lebanon, Armed and Dangerous, like many others, attempts to be optimistic about the final outcome: Hezbollah will be exposed as a group that is not really interested in fighting Israel so much as in taking over Lebanon. By using their arms against other Arabs, they forfeited their legitimacy and will eventually fail.

David Kenner writes in the New Republic article:
But by turning their weapons on their fellow countrymen earlier this month, Hezbollah has violated the "grand bargain" with the Lebanese public that has allowed them to remain militarized. And by targeting Sunni areas of Beirut and Druze villages in the Chouf, Hezbollah has revealed itself to be, at its heart, a sectarian militia after all, provoking new hostility among non-Shia Lebanese. "The street is very angry about what has happened," says Yehya Jaber, a journalist for The Future, a newspaper owned by Sunni leader Saad al-Hariri whose offices were ransacked and set aflame during the clashes. "No matter what the politicians do, this is a temporary peace."
If Hassan Nasrallah had kept his weapons aimed solely at Israel instead of involving them in Lebanon's sectarian struggle, he may still have won Rabih's grudging respect. But local threats weigh heavier on his mind than geopolitical concerns. "It's two different worlds," Rabih explains, gesturing towards Barbour, no more than a minute's stroll away. "There is a deep hatred between these neighborhoods now."

The resentment is even deeper among the few Sunnis who live in Barbour. "The army tried to come in [during the first day of clashes], but Amal humiliated them and told them to leave," says Sana, a Sunni shopkeeper whose son had to change his identifiably Sunni name to something more generic. "I used to have a picture of [assassinated former prime minister and Sunni leader] Rafik Hariri in my home," she continues, lamenting the need to adjust to life under Shia domination. "But I took it down when the fighting began, because I live next to one of the bodyguards of [Amal leader] Nabih Berri."

As the terror of last month's attacks subsides, the fear of Hezbollah among Lebanon's Sunni, Christian, and other minority communities is quickly turning to anger. By alienating the other sects, Hezbollah's short-term military victory seems to be turning into a long-term threat to its weapons and its autonomy. Their violation of the unspoken bargain of their militarization last month is a significant turning point in Lebanon's precarious sectarian balance--a move that has already started to undermine Hezbollah's special status among the Lebanese population.

Losing their weapons would be a major--and possibly fatal--blow to the group. Without its weapons, Hezbollah would probably lose the support of its Iranian sponsors (whose primary goal is to use the group as a front against Israel), making it difficult for the organization to maintain its patronage networks, and thus allowing space for new Shia leaders to emerge.

"It is difficult for me to imagine Hezbollah [surviving very long] as a toothless organization," Safa says. In light of this month's violence, that day may now be closer than ever before.

It might happen. The flaws in the above logic are legion however. Hassan Nasrallah and the Hezbollah are not stupid and they understood exactly how far they could go. They have engineered the takeover in such a way that from now on they no longer need force. They have veto power over any government decision according to the terms of the agreement. Therefore, it is almost inconceivable that they will be induced to lay down their arms. Moreover, while their might be a lot of dissatisfaction with the Hezbollah in Lebanon, this is meaningless unless it can be translated into armed force. How many divisions has Future TV? None. It was shut down in fact by Hezbollah thugs. In the showdown, the army sided with Hezbollah, working out a near-bloodless capitulation to Hezbollah demands, that only required that they remove their troops from the streets. Saad Hariri had no say in the matter. He was a prisoner in his own house, and his Future TV was put off the air. As Hezbollah had won all their demands, there was no reason for them to keep their troops in the streets. The Qatar agreement simply put the seal of approval on the Hezbollah victory. Moreover, Kenner ignores the huge capacity of Lebanese and their politicians to delude themselves. One has only to read the Beirut Daily Star to understand that a significant element of Sunni Arabs and Christians are willing to make believe that the Hezbollah are really working for the unity of Lebanon and that the Qatar agreement is a "good thing." This is no doubt preferable to opposing the Hezbollah, which has often proven to be very bad for the health of journalists and politicians.

Hebollah has managed to take power by assassinating its most important enemies and then using just enough armed force to make clear who is boss. It is far more likely that if Hezbollah ever "surrenders its arms" it will be because its own troops have been absorbed in, and have come to dominate the Lebanese army. At that point, there will be nothing left of Lebanese sovereignty. The issue of popular support doesn't matter. Islamic Republics like Iran are not dependent on the support of a democratic electorate. They maintain their rule at gun point. The AK-47 and the explosive device, rather than the ballot and the public opinion polls, will decide the future of Lebanon, just as they have now decided the Qatar "agreement."

Ami Isseroff

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Lebanese Agreement to end Crisis

According to the headline: Lebanese Leaders Reach Agreement Ending Crisis
That remains to be seen. Here is the story from Naharnet:
Lebanese leaders reached an agreement in Doha early Wednesday to end a long-running political crisis that nearly drove the country to a new civil war.

"An agreement has been reached," between the pro-government majority and the Hizbullah-led opposition, MP Ali Hasan Khalil told reporters.

The agreement calls for electing a president immediately, formation of a government based on a 16-11-3 formula (16 for the majority, 11 for the opposition and 3 to be chosen by the president), adoption of the Qada-based 1960 electoral law such as Beirut is divided into three constituencies ( 5 -4 - 10) for one time only.

"We expect a (parliamentary) vote to elect a president on Thursday or Friday," Khalil said ahead of a Wednesday deadline for the Doha talks to wrap up.

Another opposition delegate who requested not to be named had said earlier that a joint committee formed to iron out differences over a decisive electoral law for parliamentary polls due next year had been "making final touches to a deal."

Lebanese rivals agreed last year on electing army chief Gen. Michel Suleiman as a successor to Damascus protégé Emile Lahoud, who stepped down at the end of his term in November.

But they have differed over shares in a proposed unity government and the electoral law.

The talks hung in the balance Tuesday after Qatari hosts announced a Wednesday deadline to receive responses to two proposals put forward by an Arab ministerial committee led by Qatar.

Qatar had put forward a compromise proposal calling for an immediate parliamentary vote to elect Suleiman as president and the formation of a unity government while postponing talks on a new electoral law, a government delegate said earlier.

The Syria- and Iran-backed opposition refused to put off discussion of the disputed electoral law, and insisted on getting a "blocking minority" in a proposed unity government.

According to the government delegate, a second proposal suggested a return to an electoral law adopted in 1960, which is no longer in force. That would require amendments to disputed constituency boundaries in the capital Beirut -- the bedrock of support for Sunni parliamentary majority leader Saad Hariri.

Rival parties aim to secure as many as possible of the capital's 19 seats in the 128-member parliament.

Both proposals also offered the opposition the long-demanded blocking minority, the same delegate said.

