Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO)

The Druze of Lebanon and Syria: Esoteric sect?

The Unitarian sect, the “Muwwahhidoun” (among themselves and excluding the Ignorant Juohhal)

The Druze religious sect constitutes one of the most extravagant of sects. The adepts, persecuted by the majority of Moslems, began to keep their distance from Islam to the point of having nothing much that links it to Islam.

The Druzes took refuge in the center of Mount Lebanon and in the surrounding high plateau in south of the Bekaa Valley, in Hasbaya and Rashaya, and in the Houran plateau in adjacent Syria and the Golan Heights.

The Druze adepts formed a distinct community and counted about 30,000 in 1860 when the mass massacres between the Druze and Maronite spread into Syria and Damascus and harvested thousands of civilians.

This peculiar religion appeared around the year 1,000, during the reign of the Fatimid Caliph Al Hakem (985-1018) in Egypt. (Read Note 2)

The Fatimid Caliph Al Hakem (985-1018) was a bizarre and complex person. He assassinated his tutors, gave order to kill all the prisoners in Cairo, and organized bloody combats as the night fell.

He drowned all his favorite women and his spouses in the Nile River, and ordered women never to leave their homes.

El Hakeem forbade eating the main food Mloukhia and many other ingredients, prohibited fishing and to sell fish with no scale…

He was a grand persecutor of Christians and burned their churches in Egypt and Syria…

El Hakem was claimed to have disappeared in 1021, to return at the End of Time.

This Caliph is believed to be God incarnate on earth by the Druze, and he is to be the last incarnate God.

The real founder of the Druze is Hamzeh, of Persian origin who settled in Cairo and was one of the closest to the caliph. Somehow he managed to be spared assassination by el Hakem.

Hamzeh began proselytizing in 1018 and proclaimed the divinity of his master el Hakem. Hamzeh dispatched his emissary Darazy to preach in Lebanon, in the regions of Hasbaya and Rashayya, close to the current Syrian borders with the Golan Heights.

Darazy ended up proclaiming to be divine and was assassinated, but the adepts had taken the name of Druze.

Hamzeh wrote 111 letters called “The Wise Letters”, which constitute the saint book for the Druze.

One of the letters attacked all the prophets and lambasted Prophet Mohammad as the calf, the devil, the bastard and the immature

The first dogmas is Metempsychosis, the soul is reincarnated into another mankind body  in order to resume its purification… This process continues until the Coming of Al Hakem.

The second main dogma is to rally the most powerful empire dominating the region and the most dominant of religion.

Since the dogma is of a high level rank that even the initiates have difficulty understanding, the Druze adepts must hide the mysteries, refrain from discussing the religion, and externally profess the dominant religion at the time...”. This attitude is referred to by “Takiyya

Actually, the Druze behavior was to adhere to the foreign missionaries religion who represented the most powerful nation at any period, studies in their schools and worked for them…

At the time, Islam was the dominant religion and they claimed to be Moslem.  The domination of Islam lasted too long in the region to be able to shift allegiance to another major religion.

As power shifts, the Druze shift allegiance. (Read Note 3)

A third dogma is to practice “Revenge” as a sacred responsibility against any one who kills a Druze.  The revenge should be dealt in a surprise manner, after a long time has elapsed to the killing, so as not to divulge the main perpetrator and why the target was killed…

The non Druze are called the Ignorant (as is the case in every religion), and the highest in the clergy are called the Wise (Okkal).

The Sheikh Akal is but the symbolic highest clergy or the main speaker in the name  of the sect: The real power resides in the highest group located in the saint place in Bayyada (the Hasbaya region). This assembly is the power who decides politically, militarily, socially, and religiously for the Druze… (Read Note 4)

Note 1: From the book “Memoirs of Syria: French expedition of 1860 to Lebanon and Damascus“, written by a French diplomat who attended all the negotiations to end the series of secular massacres between the Maronites and the Druzes

The first western published book on the Druze sect (1838) was by Sylvester de Sacy  in “Exhibit of the Druze religion”. The book is objective in the description and analysis, but lack the Orient comprehension of the deeper reality of this religion.

Sylvester de Sacy accompanied Bonaparte in his Egyptian campaign and stayed in Egypt for 40 years. 

