BEIRUT: Lebanese political analyst Joseph Abu Fadel, an outspoken supporter of the Syrian government, physically assaulted Syrian opposition activist Muhieddine Ladkani Tuesday night on Al-Jazeera TV.
The confrontation comes months after two rival Lebanese politicians, Future Movement official Mustapha Alloush and head of the Baath party in Lebanon Fayez Shukr, came to blows in a televised debate on MTV, a Lebanese channel, over the crisis in Syria.
This time, the fight ocurred on pan-Arab satellite station Al-Jazeera. During a live broadcast of Al-Ittijah Al-Mu'akis (The Opposite Direction), hosted by Syrian television personality Faisal al-Qassem, Ladkani criticized Abu Fadel’s opposition to Qatar’s position on the uprising against President Bashar Assad, saying that Abu Fadel had previously praised Doha’s donations toward rebuilding Lebanon's infrastructure.
“I traveled to Lebanon after the  war and I saw people in Beirut's southern suburbs raising Qatari flags and saying 'thank you, Qatar,’” Ladkani said.
In 2007, Doha and Beirut launched a rehabilitation program for south Lebanon in which Qatar donated around $2 million to southern villages.
“How come you are now criticizing the Arabs? Didn't you personally raise a sign that thanked Qatar?” Ladkani asked.
Abu Fadel denied Ladkani's claims and quickly grew incensed.
“Shut up!” he shouted, rising from his seat and threatening to beat up Ladkani.
Both men then stood up and hurled insults at each other, after which Abu Fadel made his way around the table to where Ladkani was standing. This prompted the host, whose show is infamous for such confrontations, to intervene physically in an unsuccessful attempt to stave off Abu Fadel's assault.
Al-Jazeera then cut to a commercial break.
Abu Fadel is known for his supportive position of the Hezbollah-led March 8 alliance, which has rallied behind Assad during the 10-month uprising against the Baath party’s decades-long rule in Syria.