The 18-month-old political deadlock erupted into bitter sectarian fighting earlier this month that saw 65 people killed and during which Hizbullah and its Shiite allies briefly seized Sunni areas of mainly Muslim west Beirut.(AFP-Naharnet)

Beirut, 21 May 08, 07:05

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Hezbollah's Victory: The gift to Lebanon that keeps on giving

According to a recent survey, Hassan Nasrallah is the most popular figure in the Arab world, and with good reason. Hezbollah's great victory in the summer of 2006 has borne many fruit. Lebanese have buried over a thousand dead, though most were Hezbollah so that was not all bad news. Lebanese have not finished repairing billions of dollars worth of damage from the war. But the best fruit of victory is the gift that keeps on giving - the war scared the tourists away. Lebanese are very grateful to Hezbollah because, as the Daily Star headline tells us :
BEIRUT: The occupancy rate in Beirut hotels was 35 percent in 2007, down from 50 percent in 2006, said the benchmark annual survey of the Middle East hotel sector by Ernst & Young, as reported by Byblos Bank's Lebanon This Week. The occupancy rate in Beirut was the lowest among 19 markets in the region in 2007, as it was in the previous year, and Beirut posted the steepest annual drop in the region, the report said.
The survey said average rate per room at Beirut hotels was $140 last year, ranking the capital's hotels as the 12th-most expensive in the region ahead of Al-Ain in the United Arab Emirates, Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, Amman in Jordan and all markets in Egypt.
The average rate per room at Beirut hotels declined by 19 percent year-on-year and posted the second-steepest drop among all markets in the region after Amman, which declined by 28 percent year-on-year.
The average rate per room in Beirut came below the regional average of $196.5, which jumped by 17 percent from $168 in 2006.
Occupancy rates at Beirut hotels were 26.4 percent in January 2007 and 27.8 percent in February, and then rose to 41 percent in March and 56.2 percent in April before dropping to 47 percent in May and 21 percent in June. It increased to 41 percent in July and 47 percent in August, but remained below the normal rates during the peak summer months of June to August.

Occupancy dropped further to 37 percent in September and rose slightly to 40 percent in October before declining to 34 percent in November. But occupancy increased to 47 percent in December due to the peak holiday season, but still came below traditional rates for the time of the year.
Further, revenues per available room were $49 in Beirut in 2007, down from $87 in the previous year, ranking it in 17th place in the region, ahead of only Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt. Beirut's revenues were down 43.8 percent from the previous year, posting the sharpest decline among the 19 regional markets, compared to a rise of 16.8 percent across the region.
Beirut, Amman, Doha and Medina were the only markets to report revenue-per-room declines last year. Dubai posted the highest occupancy rate in the Middle East at 88 percent in 2007, while Kuwait posted the region's highest average room rate at $535. - The Daily Star
Hezbollah is also responsible for the permanent deadlock in Lebanese politics, which has left Lebanon without a president. No wonder everyone in the Arab world loves Hassan Nasrallah!
Ami Isseroff

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Winograd report: a bigger failure than the Second Lebanon War

This is my take on the Winograd report at ZioNation Web log.
Ami Isseroff

The long awaited Winograd report on the Second Lebanon War (see text of press conference on Winograd findings) has finally arrived. The suspense, if there was any, has ended, not with a bang, but a whimper. The public part of the report noted strategic failures at the military and political levels, but the report is so vaguely worded that everyone can make any claim they wish.

We should put the failure of the
Second Lebanon war in context and understand its significance. Failures of individual operations are nothing new and plague every army. IDF has never been immune from such failures, from the Israel War of Independence and throughout each campaign, successful or otherwise.The political decisions made after every war have always likewise not been uniformly optimal, and the decision to go to war has sometimes been questionable. However, never before has Israel seen such a combination of failures at every level, inflated expectations, incompetent military strategy, failure to protect civilians, low morale, failure of national purpose, decisions that disregarded the value of the lives of soldiers and diplomatic and public relations bungling. The Israel government tried to match the most powerful army in the Middle East against an enemy whose main weapon is his mouth, and the mouth won.

The report itself is a continuation of the failures of the Lebanon war and the political reaction to the report is a further continuation of those failures. The report was obviously tailored to serve political interests and protect those in power, at least in the public version. The politicians are each interpreting the report in terms of their own interests. Hassan Nasrallah of the Hezbollah joined forces with Likud and other Israeli opposition leaders in claiming that the report indicates Olmert is a failure and has lost all credibility. Kadima party members insist that the report exonerates Ehud Olmert.

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Anti-terorist investigator assasinated in Lebanon - what it means

Free World: Rescue Lebanon before it is too late
By: Elias Bejjani

A Lebanese top anti-terrorism investigator was murdered along with his escort and three other civilians in a powerful car bombing that ripped through a neighborhood of Beirut on Friday January 25/08. Maj. Wissam Eid and Aspirant Officer Ousama Mireeb, of the Internal Security Forces (ISF), were killed along with three civilians, and forty two other people were wounded. Eid was a key member of the ISF and was involved in many investigations related to terrorist bombings in Lebanon in recent years. He was involved in sensitive probes and this is a major loss for Lebanon. Eid was on his way back from a meeting of the UN commission investigating the 2005 assassination of former premier Rafiq Hariri when he was killed. Those who decided to murder Eid obviously feared that he had information linking them to one, if not all nine, other assassinations of members of the anti-Syrian movement. Eid had already provided the international enquiry into Hariri's murder with valuable information and this was not the first attempt on his life; two years ago a grenade was thrown at his house.

From The Lebanese Canadian Coordination Council (LCCC), we extend our warmest heartfelt condolences to the victims' families and friends who lost their
beloved ones in Lebanon on Friday, January 25/08, in the "Chevrolet heinous crime" that led to the death of Maj. Wissam Eid and Aspirant Officer Ousama Mireeb and three innocent civilians pedestrians: Joe Sarkis, Elie Fares and Alan Sandouk.

We ask Almighty God to grant all those bereaved families the needed faith, patience and solace.
We pray that the souls of all the new innocent victims rest in peace in heaven alongside with the saints and the righteous.

The identity of the perpetrators who executed this new crime against the Lebanese people, (the "Axis of Evil") is well known, as well as their destructive goals. Syrian and Iranian officials alongside with their Lebanese mercenaries, fundamentalists, militias, and Mafiosi rudely announce their venomous intentions and threats on a daily basis. Meanwhile the role of the local Lebanese tools spearheaded by "Hezbollah" in targeting Lebanese pro freedom leaders and supporters of the "Cedars Revolution", ministers, members of Parliament, clergymen, journalists and intellectuals, is exposed and extremely prominent.