One of the more recent books on the Druze sect was published in Paris in 1980 by 3 anonymous (non-western) authors and titled “Between the Logos (reason) and the Prophet” (Bayn al 3akl wa al nabi)

Note 2: Mind you that it was about this period that Byzantine Empire in Constantinople started another round of major persecution of the “heretic” Christian sects that opted to pay allegiance to the Pope of Rome. Among those persecuted Christian sects was the Maronite sect which fled and took refuge in the northern parts of the mountainous Mount Lebanon.

The Melkite (Royalist) Christian sect, later called the Orthodox Church, was the main persecutor of the Maronites and not any Moslem sect.

It is at the turn of this first millennial that many mysterious and underground religious sects were created and prospered. The Alawit sect spread at this period too.

The people were fearful and apprehensive of the coming calamities, but the extreme zealot people took advantage of people emotional weaknesses

Note 3: When the Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser was dominating the politics of the Arabic World, the Druze sided with Nasser.

In 1975-76, the Druze, represented by the leader Kamal Jumblat, sided with the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) that dominated Lebanon and headed by Yasser Arafat.

In 1976-82, the Druze, headed by the son Walid Jumblat, sided with the Pro-Syrian political factions

In 1982, the Druze sided with the invading Israeli troops and facilitated their advances and refused to confront them…

Note 4: The Takkiya is performed not just on the non-Druze, but this habit applies on their political leaders. For example, the Okkal Assembly were very displeased with Kamal Jumblat alliances with the PLO and communist Soviet Union. They gave Syria dictator Hafez Assad the green light to assassinate Kamal in 1978.

Note 5: The son Walid Jumblat got the message loud and clear and never ceased to obey the Okkal Assembly orders and decisions. Every season, Walid changes his position to coincide with the perceived strength of local and foreign powers. Walid keeps apologizing for his frequent “momentary lapses in judgments“.  But Walid doesn’t care, as long as the Druze believe that he is exercising wise intelligence.

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Demography explains hope in future: How Empires decline?

In general, history stories are recounted Hollywood-style, packed with actions, heroes, traitors, smart generals, and farsighted leaders and monarchs.  Empires decline due to steady decrease in demography rate.

The Moslem Ibn Khaldoun, in 15th century North Africa and considered to be the first sociologist and ethnographer, wrote that as people lose hope for a better future to their descendants, they decrease the procreation rate; conversely, in periods of high hope, population increases.”

If you revisite history stories, you can link, with high positive correlation, between periods of luxury and fast and increase in procreation. It is basically a mass perception of predicting the short-term evolution for survival.

For example, France was the most populous nation in Europe in the 18th century, until people started reducing procreation, which affected the process of holding on to colonies.  The Napoleonic wars exacerbated this perception of instability and insecurity. It was useless giving birth so that children are sent to wars for no return in profit or hope of a better future.

You might offer a counterpoint: “How come after 70 years of slow and steady holocaust process, inflicted by the Zionist movement (Israel State) on the Palestinian people, this strategy did not slow the increased procreation of the Palestinians?”  My conjecture is that most Palestinians live in camps: Camp life would be too depressing if devoid of kids playing, laughing, and cheering up the camp.  The more kids are playing around the more hope is sustained.

Camp life creates community supports and discrepancies among classes are not noticeable to prevent sharing the little that families have, and to caring for kids of neighboring families.

Another example relates to demography in South Lebanon.

Even during the French mandate to Lebanon (1919-1943) the Zionist movement planned and schemed to extend the northern borders of the future State of Israel (recognized in 1948) to the Litany River.  The successive Lebanese governments, since Lebanon Independence in 1943, ruled as if South Lebanon was of no concern to them: no funds and no budgets were allocated to infrastructures, schools, hospitals or any kinds of development.

Then, in 1969, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and headed by Yasser Arafat, and with the support of Egypt Gamal Abdel Nasser forced Lebanon to allocate a portion of South Lebanon (Al Arkoub) an autonomous status to the PLO.  Israel was pleased with this new situation and bombed the villages in the south on pretense of reacting to the presence of the PLO.

The “inhabitants” in south Lebanon started to vacate their villages and flocked to the suburbs of Beirut (Al Dahiah). With the civil war that started in 1975, the PLO was ruling as the de facto State in South Lebanon. Regular mass immigrations to Africa and elsewhere set in. South Lebanon was in the steady process of depleting of its inhabitants, which should have satisfied Israel’s great dream.

