Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Palestinian Liberation Organization

Beirut and Haifa: They used to be twin cities, before Israel was created to block daily communication

Note: This is a re-edit of  “Tales of Twin Cities: Beirut and Haifa (April 1, 2009)”

By the year 1933, the city of Haifa was the main magnet for the Levant people (Lebanese and Syrians) and Iraqis.

A railroad linked Haifa to Egypt, Damascus and to the Hijjaz (Mecca) in the Arabic Peninsula (Now called Saudi Kingdom).

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 (a town 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 ( of about 180 square kilometers). Suleiman Nassif had exclusivity on thermal pools. (These families sold their lands to the Zionists in order to establish their political foothold in Lebanon)

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.  Haifa 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 (when most countries didn’t yet enjoy “independence” from the colonial powers).

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.

In fact, the most powerful bank in the Middle-East and based in Lebanon Intra was owned by a Palestinian Bidass. USA and Israel wanted to bankrupt this bank and ordered the Central Bank to cut off liquidity for the bank, though it had far more assets that the depositors needed.

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 (Yafa).

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 Basha, 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 (currently replaced by Syrians refugees); 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 Megalopolis on the Mediterranean Sea.

The newly created apartheid Zionist State disrupted all kinds of major development in the region and blocked the daily trade and communication among the same people..

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?

PLO endorses BDS, makes unprecedented call for sanctions

On Monday, the Central Council of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, officially announced its support for the BDS movement and called, for the first time, on the international community to “impose sanctions on Israel” to end its ongoing, grave violations of Palestinian rights as stipulated by international law.

This is the most explicit and official adoption of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement by the PLO.

Specifically, a statement released by the Palestinian Central Council, the second highest authority in the PLO, agreed to:

Adopt the BDS movement and call on states around the world to impose sanctions on Israel to put an end to its flagrant violations of international law, its continued aggression against the Palestinian people, and to the apartheid regime [Israel has] imposed on them.

This statement emerged from a PLO meeting centered on the Trump administration’s efforts to  recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, in contravention of decades of US policy and in direct violation of international law. The meeting took place in occupied Ramallah on January 14-15, and included the majority of the PLO Central Council’s 109 members.

It also comes in the wake of Israel’s escalating theft of Palestinian land through its expansion of illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian territory and its ruling party’s escalating efforts to annex all illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. To date, there are more than 600,000 illegal Israeli settlers in the occupied Palestinian West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) said:

As the leadership of the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights, we welcome the PLO’s decision to officially and unequivocally declare its support for the BDS movement, already supported across the breadth of Palestinian society in Palestine and in exile. This declaration, along with the PLO’s unprecedented call for sanctions against Israel, will further enhance the growth and impact of BDS across the world in pursuit of Palestinian freedom, justice and equality.

The PLO’s executive branch should implement the Central Council’s decisions by calling for states to impose meaningful sanctions on Israel’s regime of military occupation and apartheid, like those imposed on apartheid South Africa.

With this official Palestinian backing of BDS, we shall work more diligently than ever with our popular base and international allies to push for a two-way military embargo on Israel, the suspension of free trade agreements with it, and the cessation of trade with or investment in any Israeli or international company involved in Israel’s annexation of occupied Palestinian land and flagrant violation of Palestinian human rights.

How the half million Palestinian refugees disappeared in Lebanon since 1948?

Note 1: The survey sheds light on the living conditions of the latest count of 174,422 Palestinian refugees, as well as another 18,601 Palestinians who fled the neighboring conflict in Syria to camps in Lebanon. Instead of the official count of over 460,000 since 1948 and the successive Israel preemptive wars in Palestine and Lebanon.

The painstakingly conducted count found the Palestinians evenly divided between men and women with half of the total 24 years or younger. While 7.2 percent are illiterate, 93.6% of children aged between three to 13 were enrolled in schools.

Also documented is the well-known fact that Lebanon’s Palestinian camps suffer serious problems, with varying degrees of poverty, diseases, overcrowding, unemployment, poor housing and lack of any functioning infrastructure.

The census found that the rate of unemployment among young Palestinians aged 20 to 29 is 28.5% whereas for Lebanese it is currently 6.8 percent (If this percentage of unemployed Lebanese is correct, it certainly Not taking account of the thousands who immigrate every year for no return and those living in remote areas, barely surviving).