Eid was targeted by the "Axis of Evil", because he played major roles in analyzing mobile telephone and e-mail contacts related to the assassinations of ex-Premier Rafik Hariri in 2005, the twin bus bombings of Ein Alaq in 2007, and the assassination of Gen. Francois Hajj, the army's chief of military operations, on Jan. 12, 2007. His work, according to ranking security officials, also managed to detect "established links" between Fatah al-Islam terrorists and Syria's intelligence apparatus. Such evidences compiled by the late Eid could help implicate Syria in the serial killings that have targeted Lebanon since Oct. 1, 2004, when Minister of Communications Marwan Hamadeh suffered serious wounds in a car bomb assassination attempt.

Many Lebanese citizens and dignitaries believe that Hezbollah is playing a major role in executing most of the assassination crimes. The Sunni Muslim Mufti of
Mount Lebanon, Sheikh Mohammed Ali Jouzou, on Saturday January 26/08, blamed the Hezbollah-led opposition for "every drop of blood that has been shed." in Lebanon. Jouzou said in a statement: "The opposition is considered responsible for every drop of blood shed on the land of Lebanon. The opposition is responsible for the victims of serial assassinations. The opposition is responsible for bombing crimes here and there." Since March 8 (2005) and the declaration of loyalty to the Syrian regime, the opposition indirectly said it approves the assassination of martyr ex-premier Rafik Hariri," Jouzou added. He noted that "March 14 leaders have been targeted, one after the other, and the threats were made from here and there by spokesmen for Hezbollah and the opposition, only to be followed by implementation, implementation of the death sentence by blowing off March 14 men. "Jouzou said attacks targeting the Army and Internal Security Forces are "sort of terror that accompanies efforts to foil all international, Arab and Lebanese initiatives and the opposition is considered responsible for them." Should we charge the opposition with high treason?" he asked. Addressing the opposition, Jouzou said: "You are conspiring against the homeland under the slogan of partnership, consensus and dialogue. You don't want partnership, you do not want consensus, you do not want dialogue." He added: "You want to kill Lebanon and you want to destroy Lebanon … for the sake of the Syrian Regime." (Naharnet/January 25/08)

The irony in Lebanon lies in the sad fact and in the bizarre status quo: Hezbollah has its mini-state and cantons inside the state of Lebanon, with its own army
which has thirty thousand missiles, its finances, jails, institutions, etc. Syria is still in control of three military bases under the Palestinian disguise, one near the capital Beirut and two others in the Bekaa Valley, adjacent to its border with Lebanon. In addition, there are 13 Palestinian refugee camps scattered all over Lebanon. These are 13 cantons and mini-states over which the Lebanese authorities have no control.

Below are two verbatim quotes from the testimony of ex Prime Minister General Michel Aoun before the US House Subcommittee on International Relations/September 18/2003. They describe exactly the ongoing Syrian destructive, criminal and terrorist role in Lebanon.

1-"Following a Syrian withdrawal (from Lebanon), it is quite conceivable that the Syrian regime will leave behind many of its instruments of terror and destruction as well as its paramilitary/intelligence apparatus. Therefore, it is imperative that a Syrian withdrawal be accompanied by a complete disarmament of all armed elements. Only the legitimate armed forces of Lebanon can be entrusted with providing security to the Lebanese people. They are certainly capable of doing so when provided with a strong political leadership duly elected by the Lebanese themselves, rather than appointed by an occupying power as is the case today. Equally important, Lebanon will need certified tribunals to investigate and bring to justice all criminals who committed war atrocities and crimes against humanity."

2-Under Syrian occupation the human rights of the Lebanese people have been systematically violated. An exhaustive description of the crimes committed by the
Syrian Regime and its goons in Lebanon would take thousands of pages and dozens of hearings. Two Lebanese presidents - both of whom can be accurately
described as unwilling to take their orders from the Syrian intimidators - were assassinated immediately upon their elections. Ambassadors, elite journalists, and political and religious figures from all denominations who dared to oppose Syria were kidnapped, tortured, imprisoned, and/or assassinated. And this is in addition to the tens of thousands of Lebanese who perished in countless massacres, in months upon months of random Syrian artillery shelling of civilian areas, and in countless booby-trapped and bombed cars.

N.B: It so sad to learn that Aoun, who is now an MP and after his return to Lebanon from exile in 2005, has negated all his patriotic and pro Lebanese stances, and joined the Syrian-Iranian, Hezbollah axis of Evil.

Who stands behind all the crimes that Lebanon has been encountering for the last three years? With no shred of doubt, and without any kind of hesitation, one can freely say: Syria, Iran, Hezbollah and their Lebanese-Palestinian local armed tools-instruments are fully accountable for each and every assassination crime that took place in Lebanon since 2005.

We strongly believe that the Lebanese Government, Lebanon's security bodies, judicial authorities and all its other institutions are currently unable to either deter or abort the Axis of Evil's serial organized and systematic killings of Lebanese patriotic leaders, nor to put an end to its destructive scheme targeting the country's
institutions, freedoms, democracy, stability and peace.

The government's failure lies in the fact that Hezbollah and the other Lebanese-Palestinian armed mercenaries of Iran and Syria are hindering all local, regional and international peaceful initiatives, endeavors and civilized plans.

In the face of this organized and intentional evil deadlock that Lebanon and its people are facing alone, we call on the Free World democratic countries, the moderate Arab countries, the United Nations and the Arab League to step in militarily under a UN Security Council Chapter Seven mandate and take over Lebanon for a rehabilitation interval as was the situation in Afghanistan, East Timor, Kosovo and some African countries. It will be even more effective and deterrent if NATO forces can assume this mission and not the UN.

Meanwhile an international probe and court needs to be set as soon as possible to put on trial all countries, especially Syria and Iran, as well as Lebanese individuals and groups that are hindering through crime and murder the Lebanese government and the Lebanese people from reclaiming their peace, independence, security and sovereignty.

The whole world ought to be cautioned that letting Lebanon be an easy prey for the "Axis of Evil" and its armed tools to devour, simply means an astounding
defeat for all principles of freedom, democracy, human rights, peace and stability, not only in the Middle East, but all over the globe. We call on the
Free World to step in and rescue Lebanon and the Lebanese before it is too late.

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Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Rockets from Lebanon!

"and the rockets red glare, gave proof through the night that the Hezbollah are still there."
It states:
It is not clear how many rockets were fired:
"We can confirm that a 122 mm Katyusha rocket was fired into the north of Israel from Lebanon last night," police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said.

Army Radio reports said that two rockets struck Shlomi at approximately 2 A.M., one hitting a home and the second an electricity pole.
One or two?
Who fired them? Not clear either.
Where is UNIFIL? Where is the Lebanese army?
Ami Isseroff
Rocket hits house near border with Lebanon
By Jack Khoury, Haaretz Correspondent Last update - 09:47 08/01/2008

A rocket that was reportedly fired from Lebanon early Tuesday struck a home in the western Galilee town of Shlomi.