Then, Israel decided on the worst strategic blunder ever: Israel of Begin PM and Sharon invaded Lebanon in 1982, the Israeli army entered Beirut, and the military wings of the PLO were chased out to Tunisia, and thus freeing south Lebanon from the hold of the PLO.  Israel resumed its blunder and decided to occupy south Lebanon for 25 years.

That is how a purely Lebanese Resistance to occupation, constituted from many political parties started in full fledge. The regime of Khomeini in Iran extended new religious zeal, an ideology, organization, training and arms to a Shiia splintered faction of AMAL named Hezbollah.  The tide had turned.  Israel was forced to vacate south Lebanon unilaterally in 2000.  The Lebanese returned to their villages with greater hope in the future.

Israel tried another attempt in 2006 to chase out Lebanese from the south during an intensive and savage 33 days war.  Israel covered the land with over 3 millions cluster bombs imported from Tony Blair of England.  The purpose was to scare people off from returning to the south.

The day the UN declared cease-fire, people returned the same day to the south and didn’t wait from the government declaring the trip safe.  Makeshift bridges were erected (Israel had bombed out all bridges and highways) and where cars and trucks could not cross then walking was as good.

Currently, the border villages in Lebanon are witnessing boom in tourism and tourist facilities, yards away from Israeli tanks and border patrols.  The tide has turned. Israel may launch another savage and devastating pre-emptive war in Lebanon, but the game is over: hope in south Lebanon is high for a better future while Israel is experiencing the worst period in lost hope for a stable Israeli State.

Israeli is reverting to its ghetto mentality and holding on to biblical archaic myths and laws.

Note: TheSChiaa population in Lebanon is over 60%, and increasing at a higher rate than the other 17 other religious sects.

History revisited: Decline or loss of hope? (Part 2, Apr. 21, 2010)

In the previous article I wrote: “History is a collection of stories that need to be revisited frequently; stories to be revised with new eyes and new knowledge, since human behavior did not change perceptibly.  If any, human cruelty to mankind and nature increased by several notches.”

In general, history stories are recounted Hollywood-style, packed with actions, heroes, traitors, smart generals, and far-sighted leaders and monarchs.  Empires decline due to steady decrease in demography.

The Moslem Ibn Khaldoun, in 15th century North Africa and considered to be the first sociologist and ethnographer, wrote that when a people lose hope for a better future to their descendants they decrease the procreation rate; in periods of high hope population increases.”

If you revise history stories, you can link, with high positive correlation, between periods of luxury and fast and increase in procreation. It is basically a mass perception of predicting the short-term evolution for survival.

For example, France was the most populous nation in Europe in the 18th century until people started reducing procreation, which affected the process of holding on to colonies.  The Napoleonic wars exacerbated this perception of instability and insecurity. It was useless giving birth so that children are sent to wars for no return in profit or hope of a better future.

You might offer a counterpoint: “How come after 70 years of slow and steady holocaust process, inflicted by the Zionist movement (Israel State) on the Palestinian people, this strategy did not slow the increased procreation of the Palestinians?”

My conjecture is that most Palestinians live in camps: Camp life would be too depressing if devoid of kids playing, laughing, and cheering up the camp.  The more kids are playing around the more hope is sustained.

Camp life creates community supports and discrepancies among classes are not noticeable to prevent sharing the little that families have, and to caring for kids of neighboring families.

Another example relates to demography in South Lebanon.  Even during the French mandate to Lebanon (1919-1943) the Zionist movement planned and schemed to extend the northern borders of the future States of Israel (recognized in 1948) to the Litany River.  The successive Lebanese governments, since Lebanon Independence in 1943, ruled as if South Lebanon was of no concern to them: no funds and no budgets were allocated to infrastructures, schools, hospitals or any kinds of development.

Then, in 1969, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and headed by Yasser Arafat, and with the support of Egypt Gamal Abdel Nasser forced Lebanon to allocate a portion of South Lebanon (Al Arkoub) an autonomous status to the PLO.

Israel was pleased with this new situation and bombed the villages in the south on pretense of reacting to the presence of the PLO.

The “inhabitants” in south Lebanon started to vacate their villages and flocked to the suburbs of Beirut (Al Dahiah).