Note 2: Is Lamb trying to preempt Donald Trump’s decision to curtail Palestinian refugees aid? Trying to offer the lame excuse that the poor and non-oil producing countries (Lebanon, Jordan) cover the UNRWA deficit? Lamb uses terms of “colonization by Iran” as a way of discrediting the resistance of the Lebanese to Israel’s many successive , preemptive wars, 8 of them and frequent threats on Lebanon

By Franklin Lamb [First Published by Counter Punch, January 5, 2018]

Rashidieh Palestinian camp, on the border of Occupied Palestine, by Franklin P. Lamb The first ever official census of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon was finally released on 12/21/2017 in Beirut. The village by village and camp by camp survey by 500 specialists found that only 174,422 Palestinian refugees are living these days in the country.

Counted were all Palestinians living in the 12 official camps and 156 informal settlements known as ‘gatherings’ and those living outside these areas across Lebanon. This figure is shockingly lower than the previous estimate of 469,331 Palestinians by UNRWA and as many as 600,00 by others for political purposes. (Trump has started to drop funding of UNRWA

Lebanon is a country where demographics have long been a politically sensitive subject to be approached with extreme caution. For the past nearly 85 years (since 1932) Lebanon’s leaders have refused to allow a count of the population out of feelings of terror that a rival sect, among the 17 other rival sects, might gain power at their expense were there to be an honest count. Consequently, plenty of political lords have used fake population figures, without fear of contradiction by a forbidden official government count, to secure benefits-political and financial- for their own sect.

With respect to Lebanon and regional endemic tribalism, one is reminded of the words of Hannah Arendt from her volume, “The Origins of Totalitarianism:”

“Politically speaking, tribal nationalism always insists that its own people is surrounded by “a world of enemies”, “one against all”, that a fundamental difference exists between these people and all others. It claims its people to be unique, individual, incompatible with all others, and denies theoretically the very possibility of a common mankind long before it is used to destroy the humanity of man”.

The reason for UNWRA’s own higher figures since it was created by General Assembly Resolution 302 (IV) 69 years ago this month to help feed and care for refugees forced out of their homes in Palestine, its mandate has always been to register all Palestinians who, since the 1948 Nakba, apply for its help.

This UNWRA has faithfully done to the best of its ability while facing many obstacles-political and financial-over the decades.

Affecting its record keeping, starting in 1950s, scores of thousands of Palestinian refugees left Lebanon for a better life abroad. Just as more than 1,780,000 Lebanese have done since the onslaught of Lebanon’s civil war in 1975. Hence the larger number of UNRWA recorded registrants. UNRWA does not have a headcount of every Palestinian refugee who currently resides in Lebanon.

What they do have are official registration records for the number of registered Palestine refugees in Lebanon. If a Palestinian registered with UNRWA in Lebanon should decide to live outside Lebanon, as countless thousands have, they don’t normally advise UNRWA that they are moving.

As a gentleman this observer admires, Hassan Mneimneh, chairman of the Lebanese Palestinian Dialogue Committee, which coordinated the census, told the media a couple of weeks ago, “tens of thousands of Palestinians left Lebanon when the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) withdrew from the country in 1982. This observer knows something about this firsthand as he was on one of the August 1982 boats than left Beirut harbor by boat for Tunis courtesy of an invitation from Yasser Arafat along with the American journalist, Janet Lee Stevens.

Unfortunately, Janet missed the boat as she was assuring a group of Palestinian women in Burj al Barajneh camp in South Beirut that all would be OK as they worried about losing their PLO protection. The next month was the Sabra-Shatila massacre and seven months later April 18, 1983 Janet and our unborn child, Clyde Chester Lamb III were killed in the bombing at the American Embassy.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians left Lebanon when the PLO withdrew from the country in 1982.

Like the Lebanese over the past 3 decades, many Palestinians try to leave Lebanon at the first opportunity. And why wouldn’t they?

Lebanese seemingly leave their birth country any chance they get these days and during Lebanon’s civil war more than one million left and hundreds of thousands have until today.

There are fewer than 3.5 million Lebanese remaining with many of them searching for the first opportunity to begin a new life elsewhere because they realize that there is little future here for their children given the deep prevailing corruption of the former ‘warlords’ who appointed themselves ‘political lords.