The rocket caused no injuries but light damage was caused to the house.

The head of the Shlomi local council, Gaby Na'aman, said that it appeared that part of the rocket exploded in the air before hitting the house on Hazan Street in the city.

The Israel Defense Forces initially said it was old ordnance that exploded in Shlomi, but then said it was investigating further after receiving conflicting accounts.

"We can confirm that a 122 mm Katyusha rocket was fired into the north of Israel from Lebanon last night," police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said.

Army Radio reports said that two rockets struck Shlomi at approximately 2 A.M., one hitting a home and the second an electricity pole.

"Several residents said that they thought it was thunder," Na'aman told Army Radio. "This morning, we woke up and discovered they were Katyushas," he continued, referring to the rockets often fired by Hezbollah at northern Israel, which have a longer range and more explosive impact than the Qassam rockets fired by Palestinians from the Gaza Strip.

In June 2007, two Katyusha rockets were fired at Israel from Lebanon, the first rockets to hit Israel since the Second Lebanon War the year before.

One of the rockets struck a factory in the Kiryat Shmona industrial center, and the second one hit an open field. The rockets caused damage, but no injuries. Military sources believed the rockets were not fired by Hezbollah, but a Sunni group in Lebanon.

During the 2006 war, Hezbollah bombarded northern Israel with nearly 4,000 rockets.


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Saturday, December 29, 2007

A Roadmap for Free Lebanon in 2008/part 1

A Roadmap for Free Lebanon in 2008 (1)
By: Charles Jalkh/Freedom Fighter

When a nation is faced with open rebellion by at least a third of its people it has three basic choices; reach a settlement, quell the rebellion, or let go of the rebel territory. You can do this in war, or in peace, then live one more day hoping that you may be able to reunite the nation in the future if the people are willing .

In Lebanon today, Hezbollah dominates the Shiites constituency, or one third of the Lebanese people. It has erected its own state within our Lebanese state. It possesses its own more powerful army -with 30,000 missiles- which Israel failed to defeat, and many may be aimed at us. It conducts its own foreign policy and launches wars for which we must incur the cost without asking our opinion. It provides its own social services including education, health care, and financial assistance to its selective constituency while collecting central subsidies (protection money), paid by us.

It receives billions of dollars in foreign aid (from Iran/Syria) directly bypassing the Lebanese State legal and financial system. It conducts its own economic policy, manages its own business zones/entities, and has a gigantic land purchase program underway massively funded by Iran's oil dollars. Hezbollah has even built a complete infrastructure and has connected the areas under its control with its own road and telecommunication network totally independent of the Lebanese state network system.

Since the world powers seem unwilling to deal firmly with Hezbollah's patrons Syria and Iran, then Mr. Walid Jumblatt, a hero of the second Lebanese independence, is correct in stating that President Bush's verbal support to the Cedars Revolution "is not a currency that can be spent on the land of reality". In other words, March 14 cannot fully rely on the US, and is unwilling and unable to confront Hezbollah with forceful methods.

So going back to the choices a nation in rebellion has; we must re-assess, and confirm that since we are unable to reach an agreement with Hezbollah, and since we are unable and unwilling to defeat it militarily, we are therefore logically left with the third alternative, which is to part with it through partition. This solution will make hundreds of thousands of Hezbollah supporters happy for they would have achieved their Islamic Republic, their life aspirations.

It would also make the rest of the Lebanese happy, for we could then move forward with our own identity and future, formally detached from the Axis of Evil and sheltered from Israel's massive retaliations which remain a very real danger.

The Lebanese must understand that insisting on the 10452 klm2 Lebanon means assuming responsibility for it. We cannot complain again if Hezbollah launches another war and Israel retaliates massively again, there will not be a Paris 4 to help us in such case. The world powers must help Lebanon achieve a peaceful transition into two states, just as it has done in former Yugoslavia. It is good to pacify a portion of the disputed land, if you cannot pacify the whole.

One third of the people equitably means, 1/3 of the land, 1/3 of the Foreign Currency reserves in the central bank, 1/3 of the National debt. All army individuals would have the freedom to join either states. The two states should then maintain friendly and civilized relations due to family and land ties that may overlap the new borders. In some cases disconnected areas may be joined to their respective states via underground tunnel highways or train systems, such cross points could be easily engineered, but it would be nicest if we could travel over ground in the county of Mountains.

We Lebanese are creative enough to find solutions but we must avoid bloodshed at all cost. We should never wage war ever again on our own soil. Let us disagree and part in peace and continue to cooperate even after saying good bye. Let us peacefully create two new states out of the old and defunct one. Each answering to the national aspirations of its people. A Shiite Islamic Lebanese Republic named as such, and a Secular Democratic and Multi-Ethnic Free Lebanon state, grouping the Independence-oriented constituencies; the Druze, Sunnis, and Christians.

In Part 2 of this article, we will presents policy proposals for the new Free Lebanon state in a variety of areas including foreign policy, defense, economic, political parties/state reform, social, cultural, and human resources care policies.

A Golden Age is within our reach! All people deserve reaching their Promised Land.

December 30/07


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Monday, October 1, 2007

Civilian deaths in Lebanon - Double Standard

During the recent Lebanon war, Israel was roundly condemned by the United Nations, by Amnesty International and by Human Rights Watch, for killing civilians in Lebanon. Of the approximately 1200 civilians killed, nearly 700 were almost certainly members of the Hezbollah. It is impossible to know how many others were collaborators and helpers, like the men who operated rockets based on orders received by cellphone. Israel protested in vain that it took every precaution to avoid civilian casualties, risking the lives of its own soldiers and conceding strategic advantages by leafleting areas and announcing bombings in advance. The condemnations kept pouring in, regardless of the facts.
From Al-Jazeera, we learn the following, regarding the recent fighting between the Lebanese army and Fatah al-Islam, in the Nahr-el-Bared refugee camp:
More than 400 people have died in the fighting between the Lebanese army and Fatah al-Islam, including at least 222 fighters.
In other words, according to Al-Jazeera, the proportion of civilians killed in the fighting was about the same as, or higher than, the proportion of civilians killed by Israel in the 2006 Lebanon war. Quite strangely, no human rights groups condemned the Lebanese army, and the UN HRC and Security Council are silent as well.
Ami Isseroff

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Hamas tells it like it is, but lies