As the civil war started in 1975, the PLO was ruling as the de facto State in South Lebanon. Regular mass immigrations of Lebanese Shiaa to Africa and elsewhere set in. South Lebanon was in the steady process of being depleted of its inhabitants, which should have satisfied Israel’s great dream.

Israel decided on the worst strategic blunder ever: Israel of Begin and Sharon invaded Lebanon in 1982, the Israeli army entered Beirut, and the military wings of the PLO were chased out to Tunis, and thus freeing south Lebanon from the hold of the PLO.  Israel resumed its blunder and decided to occupy south Lebanon for 25 years.

That is how purely Lebanese Resistance to occupation from many political parties started in full fledged. The Islamic regime of Khomeini in Iran extended new religious zeal, an ideology, organization, training and arming a Shiia splintered faction of AMAL named Hezbollah.

The tide had turned.  Israel was forced to vacate south Lebanon unilaterally in 2000.  The Lebanese returned to their villages with greater hope in the future.

Israel tried another attempt in 2006 to chase out Lebanese from the south during an intensive and savage 33 days preemptive war.  Israel covered the land with over 3 millions cluster bombs imported from Tony Blair of England.  The purpose was to scare people off from returning to the south.

The day the UN declared cease-fire people returned the same day to the south and not waiting from the government declaring the trip safe.

Makeshift bridges were erected (Israel had bombed out all bridges and highways) and where cars and trucks could not cross then walking was as good a means of transport.

Currently, the border villages in Lebanon are witnessing boom in tourism and tourist facilities, yards away from Israeli tanks and border patrols.  The tide has turned.

Israel may launch another savage and devastating preemptive war in Lebanon but the game is over: hope in south Lebanon is high for a better future while Israel is experiencing the worst period in lost hope for a stable Israeli State.

Israeli is reverting to its ghetto mentality and holding on to biblical archaic myths and laws. And had built the Wall of Shame along all its borders: No see, no fear, no aches…

Note: The Shiaa population in Lebanon is over 50%, and increasing at a higher rate than the other 17 other religious sects.

Uncontested Palestinian Leader: late Yasser Arafat (Abu 3Ammar)

Known as Yasser Arafat; code named “Abu Ammar”; full name Muhammad Abdel Raouf Arafat Al Koudwa Al Husseiny was born in Jerusalem in 1929.

Yasser studied civil engineering at Cairo University and worked in Kuwait. In the summer of 1965 he started guerilla activities inside Israel with 10 feddayins, among them the future leaders Khalil Wazeer (code named Abu Jihad; assassinated in Tunisia by an Israeli air raid), Salah Khalaf (code named Abu Ayad), and Abu Ali Ayad (died in battle fighting the onslaught of the Jordanian army in 1970).

After the defeat of the Arab armies in June 1967, Arafat decided to take matters into his own hand: the Arab States can no longer be counted on to reclaim the Palestinian rights to a homeland and the return of the refugees since 1948 (date of recognition of Israel as a State).

Arafat set out to organizing the Palestinians into a resistance force called “Hurricane” (Al 3asifat) and resumed incursions into Israel at higher rates. An acceptable resolution would be a secular State on the West Bank with East Jerusalem as Capital.  He would repeat:

“As I liberate a single square meter then I would raise the Palestinian flag.  One day, a boy or a girl will hoist the flag in Jerusalem. We may differ as Christians and Moslems on many issues but we are unified on liberating Jerusalem and consecrating it our spiritual and political Capital”

Jerusalem was the cornerstone in any negotiation of more importance to him than the “right of return” of the UN resolution 194.

In fact, during the Arab Summit in Beirut 2002 Arafat was ready to accept the Saudi proposal of “land for peace” that did not mention the right of return.  Luckily, the Lebanese President Emile Lahoud was adamant on including this cause since the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon question is “a time bomb ready to detonate anytime”.

The uncontested Arab leader Gamal Abdel Nasser recognized that the nascent Palestinian resistance activities are reactions to the failure of his leadership, and he met with Arafat.  Gamal Abdel Nasser gave Arafat’s organization political cover to preserve control of Arab politics and introduced Arafat to other Arab State leaders. Thus, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) was formed in 1968, which included many Palestinian factions such as the national and Marxist faction of George Habash and the splintered faction of Nayef Hawatmed.