Other reasons include the growing Iranian influence in Lebanon and the failure of the Sunni and Christians to counter the takeover of their country.

According to this seminal study, undertaken by both Lebanese and Palestinian statistics bureaus and the Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee, 45.1% of the 174,000 Palestinians in Lebanon live in refugee camps, while the remaining 54.9 percent live in “other gatherings.”

According to the census taking teams spokesperson: “We would see huge numbers used, 500, or 600 thousand, and these would be used in politics. But this demographic project was able to define things, and thank God today we have results,”

Prime Minister Saad Hariri said in an address at the event where the figures were released. The survey sheds much needed light on the living conditions of 174,422 Palestinian refugees, as well as another 18,601 Palestinians who fled the neighboring conflict in Syria to camps in Lebanon.

The survey found that the number of Palestinian in Lebanon were split essentially evenly between men and women, with half of the total being 24 years or younger. The percentage of Palestinian youth is nearly identical to the numbers of youth across the Middle East.

Dear reader can imagine what these demographics and living conditions portend for this region as the bright, energetic and acutely aware youth seek justice and empowerment from dictatorships who have cynically denied them empowerment for countless decades. Revolution is in the air across in Lebanon’s Palestinian camps and across this region.

Announcing the population survey results, Prime Minister Saad Hariri said Lebanon had a “duty” towards Palestinians. He pointed to “exaggerations” as for the number of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon which estimated the count at 600,000. He said the “actual number is 174,422,” assuring “that the State will adhere to its responsibilities.”

Hariri lamented how “some parties in the international community wish to offer no help to UNRWA but instead want to disrupt UNRWA.”

Pointing to the UNRWA’s financial crisis, he said: “It directly affects the basic requirements of refugees in Lebanon. We call upon donor countries to increase their contributions and support to enable UNRWA fulfill its financial obligations to meet the needs of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.”

With a total of $644,701,999 in contributions, the US, EU, UK, Sweden, Norway, Germany, The Netherlands and Japan pay 71% of the annual UNRWA budget. Mr. Hariri omitted mention of the fact that Lebanon, like Israel, donates zero dollars to UNRWA’s budget.

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Assuming the PM is sincere, and this observer does, then Lebanon “adhering to its responsibilities” can be quickly demonstrated by its Parliament granting Palestinians the half-century overdue elementary civil rights to work and to own a home granted to every refugee on earth by every country but Lebanon.

Why do many Lebanese politicians inflate the number of Palestinians in Lebanon?

Plenty of Lebanese and regional political lords have used the inflated Palestinian population figures seeking political advantage.

Lebanon’s anti-Palestinian block that consistently misrepresents the number of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon is led by more than one Christian militia who committed the 1982 massacre at Sabra-Shatila and by the Amal Shia militia that carried out the 1985-89 massacres at three camps which they servilely, on orders from the east, labeled “wars of the camps.”

There were no wars but rather massacres of Palestinian civilians who were without weapons to protect themselves since the PLO left Lebanon in August of 1982.

Among others with a long history of misrepresentation of the number of Palestinians, is Lebanon’s President, Michel Aoun. When this observer last met with Aoun as part of a delegation of pro-Palestinian Americans, Aoun stressed the point as he has done dozens of times before and since, that there are 600,000 Palestinians in Lebanon who, he implies are sucking Lebanon dry.

Also accused by Mr. Rifi of the same crime as Aoun is his son-in-law Jebran Bassil , who got appointed Foreign Minister despite Bassil having admitted he has no qualifications for the post but is close to Hezbollah and Iran like his father-in-law.

This week Bassil is again facing calls to resign. This time for remarks he made this week about Israel being no threat to Lebanon. Speaking on Iran funded Al-Mayadeen on 12/26/2017, Bassil in his position as Lebanon’s Foreign Minister, stated: “For Lebanon, [Israel] isn’t an ideological cause. We are not against Israel existing in security. We accept it. We are not against it. We just want all people to live in peace and to recognize each other. This is not a blind cause.” Adding “We are a people who accept and want the Other, despite our differences.” (For a reminder to all: Israel is an existential enemy in the Near East and created mainly by USA and the colonial powers)

In response to Bassil’s statements, former Environment Minister Mohammad Machnouk called on Bassil to immediately be fired, declaring: “If Jebran Bassil does not find an ideological difference with Israel and demands security for it, Cabinet should dismiss him because he violates the Constitution. “Is this Lebanon’s position in international forums? This is shameful!”