Hamas speaks. What part is a lie and what part is true? Consider this:
No, there were no Palestinian Jews. When the British Mandate began in 1917, there was only one settlement on Palestinian land, which included several dozen Jews, who were living there in violation of the law at the time. I would like to mention that under the Ottoman state – regardless of the many reservations we have about it – there was a law that prohibited the Jews from staying in Palestine for over a month. Their passports and personal documents were taken away from them, and they were given an Ottoman permit at the border, which allowed them to stay for a month on Palestinian land. The only group that can be called Jewish was the one in Nablus. They still live there to this day.
This guy has to be kidding. There are no Jews in Nablus, though there once were. But about four decades before the Balfour declaration, my grandmothers were born in Jerusalem. Five years before the Balfour declaration, my mother was born in Hebron. As for my aunt, her family had lived in Tiberias for over 300 years by the time of Lord Balfour and his declaration. One of my grandfathers was a soldier in the Ottoman army, not a transient with an Ottoman permit. The other grandfather was excused from service because he sold charcoal to the Ottoman army to run their trains.
The rest of what he has to say is equally fictitious. He has been smoking too much Lebanese blond, or too many Lebanese blondes.
There is one part I believe though:
...the final goal of the resistance is to wipe this entity off the face of the earth. This goal necessitates the development of the capabilities of the resistance, until this entity is wiped out.
So much for peace deals with the Hamas.
Ami Isseroff
Special Dispatch-Hamas/Jihad & Terrorism Studies Project
August 16, 2007
No. 1682
Hamas Representative in Lebanon Osama Hamdan Justifies Suicide Bombings in Buses: Israeli Soldiers Ride Those Buses
The following are excerpts from an interview with Hamas representative in Lebanon Osama Hamdan, which aired on Al-Kawthar TV on August 6, 2007.
August 06, 2007

Hamas representative in Lebanon Osama Hamdan Justifies Suicide Bombings in Buses: Israeli Soldiers Ride Those Buses

Following are excerpts from an interview with Hamas representative in Lebanon Osama Hamdan, which aired on Al-Kawthar TV on August 6, 2007:

Interviewer: Islamic law has forbidden aggression during Jihad – by forbidding the killing of women, children, the elderly, clerics who devote themselves to the worship of God, and other non-combatant civilians who do not serve in the enemy's army. Do you consider all the Jews in Palestine to be combatants who have plundered the land? We've witnessed martyrdom operations that targeted buses and restaurants.

Osama Hamdan: First of all, let me clarify something very important. What is the ruling regarding those who live in Palestine, in the co-called Israel, and who are aggressors and plunderers of the land? The way we see it, they all came to Palestine from abroad, whether before the declaration of the Zionist entity or after it. If you were to conduct statistics within the Zionist entity, you would find that all these people have their origins in other countries – they came from Europe, Eastern Europe, from American, South America, or other places.

Interviewer: In other words, there were no Palestinian Jews?

Osama Hamdan: No, there were no Palestinian Jews. When the British Mandate began in 1917, there was only one settlement on Palestinian land, which included several dozen Jews, who were living there in violation of the law at the time. I would like to mention that under the Ottoman state – regardless of the many reservations we have about it – there was a law that prohibited the Jews from staying in Palestine for over a month. Their passports and personal documents were taken away from them, and they were given an Ottoman permit at the border, which allowed them to stay for a month on Palestinian land. The only group that can be called Jewish was the one in Nablus. They still live there to this day. The Palestinians regard them as part of the makeup of Palestinian society, and they number no more than several hundred. As for those who immigrated from various countries – they are not Jews. Anyone who comes to live in a war zone is a combatant, regardless of whether he wears a uniform. That's one thing. Secondly, neither Hamas nor the Palestinian resistance force intentionally killed civilians. You mentioned the buses. What's an easier target – a bus, which is protected by various security measures, or a school, a theater, or a stadium, for example? These civilian targets – in which the killing of women and children is intentional – were not targeted by the resistance. Why were buses targeted? Because they are the means of transport used by the soldiers as well. The Zionist soldiers, who go from their homes to their bases and back, use public transport, because it is free or almost free. In my opinion, the occupation soldiers also have a security motive in using public transport: They shield themselves behind the so-called "civilians" within the Zionist entity. Therefore, the way I see it, they need to stop using public transport, or else society should prevent them from using it, because it is the soldiers who are targeted. Just to prove it, in the dozens of operations that were carried out, the Zionists never announced, for example, that 20 children were killed, or that 50 women were killed. On the contrary, if you were to examine who was killed in martyrdom operations that targeted buses, you would find that 70% were occupation soldiers, and they may even have been in uniform at the time of the operation.


We are making the preparations for a confrontation. This is not because we need to be prepared for an Israeli act of aggression – after all, aggression is intrinsic to this entity – but because the final goal of the resistance is to wipe this entity off the face of the earth. This goal necessitates the development of the capabilities of the resistance, until this entity is wiped out.

Interviewer: Do you think that Mahmoud Abbas, who has found himself in the crisis of the confrontation with Hamas, plays the role of a policeman, who thwarts the Intifada, the resistance, and the Jihad against the Zionist occupation in the Palestinian lands?

Osama Hamdan: He plays a role that is even worse than that. Mahmoud Abbas is doing this out of ideological conviction. He has been calling for a settlement ever since 1973. It was Mahmoud Abbas who created the Oslo Accords, and who was brought in by the Americans to serve as prime minister in order to confront Arafat. In my opinion, he plays this role willingly and out of conviction, which is worse than if he were doing so due to commitments to the occupation.

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) is an independent, non-profit organization that translates and analyzes the media of the Middle East. Copies of articles and documents cited, as well as background information, are available on request.

MEMRI holds copyrights on all translations. Materials may only be used with proper attribution.

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI)
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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Hezbollah's Delusional "Victory" and the Facts

Hezbollah's Delusional "Victory" and the Facts
By: Elias Bejjani
LCCC Chairman
July 15/07

Delusion is defined by the science of Mental and Psychological Disorders as a false belief that is firmly maintained in spite of incontrovertible and obvious proof or evidence. A delusion is a detachment from tangible and lived reality, from the facts and the environment, and from the capabilities available to the inflicted individual. It is a thought or thoughts which can be neither addressed nor corrected through logic or persuasion. The most frequent types of delusions are the "Delusion of Grandeur", the "Persecutory Delusion", the "Nihilistic Delusion", and "Guilt".

It is only on the basis of the scientific definitions of the underpinnings of this "delusion", and specifically here the "Delusion de Grandeur", that one can comprehend and interpret Hezbollah's delusional claim of victory against Israel in the July 2006 war. A war it initiated and waged on orders from the rulers of the two Axis of Evil countries, Syria and Iran, to serve their terrorist, fundamentalist, criminal, and expansionist plans.