Syria would later include another faction with a military wing called Al Sa3ikat (Thunderstorm).  Arafat was the leader of the largest faction called Fateh (Conquest) and thus was elected Chairman of the PLO; Arafat was to hold the purse or the treasury of this organization to keep all factions in line.

King Hussein of Jordan defeated militarily the PLO in 1970 and the resistance fighters had to flee to Lebanon and Syria.  The Egyptian leader forced the hand of the Lebanese government to allocate a strip of land in south Lebanon called “Al 3arkoub” from which the PLO could wage guerilla attacks on Israel.

This was a top secret deal; Deputy Raymond Eddeh would persist and insist in the parliament to divulge the details of the deal at no avail.

The mostly Shi3a Lebanese citizens in south Lebanon were caught in between the military retaliations of Israel, the exactions of the PLO and the non-existence of the weak Lebanese government in that region. South Lebanon was de facto controlled and governed by the PLO.  The Lebanese army controlled every resistance movement in the south before 1970 but relinquished its hold after that secret deal.

The PLO quickly established political and administrative headquarters in the Capital Beirut and was immersed deeply in Lebanon internal politics. The Palestinian resistance fighters occupied all the Palestinian camps and transformed them into bunkers.

Israel didn’t mind the transformation and the involvement of the PLO in Lebanon’s politics. Israel goal was to displace the Lebanese citizens from the south and then conquer it. In fact, thousands of citizens in the south moved to the southern outskirts of Beirut in Haret Hrik, Ghobeiry, and Dahieh.  These areas would become the “belt of misery” and shantytowns.

In April 1973, an Israeli commando (headed by Ehud Barak) assassinated 3 Palestinian leaders in Beirut Kamal Edwan, Kamal Youssef, and Abu Youssef Al Najjar; it failed to locate Arafat.

In May 1973, the Lebanese army was encircling the Palestinian camps and Arafat took refuge in Embassies.  Arafat had a sixth sense on personal dangers and he did sleep in Embassies when the tough got going.  His best strategy for avoiding detection and maintaining security is to be “unpredictable”; thus he frequently moved from one residence to another and never informed anyone of his displacements, even his driver or bodyguards.

Arafat highly valued Medias and used it to the hilt. He also lavished on and befriended the cheikhs of mosques so that their Friday preaches increase his positive exposure. Arafat was not that good in rhetoric, but his charisma and large smile compensated greatly on other verbal deficiencies.

Arafat was super patient, like fish hunters.  He didn’t mind waiting for years until his enemy is caught in his nets.  He fundamentally used persuasion and then extending financial bait and then blackmailing when everything failed.

Arafat could focus under extreme dangerous situations and keep his cool for the sake of his surrounding assistants. He slept a few hours on early morning and then had siesta after lunch.  He extended aid to the needy and took excellent care of the martyrs’ families.  He owned only two military suits.

Arafat read every piece of mail and replied in details.  He carried a small booklet and noted down information. He once said “if one of my small notebooks is published monarchies would disappear and Presidents fall.”  Arafat was feared by Arab leaders because of his wide connections and the vast intelligence pieces he had on each one of them; thus, the PLO coffer was replenished on demand.

Arafat visited India PM Indira Ghandi. A guru asked Arafat “How many Palestinians are there?”  Arafat replied 8 millions. The guru retorted “I have 9 million followers who worship me as their God.”  Arafat said with a large smile “The difference is that everyone of the 8 million Palestinians thinks that he is indeed God

On November 1974, Arafat delivered a speech to the UN assembly and offered two alternatives: the olive tree or the gun.  He also talked to the UN General assembly in Geneva on December 1988 and declared his willingness to end armed struggle and the recognition of Israel; the USA decided then to recognize the PLO.

Arafat played a central role during the Lebanese civil war that started in April 13, 1975.  He tried to maintain a balanced position in the tag of war between Hafez Assad of Syria and Sadat of Egypt at the expense of the Lebanese civilians.  The leftist Lebanese organizations relied on Arafat for logistics in arms and ammunition and he controlled them completely.

Arafat once declared in Ramallah around 1998 that he was the de facto governor of Lebanon for over 20 years, even before the civil war. Lebanon would have been saved 13 years of mindless civil war if Arafat had decided to relinquish Lebanon to Syria and dealt with Israel in 1977 instead of 1993 for part of Palestine as he was forced to do later.