(Bassil had to meet with Hassan Nasrallah, secretary General of Hezbollah, for 5 hours after his unwelcome pronouncement. Israel is an existential enemy to the people in the Near-East countries) 

As do some other anti-Palestinian politicians in Lebanon, including the former Minister of Education and Aoun partner, Elias Bou Saab as he a few months ago incited his Christian supporters with the 600,000 Palestinians in Lebanon gross exaggeration at an event at the American University of Beirut (AUB) which this observer attended.

(The author is confusing anti-Palestinian/isolationist sections of mainly Christians Parties with people wanting that the world community apply UN 196 resolution of returning Palestinian refugees to Palestine)

Mr. Saab knows that many of his and Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) political party supporters worry about Muslims swamping them politically and socially much as was the case in the run-up to the 1975-90 civil war. (The Moslems, Sunnis, Shiaas and Druze are already 75% of the population)

Truth told Mr. Saab is probably not all that wild about this observer because at the above-noted event earlier this year in the presence of the UN’s elegant Special Coordinator for Lebanon Sigrid Kaag and a number of officials and directors of NGO’s and plenty of media, this no-account observer proceeded to deliver a short- well so it seemed to me- lecture with ample details and statistics to the then Minister of Education Bou Saad on the subject of inflating the number of Palestinians in Lebanon for political purposes.

I also painstakingly addressed the subject of the right to work and home ownership for Palestinian refugees forced into Lebanon against their will 7 decades ago (as Israel chased them out of their homeland). Despite the Ministers public assurance that he would meet with me and we can “fix the problem about the right to work” I still not heard from the gentleman.

But as life instructs us, there is plenty of good in all of us and during his three years as Minister of Education, Elias Bou Saab did, to his great credit, work to get a significant number of the 200,000 Syrian refugee kids now scattered across Lebanon into its public-school system employing a double session innovation whereby Syrian child could study using the same classrooms during split shift afternoon-evening time slot.

Some of the same political motivations have led to fake statistics regarding the number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

As of the end of November 2017, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) tallied 997,905 Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

A clear majority of them being women and children who fled their country to Lebanon from the outbreak of the civil war in March of 2011. More than 70% live in extreme poverty, struggling to eke out a living while sheltering in informal tented settlements or unfinished buildings because Parliament has refused to authorize refugee camps where they could receive more organized assistance.

The highest number of Syrian refugees who were ever in Lebanon from the ongoing war next door was 1,011,366.

From 2011 until September 2017, nearly 49,000 Syrians departed Lebanon for third countries under the UN’s resettlement program including the United States, Sweden, and France. Others left on their own, making the dangerous sea journey to reach Europe.

As with the Palestinian refugee’s count, the UN Syrian refugee tally has been shown to be 500,000 fewer than the 1.5 million scare tactic number some Lebanese politicians and their media have hyped for political purposes.

By buying food and necessities, made possible with international humanitarian aid, partly in the form of ‘food stamp ATM cards’ the Syrians are growing Lebanon’s economy and Lebanon shopkeepers are generally thrilled with them. (The Syrians are and were the main construction workers in Lebanon, even before 2011. Now they are also into the restaurant and food business)

But Syrian refugees are not growing Lebanon’s economy according to experts at the International Labor Organization (ILO) as fast as the Palestinian refugees would grow this country’s ailing economy if they were allowed the elementary civil right to work and home ownership as required by international humanitarian law and Lebanon’s constitution.

Lebanese law targets Palestinians that denies them the right to work, social security, or joining a union. There are at least 25 banned areas of work for Palestinians including medicine, law, engineering and pharmacy. Also outlawed for Palestinian is ownership of land, property or a home.

As Fathi Abu al-Ardat, a representative of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Lebanon, noted this past week: “when Palestinians have the rights to work and can live a decent life, they will improve the country on the level of economics, on the level of community, even on the level of security and stability for the country.”

Iran & Hezbollah know better but also use inflated Palestinians population numbers to keep the increasingly restive Shia population loyal by inflating the size of the Palestinian Sunni “Takfiri” threat to Lebanon.