Hezbollah made a unilateral decision to wage war against Israel without consulting the legitimate Lebanese State and by bypassing its institutions including the Cabinet, the Parliament, the army, and the judiciary. It acted with a self-prescribed "Divine" superiority and with the logic of the state-within-the-state empire it built in Lebanon, against the will of the Lebanese people and the constitution and laws of the country. This is the State of the "Faqih" [Islamic Jurisprudent], which is fully and exclusively affiliated with the regimes in Tehran and Damascus, and which is subservient to the rulers of those two countries. Naim Qassem, Hezbollah's second in command, openly admitted in a recent interview (Al-Kawthar TV, April 16, 2007) that every action that Hezbollah has undertaken since its founding in 1980, immediately after the Iranian Revolution of 1979, is vested exclusively by the "Jurisprudents" of Iran, and not by any other consideration such as Lebanon's national interests.

Hezbollah is simply an Iranian Army in Lebanon, period. In terms of its ideology and doctrine, its web of financial networks and activities, its authority of reference and armament, there is nothing Lebanese to Hezbollah, except for the plastic ID cards of its Mujahideen.

The illusion of victory against Israel which Hezbollah celebrated at this first anniversary of the July 2006 War, and with it Syria and Iran and their mouthpieces and peons in Lebanon, is an exercise in delusional absurdity and childishness, which would be funny if not for the deaths and destruction they visited on Lebanon. This celebration perpetuates the tradition of all previous Arab "victories" against Israel since 1948, where actual Arab-Islamic defeats were always turned - with lies, deceit, and yes delusion - into victories. Celebrating Hezbollah's "divine" victory is nothing short of scandalous and a shameful mockery of the intelligence of the Lebanese people. It stands as an absolute contradiction to reason, logic, and facts.

The ordinary Lebanese citizen who is genuinely concerned with the sovereignty of his country could not care less about the victory or defeat of Israel. Nor with the delusions of Hezbollah's leaders in victory, conquest, and slaughter à la Don Quixote. What matters to the Lebanese are the losses incurred as a result of a war that killed 1,200 people, injured thousands more, and caused large scale destruction of infrastructure estimated at over 20 billion US dollars. Lebanon has also lost 250,000 Lebanese to emigration. The country was set 20 years backward.

When we assess the results of the July war by every measure of reason and fact, it is doubtless evident that Lebanon and the Lebanese alone paid the price of the Syrian-Iranian mad adventure executed by Hezbollah. They paid that price with the blood of their children, their properties, their economy, and the future of their posterity.

As for Hezbollah, with its delusion of "Divine Victory" and all the slogans of liberation, resistance, slaughter of the enemy, and conquest, and despite all the catastrophes and calamities it has caused, it persists in its Iranian-Syrian mission to undermine the institutions, the constitution, the liberties, the democracy, and the very existence of the Cedars Homeland. Hezbollah's actions do not deserve celebration; they deserve the prosecution of its leaders, the seizure of its funds and assets, and the disbanding of its militias. Today, not tomorrow.

It is no longer acceptable to accommodate this illegal organization, give false praises to its disturbed leaders, repeat and reinforce their delusions, and exaggerate their superiority in their delusional victory of July 2006, and before it their charade of "liberation" in 2000. Hezbollah had only liberated the south from its Lebanese people, replaced the country's institutions with its own instruments of dependency, banned the Lebanese army and security forces from setting foot in the south, and then erected its own State within the State.

It is a crime against truth, conscience and logic for the Lebanese political leadership to continue kowtowing  to Hezbollah and propagating its lies, and to practice Taqiyah [dissimulating one's true opinion] and Dhimmi submission, through an idiotic marketing of Hezbollah's delusional victories of July 2006 and June 2000.

Facts must be called for what they really are. We can no longer hide the truth, for he who witnesses to the truth, the truth shall set him free.

I conclude with the Lord Christ's response to those who asked him to silence his disciples: "If my disciples went silent, the stones would speak".

Other Google's Definitions of Delusion:

**Elias Bejjani
Chairman for the Canadian Lebanese Coordinating Council (LCCC)
Human Rights activist, journalist & political commentator.
Spokesman for the Canadian Lebanese Human Rights Federation (CLHRF)


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France: Hassan Nasrallah is a jolly good fellow

Rumors of strange realignments in French foreign policy, bringing the French closer to the Aoun faction in Lebnon, seem to be confirmed. The French foreign ministry has announced that  Hizbullah is not a terror group. Rather they are really very nice fellows after all. Quoting Jerusalem Post:
"Hizbullah is part of Lebanese politics and must not be regarded as a terror organization, said the French Foreign Ministry in a statement Thursday night.

The statement was an apparent about-turn by France after President Nicolas Sarkozy said that Hizbullah was indeed a terrorist group when he met with the captured IDF soldiers' families in Paris last week. Thursday's statement was prompted by protests from Hizbullah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah."  
Not since a former French Foreign Minister claimed that Iran was a force for stability in the Middle East has French diplomacy been so "creative." The implications go well beyond Hezbollah. It seems that in the French definition, any group that becomes part of politics is no longer a terror organization. Therefore, if the Mafia or Al-Qaida run candidates in US elections, it seems that France will accept their legitimacy.
The statement was undoubtedly connected to France's attempts to mediate a solution to  the Lebanese crisis. Of course, you can only believe it is possible to mediate a solution if you are satisfied that all participants, including Hezbollah, are really decent chaps and legitimate organizations.
On the other hand, tomorrow may bring yet another denial.
Ami Isseroff


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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Second Lebanon war was Just - AB Yehoshua

AB Yehoshua explains that the second Lebanon War was  a just war in Yediot Ahronot. This coincides with Ehud Olmert's defense of the decision to go to war. But Yehushua also reveals that from the beginning, the purpose of the first Lebanon war was to conquer Beirut:  
And then in shock I heard the officer, who had just come out of the "bunker," openly deliver the message of war, which at the time was named Operation Peace for Galilee.
A few weeks and months later, then Prime Minister Menachem Begin would contend that he knew nothing of the plan, and even opposition leader at the time Shimon Peres, who voted in favor of the war with his faction, maintained that he did not know that this was the original plan.
However, we, among many others, knew very well from the outset what the ambitious plan that was executed and failed was all about: To destroy the small Fatahland in the south of Lebanon; to reach Beirut and take it over; to join up with the Christians and Druze and to establish a new government that would make peace with Israel.
 At the time, there was no mention of a 40-kilometer exit strategy, but rather, the takeover of Beirut; the occupation of an Arab capital -something Israel did not dare do until then.

A week later, I was sent home with a few other colleagues, including my friend Professor Avi Ravitzki. The chief education officer realized that a soldier could be sent to fight in a war that he doesn't believe in, but that there is no way to force someone to justify the war in front of soldiers, when he himself sees it as a foolish, vile and unnecessary act from day one.

