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Home arrow News Content arrow Blog arrow Blog Items arrow Opinions and Editorials arrow Hizbullah has a chance to put its money where its mouth is
Hizbullah has a chance to put its money where its mouth is PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dailystar, Dar al Hayat   
Sunday, 21 September 2008

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Nasrallah and "Developing Events"

Hizbullah has a chance to put its money where its mouth is
By The Daily Star

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Editorial

Since its emergence into the public sphere in 1985, Hizbullah has frequently been subjected to hostile media coverage that has effectively branded the group as a "terrorist," "Islamo-fascist," "anti-Semitic" entity. The party's repeated attempts to dispel these misperceptions have had limited effect, largely because the debate boils down to Hizbullah's word against that of the vast majority of the Western media. But the party is currently facing an opportunity to back some of its oft-repeated words with action - and thereby help repair its image both in Lebanon and abroad.

Many Hizbullah officials have tried, especially in recent years, to stress that although the resistance arm of the party is at war with Israel, the group does not have any animosity toward Judaism or members of the Jewish faith. But because the Jewish community in Lebanon has dwindled to such small numbers, rarely does Hizbullah have a chance to demonstrate the sincerity of these statements. But an opportunity to do just that might be located in Downtown Beirut's Wadi Abu Jamil district, the home of the Maghen Abraham Synagogue.

Like countless other places of worship across Lebanon, the synagogue was ironically damaged by Israeli forces, but unlike most mosques and churches that have been or are being rebuilt, Maghen Abraham has remained in a state of disrepair since 1982. A leader of Lebanon's tiny Jewish community, Isaac Arazi, is reportedly engaged in an effort to raise $1 million to restore the synagogue to its previous condition, but he has so far only secured a small fraction of the needed funds. Hizbullah spokesman Hussein Rahal has already been quoted in the Western media as saying that his party supports the restoration of the building, so why doesn't the party demonstrate the truth of these words by acting on them?

Hizbullah has already helped several churches in the country secure the funds needed to rebuild their properties that were damaged by the Israelis during their 2006 bombardment of Lebanon, including the Mar Youssef Church in the southern suburbs of Beirut. It is only logical that the party's leadership would be willing to expand this initiative and help rebuild the Maghen Abraham Synagogue, or at least call upon its supporters to contribute to the Jewish community's fundraising effort. Such a gesture would go a long way toward demonstrating Hizbullah's genuine commitment, as expressed by the party's leader, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, to preserving Lebanon's pluralism.

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&article_id=96154&categ_id=17

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Nasrallah and "Developing Events"
Walid Choucair     Al-Hayat     - 19/09/08//

Hezbollah's Secretary-General, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, insists on placing his native soil peers among those who were defeated along with Israel in the July 2006 War. In his latest speech, given on the same day President Michel Suleiman resumed the National Dialogue as required by the Doha Agreement, Nasrallah was claiming "to change the face of Lebanon, the region and the world", starting from this war and based on what he called "developing events in Lebanon, leading up to the May 7 incidents, then to the Doha Agreement and to the formation of a National Unity Government", as "the Resistance has gone past the real dangers that threatened it, and left them far behind".

The truth is that, at a time when reconciliations abound, in parallel with security incidents shifting from place to place, Nasrallah's speech included an "effort" to overshoot the discourse of accusations led by Hezbollah and the leaders of the Opposition against their political rivals. Such discourse was the basis for the events, which have led to the situation Lebanon witnesses today. On the other hand, Nasrallah's speech also builds on these accusations and continues to portray the political situation based on such claims, and on the basis of the classifications that were used during the two years of internal political conflict and regional implications.

Indeed, Hezbollah's leadership seeks to maintain its own interpretation of events, and intentionally avoids going back to accusing members of the Parliamentary Majority of "conspiring with the Israeli enemy" (accusations that were falsified), as a victory of the kind it has achieved in the July War is incompatible with the logic of committing to dialogue with the opposing side, in order to resolve quarrels that are being reflected on the ground. Instead, it goes to the extent of addressing the opposing side, as if it were doing it a favor by avoiding the return to such accusations, the use of which it needed to escalate in the past two years. These two years ended in the May 7 "victory" and in obtaining the obstructing one-third in government… and the face of the world changed. However, the main purpose for Hezbollah to avoid returning to the accusations it previously used to mobilize its public, to insist on its one-sided interpretation of events, and to link changing the face of the world with its condition of having more representatives of its allies at the dialogue table, on the domestic front, is to avoid discussing the role of Hezbollah's resistant weapons in changing the domestic political balance of power. This is done, taking into account the regional dimension and affiliations of the use of these weapons, which continues to this day in the neighborhoods and alleys of Beirut, and in a few villages in the mountain.

This is why Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah summarized the two years between the victory of July 2006 on one hand, and the events of May 7, 2008 and the Doha Agreement, on the other, with the expression "developing events", without specifically mentioning any of the events and restricting himself to listing their results… Indeed, those "developing events" include, among other things: the disagreement over ratifying the Special Tribunal for Lebanon to try those accused in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafic Hariri and all related crimes, and before that, over transferring the case of the assassination of Minister Pierre Amine Gemayel to the UN investigation; the resignation of Shiite ministers from the government under the pretext that the Special Tribunal was being imposed on the cabinet and that the session was not postponed; the start of the Opposition's sit-in in Downtown Beirut, surrounding the Grand Serail and demanding to bring down the government, as well as the series of jam-packed protests intended to fulfill this purpose; the events of January 23 and 24, 2007, beginning with blocking roads in the capital and isolating its neighborhoods, and ending in bloody confrontations in the neighborhood of the Arab University; the negotiations and Arab initiatives that included a role for Iran, as well as Saudi and French initiatives, not to mention international and Syrian stances… over "remarks concerning the Tribunal" and the obstructing one-third… The Parliamentary Majority may also like to mention, among such "developing events", the assassinations, such as that of Pierre Gemayel, then of Members of Parliament Walid Eido and Antoine Ghanem, and finally of Brigadier General François Al-Hajj and Major Wissam Eid… on Lebanese soil…

The expression "developing events" summarizes one of the major goals of the Opposition led by Hezbollah, which is to cancel out the effects of the 2005 elections. As for "coming events", after the Doha Agreement, their interpretation by Hezbollah, despite the climate of reconciliations, is based on the idea of predetermining the results of the next parliamentary elections in 2009, on the basis of "the July War leading up to May 7". Asserting that the Dialogue table can be expanded to include Hezbollah's allies, as did Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, resembles imposing choices on the President, who is the appropriate person to take the initiative in this matter. This reflects yet another one-sided perspective, as if General Suleiman did not become President by the votes of both the Majority and the Opposition, but rather as a result of the events of May 7…

Hezbollah's one-sided interpretation of the domestic situation once again squanders the meaning of the July victory, when it exploits it in small internal matters.

http://english.daralhayat.com/opinion/OPED/09-2008/Article-20080919-7af65184-c0a8-10ed-01ec-19d76dc6bea1/story.html



 
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