Approximately 92-96% of Palestinians are Sunni and many resent Iran influence for several reasons. One is that in Syria, Iran’s funded and trained 12 militia including Hezbollah and the Al Quds force that have killed nearly four thousand Palestinians, and have targeted a majority of Syria’s ten Palestinian camps. (This exaggeration demonstrate the biased and unfounded siding with USA/Israel/Saudi Kingdom front)

The Yarmouk Palestinian camp near Damascus was home to 120,000 and another Palestinian camp in Latakia last month. (During this world war on Syria, Hamas and many Palestinian jihadists sided with the “extremist opposition factions).

The most recent demolished camp, over the past two weeks, was in the Southern Ramal district of Latakia, which residents claim Iran wants to ‘develop.’ For nearly 70 years, Ramal has been located along Latakia city’s southern coastline, on a strip of land that slopes down towards the Mediterranean Sea. The district was settled as an informal encampment in the 1950’s by Palestinian refugees fleeing Jaffa and other coastal towns. Approximately 10,000 Palestinians in Syria have lost their homes in Ramal.

By slinging inflated figures for the number of Sunni Palestinians in Lebanon at the Shia community, Iran’s leadership reportedly hopes to help Hezbollah whose primary bases, South Beirut, the Bekaa Valley, and South Lebanon increasingly believe that their sons, brothers and fathers are dying in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan for no reason except the whims of Iran’s Wali al-faqih.

(These are the kinds of crappy quick regurgitation of news media bad-wording against Iran)

Iran also seeks to instill fear among its own population to quell the growing number of protests from its own population spreading across Iran.

Iran, according to even neighborhood Hezbollah sources, has vastly overreached in the region with its hegemonic objectives and the people of the region, including increasing numbers of Shia, including thousands of fed up Iranians. Many Hezbollah leaders have long objected to what they have been ordered to do in Syria and the region.

Moreover, thousands of Iranian citizens have taken to the streets of the country’s second-largest city, Mashhad and other towns this week to once again protest high prices, unemployment, and the fact that their government is spending countless billions funding militia across the Middle East while “our women are selling themselves on the streets for money to feed their families and our young men are forced to steal!”

(These uprising were consequent to banks foreclosure due to shortage in liquidity. It subsided within 3 days as millions of counter Iranians surged in the streets))

Videos on Nazar’s Telegram channel showed citizens in Mashhad, an important religious center in the northeast of Iran, not chanting “Death to America” but rather “Death to the dictator” (Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei) and protesting about their ruler’s efforts at regional hegemony, rather than improving conditions at home. “Not Gaza, not Syria, not Lebanon, my life for Iran” was one of main chants.

Iran’s brutal theocratic rulers have a problem as many Iranian believe and hope that the current rebellion will rapidly spread and become for their rulers what Benghazi in February 2011 was for Gadaffi and Deraa, Syria was a month later for Assad. (The author is mainly day dreaming his wishes)

The claimed “Resistance” has also long used the inflated figure for political advantage as they seek to rein in many of their hard-core Shia supporters with claims that Palestinians in Lebanon comprise another 600,000 Sunni so why empower them with the civil rights to work and own a home? Given Hezbollah’s political power it would take just 90 minutes in Parliament to grant Palestinians the right to work and home ownership. But the tribal “Resistance” axis has chosen to block these elementary civil rights.

Hopefully growing pressure from the new generation of young Palestinians vying for leadership positions in the camps and the growing number of young Shia in the region who no longer want to be fodder from their leaders seeking revenge for the events at Karbala 1,500 years ago, can persuade the “Resistance” that true Resistance begins with improving the Palestinian camps and being allowed to seek a job.

Since 2013, Professor Franklin P. Lamb has traveled extensively throughout Syria. His primary focus has been to document, photograph, research and hopefully help preserve the vast and irreplaceable archaeological sites and artifacts in Syria.

Like Iraq, Syria is the cradle of civilization, and as such it has been a rich source of our shared global culture and historic heritage. Already endangered from illegal excavation, looting, international trafficking and iconoclasm; the theft and destruction of these sites has greatly increased as a result of the conflict in the Middle East.

Many of the endangered archeological sites and artifacts are over 7,000 years old. The oldest remains found in Syria are from the Paleolithic era (c. 800,000 BCE). The most endangered artifacts and archaeological sites currently are in Tell Halaf, the north of Syria near the Turkish border with Syria.