And indeed, the years that have elapsed since then proved right those who from the outset doubted the necessity and  war of choice: The thousand of soldiers who were killed and injured, the vast resources that went into the war, the Sabra and Shatila affair, the undermined peace atmosphere vis-a-vis Egypt, the rise of the Shiites in the south and the formation of Hizbullah, and particularly – that same PLO that was ousted from Lebanon only to return via Tunisia to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Will Galilee ever have peace?
Much blood was shed for naught, the chaos in Lebanon increased, and the diplomatic atmosphere in the region deteriorated even further. Hence, during the difficult years that followed the original name of the war faded, and Peace of Galilee simply turned into the Lebanon War.

A year ago, on July 12th, Hizbullah - the Lebanese military organization that advocates Israel's destruction – launched an attack on Israel from the international border. It killed eight soldiers and captured two and began barraging the northern part of Israel with Katyusha rocket fire. I shall not repeat what happened last year, as it is well known.

Israel's forceful response to the attack was morally just, and this is also how it is perceived by most of the world, including parts of the Arab world. It is true that despite its justification, it lasted longer than it should have and revealed a host of weaknesses both in the army and in the fortification of the home front.

However, weaknesses and failures are not necessarily moral defects, just as victories and achievements are not proof of a moral advantage.

In stark contrast to its elder bloody sister, this war, which is still being called the Second Lebanon War, is actually Operation Peace for Galilee. It is taking back the original name of the first Lebanon War, which was desecrated with blood and destruction by the Begin government.

Will the Galilee ever have peace? I don't know. If this war, whose first anniversary we're marking, turns not only into a punching bag but also into a long list of urgent acts that need to be addressed, including rectifying military shortcomings, fortifying northern communities, formulating a Security Council agreement on the international border, and particularly bold moves to reach a peace agreement with Syria – there is, after all, a real chance for future peace in the north.

After all, the north is much broader than we think – it extends from Metula and Nahariya to the outskirts of Tel Aviv.
Ami Isseroff


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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Ha'aretz Canard about Shaba farms - it pays to be inventive

If there is no news, you can make your own, if you publish a large newspaper. UN denies requesting control over Shaba Farms reads the Ha'aretz headline. What happened? Ha'aretz published a report that the UN had decided Shaba farms belongs to Lebanon, and had requested control over it. Apparently, they didn't bother checking with UN sources first. So now, they get another story, which denies the first one:
The United Nations and the government denied a Haaretz report on Wednesday that said the world body had requested Israel transfer the disputed Shaba Farms area on the Lebanese border to UN peacekeepers.
"The UN has not asked the government of Israel to hand over the Shaba Farms to the UN," a UN official said.
"The UN's cartogropher continues his work and will be visiting the area shortly. The secretary-general remains engaged on the issue."
Jerusalem also denied the report.
According to the Haaretz report, printed on Wednesday, the United Nations transmitted messages to Israel in recent weeks that the organization's mapping experts have determined that the Shaba Farms on Mount Dov, now controlled by Israel, is Lebanese territory.
The report said that the UN, which has communicated to Israel that the disposition of the Shaba Farms should be dealt with as soon as possible, has proposed to senior government officials that Israel withdraw from the area and that it be considered international territory to be controlled by UNIFIL.
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert oppose the idea, Haaretz said. The size of, and sovereignty over, the Shaba Farms has been a matter of controversy due to the way the border between Syria and Lebanon was marked during the French Mandate between the two world wars.
Can we think of more headlines that will bring hasty denials?
"Bush: I have ordered the U.S. Embassy moved to Jerusalem"
"King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia: Saudis to open embassy in Jerusalem"
"Olmert: Israel is annexing the Golan"
"Hezbollah: We have decided to make peace with Israel"
"Livni: Israel has decided to allow Palestinian refugees to return to Israel"
"Hanniyeh: I have decided to become a Jew"
"Paris Hilton: I have discovered I am gay"
"Bruce Willis to have sex change operation"
Of course, all the above are nonsense. No doubt, each of the above would get the attention of many many readers, and sell whatever products Ha'aretz or another large newspaper is selling. And then, they can issue a denial and get a second article out of it.
Business is business after all.
Of course, the Independent and people like Robert Fisk discovered this idea a long time ago and have exploited it quite well, as has Uzi Mahnaimi at Sunday Times. Thanks to them, the world knows about imaginary Israeli uranium bombs in Lebanon, a super-imaginary ethnobomb, imaginary attacks on Iran and many more bits of journalistic fiction. It sells the product. Who cares if it is true? Somewhere there is a group of people who want it to be true, and that is enough. As Ilan Pappe tells us, "Facts are for pedants."
Ami Isseroff


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Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Ban wants to Ban Israeli surveillance of Lebanon that uncovered smuggling

UN Secretary Ban notes that Israeli overflights have uncovered arms smuggling to Hezbollah:
UNITED NATIONS - Illegal arms traffic into Lebanon across the Syrian border, mainly to Hezbollah fighters, is reported to be taking place on a regular basis, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Monday.

In a report to the UN Security Council, Ban said news of arms shipments, including "detailed and substantial" reports from Israel, and other nations, showed the need for a team he was sending to propose ways of monitoring of the border.
But rather than banning the arms shipments, Ban has a different solution:
Ban also singled out Israel Air Force jets and unmanned aerial overflights and said again he had asked the government to "cease fully" these "violations of Lebanon sovereignty."
With no Israeli overflights, there will be no reports of smuggling. Problem solved, right?
Ami Isseroff

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Halutz stopped development of safe Israeli cluster bomb and other vital arms

Now they tell us.

Halutz stopped advance of vital arms
Yaakov Katz, THE JERUSALEM POST Feb. 14, 2007

Development of a weapons system that could have been used against Hizbullah during the second Lebanon war was halted in 2002 by Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz, then commander of the air force. Development of the system has now resumed on the orders of the current IAF commander, Maj.-Gen. Elazar Shkedy, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

The system was being built by Israel Military Industries (IMI) until 2002, when the project's funding was cut by Halutz and his deputy at the time, Maj.-Gen. Ido Nehustan, today head of the IDF's Planning Division.

Development of the weapon was started in 2000 by then-OC Ground Forces Command Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yiftah Ron-Tal. Since the Ground Forces Command lacked the funds to develop the weapon, Ron-Tal joined forces with the IAF.

The system is not intended to harm civilians, and is being developed according the International Mine Action Standards.

"There is no doubt that this system would have assisted IDF forces during the Lebanon war," a former officer in the Ground Forces Command told the Post. "It could have stopped Hizbullah in their tracks and prevented the guerrillas from transferring weaponry and rockets from place to place."