After the signing of the Oslo agreement with Rabin, Arafat returned to Gaza on July 1994.  He signed an agreement for the return of the West bank in September 1995.  Rabin was assassinated by one of his body guard. Netanyahu refused to go along with the agreement but finally submitted to the USA pressures and retuned Hebron (Al Khalil) after the negotiation of Wy River in 1998.

On September 28, 2000, Ariel Sharon entered the Masjed Akssa during the tenure of Ehud Barak PM.  The second intifada started.  Ariel Sharon was elected Prime Minister in February 2001 and he invaded Rammallah (headquarter of the Palestinian Authority) and encircled Arafat in his quarter. George W. Bush said to Sharon “Leave Arafat to God” and Sharon relied “I will give God a nudge

Arafat had food delivered through Israeli check points. He suffered acute ailment and knew that he has been poisoned by small doses.  Before being hospitalized in France Arafat said to his personal physician Ashraf Kerdi “The Zionists got me…”  Mohammad Dahlan (Fateh officer) told Arafat “When you are back your authority and power will remain intact” Arafat replied “In that case you are coming with me to France

Mahmoud Abbass replaced Arafat and refused to have an autopsy performed on the body of Arafat.

Arafat managed to hold together an organization of many factions for 40 years by centralizing the disbursement of the financial import he secured from the Arab States and from investment.  Arafat struggled hard to keep the Palestinian decisions independent of the vagaries of the multiple Arab States leaders’ interests of abusing of the “Palestinian cause.”  Probably, most of Arafat’s “peace deals” with Israel emanate from the disunity of the Arab States toward a strategic plan for checking the Zionist plans.  Arafat had to juggle Arab States priorities concerning their people interests.

Arafat sculpted an image of Palestinian resistance by wearing the special “koufieh” headdress and the military attire. He forged a logo for the Palestinian cause.

Tales of Twin Cities: Beirut and Haifa (April 1, 2009)

 

By the year 1933, the city of Haifa was the main magnet for the Levantines and Iraqis.  A railroad linked it to Egypt, Damascus and to the Hijjaz (Mecca) in the Arabic Peninsula.  A pipeline was exporting half of Iraq’s production toward Europe.  A modern port was the main export location of Syria’s wheat and grain to Europe. A new oil refinery was installed. Haifa was the most prosperous and promising destination for the Lebanese. 

Many streets were named after Lebanese towns and cities.  Anywhere you walked the stores had common Lebanese family names.  The Maronite Selim Khoury from Bkaseen (by Jezzine) was considered the richest in Palestine; he instituted a modern silk factory and many laborers from Lebanon flocked there. 

The families of Bustros, Sursok, and Tuweiny owned half the fertile plains in Galilee about (180 square kilometers). Suleiman Nassif had exclusivity on thermal pools. The CAT Company, a building contractor, erected series of houses outside Acre’s walls.

Lebanese educators and intellectuals taught there.  The famous lawyer, Wadi3 Bustani was the special counselor to the British Governor Colonel Stanton.  Dailies were created.  Haiffa was like Qatar and Dubai today for the Lebanese emigrants; they were welcomed and needed to absorb the fast pace economic explosion.

Then, in 1948, the infamous Zionist State was created by a majority of a single vote in the UN.  The administrations of the USA, France, and Britain wanted to get rid of the Jews in their midst.  The monster Stalin stupidly believed that Israel would be the first communist State in the Middle East.

The tide turned and the Palestinians flocked to Lebanon; the prosperous and educated Palestinian refugees headed to Beirut.  What the English and USA governments could not do in Lebanon was done by the Palestinians:  the English language spread and prospered. The American University in Beirut got a new lease on life; most of the Arabs in the Gulf, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq studied in Beirut.

The port of Beirut was modernized and expanded and replaced Haifa; oil pipelines and refineries were installed in Lebanon, most of the land transit passed through the port of Beirut.

South Lebanon was transformed into a vast garden of orange and apple orchards thanks to the expertise of the cultivators of Jaffa.  The financial institutions in Beirut flourished.  The insurance businesses got foothold; even today, most of the insurance executives are of Palestinian origins. Folk dancing, songs, theaters were initiated by Palestinian artists.

