BEIRUT: Hezbollah condemned Monday the recent attack in Norway that left at least 76 dead as “proof” of the racism of Zionist culture.“
The terrorist act committed by a right-wing extremist, who supports Zionists in Norway, is additional proof that the culture stemming from the Zionist enemy, or ideas that support it, is deeply tied to the racism of its leadership,” a statement released by the party said.
In several online postings, Anders Behring Breivik, the confessed perpetrator of the attack, promoted fiercely anti-Islamic and far-right Zionist views, calling for “the deportation of all Muslims from Europe” as well as from “the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.”
Hezbollah’s statement said “Zionist terrorism” poses a danger to Palestinians and Arabs as well as to Europeans and warned against “attempts to overlook terrorism tied to Zionism.”
“Concerning this assault, standards differ within the international community and positions are taken based on the identity of those accused of terrorism. If they were Muslims, then their culture and society would be condemned, whereas if they were close to Zionists, justifications and excuses would be sought,” it added.
Hezbollah said attempts to overlook the incident’s link to Zionist terrorism would encourage further attacks.
Other Lebanese officials attributed the attack to the degradation of moral values and to the lack of dialogue among communities, which they said promoted extremist movements that could only be confronted with a culture of openness and exchange of ideas.
President Michel Sleiman said the attack was due to the weakening of family values and ties, which countries in the East, and Lebanon in particular, still hold in high regard.
“Massacres by some extremists and maniacs against civil groups are due to the fading of some values and families ties, which the East still enjoys,” Sleiman said.
The bombing in the center of Oslo is thought to have been the result of a car packed with explosive chemicals which was set off outside government offices, killing eight and severely damaging the surrounding buildings.
He is thought to have then driven to the small island of Utoya, 45 km away, where he shot at young people who were attending a youth summer camp of the ruling Labor Party.
Despite having bullets remaining, Breivik surrendered to police when he was finally confronted on the island after shooting dead 68.
Condemning the attack, Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt called on Lebanese political leaders to learn from the incident, which Jumblatt attributed to sternness and lack of compromise within parties, communities and regimes.
“Sternness could push some individuals to act as insane, violent terrorists, bringing misery on others,” Jumblatt added. The PSP leader said “Norway’s massacre” highlights the importance of maintaining openness and dialogue, particularly when it comes to controversial issues, in a bid to bridge the gap and allay fears among the Lebanese.
Jumblatt added that dialogue among the Lebanese was necessary until an agreement over a national defense strategy could be reached, which would eventually lead to the “containment of Hezbollah’s weapons within the state’s official framework.”
“The PSP has stressed the importance of [upholding] the tripartite equation of the army, people and resistance until an agreement is reached over a comprehensive national defense strategy,” Jumblatt added, in reference to the disputed issue of Hezbollah’s weapons.
While March 14 parties insist the possession of weapons should be restricted to the state, Hezbollah maintains its weapons are necessary to protect Lebanon against Israeli aggression.
“Norway’s massacres should also be a lesson to some regime leaders who fail to understand the importance of political reform, instead of resorting to violence to confront righteous popular demands,” Jumblatt said in a veiled reference to the ongoing popular uprisings in the Arab world.
A statement released by the PSP’s media office later in the day condemned the “criminal act carried out by some extremists in Norway,” and “expressed its condolences to the families of the victims who lost their lives in this cowardly and extremist assault.”
The PSP media office also expressed its gratitude to those “who congratulated the party on the safe return of Basel Oud, a member of the PSP youth organization, who was taking part in the Utoya camp.”