According to another officer who was involved in the project, Halutz and Nehushtan decided to cut the funding due to a change "in their priorities." The Ground Forces Command, the officer said, then had no choice but to stop development.

But now, following the disappointing results of the second Lebanon war, IMI has once again been approached by the IAF, which has expressed what is being described as "extreme interest" in the weapon. The air force has yet to resume funding, but IMI sources told the Post they believed development would begin in the near future.

This is not the only time Halutz prevented the procurement of weapons that could have helped the IDF during the recent war. In August, Time magazine reported that as IAF commander, he rejected a US offer in 2002 to sell Israel "bunker buster" bombs capable of penetrating underground Hizbullah bunkers, saying that Israel had its own "superb weapons."

During the Lebanon war, however, Israel received an emergency shipment of bunker buster bombs from the US after its own weapons failed to destroy Hizbullah installations.

Following the war, IMI head Avi Felder appointed Dan Peretz, VP for research and development, to head a committee to study the IDF's future needs.

The panel concluded the technology existed to produce a variety of weapons that could have assisted the IDF, and possibly even changed the outcome of the war, but that for various reasons the military had decided not to purchase the weapons.

One example was the IMI system. Another weapon, development of which was stopped by the IDF before the war and has now been restarted.

The IDF has purchased several models for elite units and is now considering equipping all its ground forces with the advanced weaponry.

Another weapon the military declined to purchase from IMI before the war was a cluster bomb that self-destructs if it does not detonate upon impact, unlike the ones the IDF receives from the US.

"Had the IDF bought our cluster bomb it would have spared Israel a major diplomatic crisis," Dan Peretz said in reference to US intentions to impose sanctions on Israel for using American made cluster bombs against international regulations.

"The bottom line," Peretz concluded, "was that all of the technology was there. It was just that the IDF wasn't equipping itself with the necessary platforms and weapons."

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Monday, February 5, 2007

Blood Libel on Lebanese TV

A reminder of the progressive and liberal forces lined up against Israel.
Special Dispatch-Lebanon/ Antisemitism Documentation Project
February 6, 2007
No. 1453

Lebanese Poet Marwan Chamoun: Jews Slaughtered Christian Priest in Damascus in 1840 and Used His Blood for Matzos

To view this Special Dispatch in HTML, visit:

The following are excerpts from an interview with Lebanese poet Marwan Chamoun, which aired on TeleLiban TV on January 30, 2007.

To view this clip visit: .

Marwan Chamoun: "How many of us Lebanese, or even Arabs, know anything about the Talmud? Or about the book, Exposing the Talmud? Or about the book, Pawns on the Chessboard? Or about another book, The Secret World Government? Or about Exposing the Talmud? Or about Blood for the Matzah of Zion, [which deals with] the slaughter of the priest Tomaso de Camangiano, who was a Sicilian with French citizenship, in the days of Muhammad Ali Pasha, in 1840..."


"[Former Syrian] Minister Mustafa Tlass wrote a voluminous book about this, in which he included all the documents written by the French diplomats and consul in Lebanon."


"The world loves the Jews. The 'ruler' is Christianity - the Christian West. Arabs, Muslims – why don't you take advantage of something like this? A priest was slaughtered in the presence of two rabbis in the heart of Damascus, in the home of a close friend of this priest, Daud Al-Harari, the head of the Jewish community of Damascus. After he was slaughtered, his blood was collected, and the two rabbis took it. Why? So they could worship their god, because by drinking human blood, they can get closer to God. Where are our diplomats and politicians? Why don't we profit from these historical matters, which are presented to us on a simple, eternal, golden platter?

"As I've said, these books can be found on the streets of Beirut. There are approximately 20 to 30 such books. I must have bought about 2,000 copies since they were published, maybe more. I'd like to say 20,000 copies, but I don't know. When somebody gets married, instead of chocolates, I give him one of these books. Whoever reads this for the first time feels a chill of horror and disbelief. He cannot believe it."

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) is an independent, non-profit organization that translates and analyzes the media of the Middle East. Copies of articles and documents cited, as well as background information, are available on request.

MEMRI holds copyrights on all translations. Materials may only be used with proper attribution.

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI)
P.O. Box 27837, Washington, DC 20038-7837
Phone: (202) 955-9070
Fax: (202) 955-9077
Search previous MEMRI publications at

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Continued (Permanent Link)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Syria Severely Denounces Assassination of Pierre Gemayel

One wonders if they had the announcement prepared in advance. Bachir, Pierre's Uncle, died in 1982 of 400 KG of explosives. Apparently, there is a genetic defect in the Gemayel family that attracts such accidents, which are considered as "death by natural causes" in Lebanon. Opposing "sister" may be hazardous to your health.  
Syria Severely Denounces Assassination of Pierre Gemayel
Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 05:35 PM

DAMASCUS, (SANA - Syrian news agency) - Syria strongly denounced on Tuesday the assassination of the Lebanese Minister of Industry Pierre Gemayel when his car was shot this afternoon near Beirut.

" This  horrible crime is aimed at destabilizing solidity and civil security in Lebanon," an official media source said underlining : " Syria's keenness on Lebanon's security and the unity of his sons as well as keeping Lebanon's civil peace."


Continued (Permanent Link)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Lebanese Christian leader killed

Lebanese Christian leader killed

Pierre Gemayel
Gemayel was a leading anti-Syrian politician in Lebanon

Lebanese Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel, a Maronite Christian leader, has been killed in the capital, Beirut.

Mr Gemayel, a leading anti-Syrian politician, was reportedly shot in the street in a Christian suburb and rushed to hospital, where he died.

His death comes amid a political crisis in Lebanon, following the resignation of six pro-Syrian cabinet members.

Mr Gemayel was a member of the Phalange Party and the son of former President Gemayel Amin.

Gunmen opened fire on Mr Gemayel's convoy as it travelled through Sin el-Fil neighbourhood, Reuters news agency quoted security sources as saying.

Syria blamed

The news of the killing was confirmed by Saad Hariri, the son of the country's former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, who was himself killed last year in a huge blast.

A recent UN report implicated Syria in Rafik Hariri's death, in which Syria has denied involvement.

Saad Hariri, who is also the leader of the anti-Syrian coalition in the majority in parliament, has now accused Damascus of being behind the killing of Mr Gemayel as well.

"The Cedar revolution is under attack...Today one of our main believers in a free democratic Lebanon has been killed. We believe the hand of Syria is all over [this]," he told CNN.

Mr Gemayel's death means the Lebanese cabinet is now missing yet another minister.

The six pro-Syrian ministers quit their jobs last week in an attempt to bring down the government after their calls for a greater role in government were rejected.


Continued (Permanent Link)

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