The rich Palestinian Christians were offered the Lebanese citizenship. The poor Palestinian Christian refugees were installed in camps in Christian districts such as the camps of Jisr Pasha, Dbaiyeh, and Mar Elias.  The Palestinian Moslems were distributed in camps all over Lebanon.  

These inexpensive Palestinian workmen were the main backbone for the emerging small and medium industries and in agriculture; until the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) disturbed the entire structure when it installed its headquarters in Beirut in 1969.  During the civil war that started in 1975, all the Christian Palestinian camps were overturned by the Lebanese Christian militias and the surviving refugees expelled from the Christian regions or cantons.

The PLO was forced to vacate Lebanon in 1982 and the Palestinian workforce was replaced by Syrians and the Palestinian refugees were confined to their camps; they experienced renewed constraints on work permits and selective jobs and restraining labor licenses.

Since time immemorial, the southern Lebanese seaport of Tyr was the administrative center for the entire region extending to beyond Haifa, Mount Carmel, and including upper Galilee. Under normal circumstances, the coastal zone from Tyr to Haifa could have been the largest Megapolis on the Mediterranean Sea.

The newly created apartheid Zionist State disrupted all kinds of major development in the region.

Note 1: I am reading the interesting Arabic/Lebanese book “This Life, my Sweetheart” (Ya Dunia, ya Gharamy) by Ussama El Aref.  One of its chapters inspired the theme of this article.

Note 2: After the Second World War, Germany welcomed the Kurdish workforce, arriving by train with fanfare and official bands, because it needed badly to reconstruct the country.  Germany thinks that it finished reconstruction and has no idea how to repatriate the Kurds of Turkey. 

Germany is offering to finance private enterprises in the Kurdish region for any Kurdish family willing to return.  The catch is: would anyone not feeling secure and safe in his homeland return?  Would Germany re-welcome any Kurds if political conditions deteriorate?

The third phase (June 1982-1985) started with the invasion of Israel to Lebanon and entering its capital Beirut for two weeks and ended by the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Sidon and East Sidon to Jezzine in the South.

Israel withdrew its forces in phases from various parts of the lands it occupied.  The tactics of Israel were to allow the Christian “Lebanese Forces” to infiltrate into mixed regions and let the factions fight it out among themselves when Israel withdraws. These tactics started a civil war in the Chouf that ended with the evacuation of all Christian villages, and the follow-up civil war in the region of East Sidon that ended with the evacuation of all Christian towns toward Jezzine (under Israel occupation) or East Beirut.

Israel continued its occupation of a major part of South Lebanon until its total defeat in year 2000 and the withdrawal of its forces without negotiation or conditions.

This phase witnessed the evacuation of the armed Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) from Beirut to Tunisia, the landing of UN troops constituted from US, France, and Italy into Beirut, the assassination of elected President Bashir Gemmayel, and the gruesome slaughter of the Palestinian refugees in the camps of Sabra and Chatila in West Beirut , contrary to the guarantees for their safety offered by the USA, France and Israel.  More than two thousands civilians (Palestinians and Lebanese) were killed within two days and nights.

The multinational forces composed of mainly French and American forces vacated Lebanon after two successful suicide car bomb attacks on their headquarters.  The Shiaa party “Amal” was split, and Hezbollah was created.  Battles between these two factions will intensify with Hezbollah taking over the control of Dahieh and “Amal” retaining the administration of what is left of South Lebanon.

Amine Gemmayel was elected President of the Republic with Israel backing.  The peace treaty with Israel that President Gemmayel was negotiating failed miserably in May 17, 1983 and the Lebanese army successfully checked the advances of the Syrian forces in Souk Gharb in the Aley region and which could have left the Presidential Palace exposed at the mercy of direct artillery fires.

The relocation movements within Beirut were the consequences of Syria’s supported militias like “Amal” attacking the Palestinian camps in and around Beirut. This war against the remaining Palestinian strongholds in West Beirut started in the summer of 1985 and lasted for 5 years which enfeebled “Amal” (the main Syrian supporter) militias militarily and politically.

Hezbollah was set to broaden its base in the Shiaa population and become the sole resistance power against Israeli occupation of part of Lebanon after Syria prohibited the leftist Lebanese forces to participate in that national and legitimate resistance.


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