Lebanon News

Gemayel accuses Hizbullah of disobeying state

BEIRUT: Kataeb (Phalange) Party leader Amin Gemayel has said Hizbullah’s attempts to end Lebanon’s cooperation with the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) are a masked form of disobedience against state institutions, warning the party against resorting to force to accomplish its objectives.

“What is happening today is undeclared disobedience or preparations for future events. But from now, we inform those concerned that any tampering with the security situation will backfire against them,” Gemayel said Saturday.

“We are not wolves nor sheep. We are lions with the near past witnessing our parades and actions. The arenas yearn to hear our roars. Our commitments will not change, and we will not strike compromises over our martyrs’ souls,” Gemayel added.

The former president said despite the party’s “escalatory stances, the Kataeb regarded Hizbullah as an “integral part of this country.”

“We do not deny [Hizbullah’s] capacities or popular representation and we insist that Lebanon cannot be built without all its factions, including Hizbullah,” he said.

“But Lebanon cannot be built along with the state of Hizbullah. Lebanon as a nation is not seeking to unite with another nation. Lebanon seeks to unite all its citizens under its wings and under one Constitution,” Gemayel added.

Gemayel was speaking before a large crowd gathered at the Forum de Beirut to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the foundation of the Kataeb party.

Among the participants were representatives of Lebanon’s top three officials, the Future Movement, the Lebanese Forces and a large number of lawmakers, ministers and religious figures.

In the front row sat Justice Minister Ibrahim Najjar, MP Nuhad al-Mashnouk and Education Minister Hassan Mneimneh, who were representing respectively President Michel Sleiman, Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

The event, which kicked off with the Lebanese national anthem, was followed by the Kataeb Party’s hymn after which 2120 new members took the party’s oath.

Prior to Gemayel’s speech, representatives of the party’s 27 divisions across the country paraded on stage while slideshows paying tribute to the party’s “martyrs” were played on giant screens. A choir of more than 50 children stood in a cedar formation chanting partisan songs.

Gemayel said Hizbullah, under the pretext of resisting a US-Israeli plot to build a “new Middle East,” rejected international justice and thwarted the work of Lebanon’s military and constitutional institutions.

He added that justice goes beyond revenge to put an end to impunity in a bid to stop future political assassinations.

Gemayel’s eldest son, Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel, was assassinated in broad day light in 2006 in the Jdeideh area, east of Beirut.

Criticizing Hizbullah’s arsenal, Gemayel said an agreement among the Lebanese that “Israel is an enemy state” was insufficient to build the Lebanese state. “We should agree on a national pact … the principles of democracy, consensus and separation of powers as well as Hizbullah’s weapons in the sense that no two weapons should exist within one state, a state with two armies for one people,” he said.

Though he underscored Hizbullah’s role as a main constituent of Lebanon’s political and social factions, Gemayel said the party should refrain from seeking to establish “a state within a state” as well as serving foreign interests, in reference to Hizbullah’s ties to Iran.

Gemayel said his party has put forward several proposals to break the cycles of violence and political crises that Lebanon has endured over the past decades, strategies that focus on positive neutrality.

“We call for positive neutrality without relinquishing Arabism and Arab causes, civic laws without relinquishing religious values and beliefs, vast decentralization without establishing confederalism,” he said.

 

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