These archaeological sites date as far back as 5,500 BCE. They include archaeological sites and artifacts of the Babylonian, Sumerian, Egyptian, Assyrian, Phoenician, Aramaic, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Omayyad, Ayyubid and Ottoman civilizations and empires.

Professor Franklin Lamb has also been working, sometimes under dangerous circumstances, to record and photograph the war damage done to religious icons, images, monuments, and ancient structures that span pre-Roman civilizations, and structures such as Islamic mosques, Christian churches and Jewish synagogues.

Professor Lamb is working to record and photograph these sites and artifacts because they are in danger of complete destruction for religious, political and illegal trafficking reasons, especially due to the ongoing wars in the Middle East.

Professor Franklin Lamb’s website and his latest book, “Syria’s Endangered Heritage, an International Responsibility to Preserve and Protect” presents exclusive and never published before photographs, records, data, articles, and interviews from across the whole of Syria. His book can be purchased at his website http://www.syrian-heritage.com/.

In addition to Dr. Lamb’s urgent archaeological work he is also deeply committed to rescuing and aiding refugee children in Syria. He is a volunteer with the Lebanon, France, and USA based “Meals for Syrian Refugee Children, Lebanon (MSRCL)”, which seeks to provide hot nutritional meals to Syrian and other refugee children.

Lamb says that the goal of MSRCL is to be able to provide one meal a day to 500 children. More donors are needed in order for him to reach that goal. At $2.25 per meal x 500 children per day ($1,225), the budget for a month (30 days) requires approximately $36,000.

Over 95% of each donation goes directly towards the cost of each meal. The MSCRL volunteer teams give their time, energy and even their own money to help the refugee children so that they will not become part of the “lost generation” of Syria.

Lamb’s books and publications include “Pollution as a Problem of International Law”; “International Legal Responsibility for the Sabra Shatila Massacre“; “Israel’s 1982 War in Lebanon: Eyewitness Chronicles of the Invasion and Occupation“, “The Price We Pay: A Quarter Century of Israel’s Use of American Weapons against Civilians in Lebanon in addition to the three volume set, “Palestine, Lebanon & Syria Palestine, Lebanon & Syria (Commentary and Analysis 2006-2016).”

Due out during Fall 2016, in English and Arabic, is “The Case for Palestinian Civil Rights in Lebanon: Why the Resistance Sleeps.”

Dr. Lamb’s most recent book is “Syria’s Endangered Heritage: An International Responsibility to Preserve and Protect”. http://www.Syrian-heritage.com

Lamb’s Academic Credentials include: BA, and Law Degrees from Boston University, Master of Law (LLM) Master of Philosophy and Doctor of Philosophy from the London School of Economics (LSE); Diploma in International Air & Space Law from the University College of London; Post-Doctoral Studies at Harvard University Law School of East Asian Legal Studies Center, specializing in Chinese Law; International Legal Studies at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom; Studied Public International Law at The Hague Academy of international Law, at the International Court of Justice, in The Hague, Netherlands.

Lamb’s Professional and Political Activities include Assistant Professor of International Law, Northwestern College of Law, Portland, Oregon and Assistant Counsel to the US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, During the Administration of President Jimmy Carter, Lamb was elected for a four year term to the Democratic National Committee, representing the state of Oregon. Lamb served on the Democratic National Committee Judicial Council with California Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi as well as the Platform Committee on East-West Relations. Professor Lamb served on the presidential campaign staff for Presidential Candidate Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts.

mealsforsyrianrefugeechildrenlebanon.com/

Young Ariel Sharon: Has he ever changed?
 ” Palestinian women are slaves to the Jews, because that’s how we want them to be”
War criminal Ariel Sharon, butcher of Beirut, is dead. He never faced justice for all the lives he ended and ruined. (Graphic by @[1069374286:2048:Doc Rocket] & me)
War criminal Ariel Sharon, butcher of Beirut, is dead. He never faced justice for all the lives he ended and ruined. (Graphic by Doc Rocket & me) Ben White‘s photo.
General Ouze Merham interviewed Sharon in 1956 and Ariel’s answers:
1. I massacred 750 Palestinians in Rafah in one swipe
2. I encouraged my soldiers to rape the Palestinian women
3. Palestinian women are slaves to the Jews
4. We dictate to others what we want
5. I swear that I am ready to kill any civilian Palestinian I meet
This is the French text:
Au grand jour's photo.

Nadia Massih published in the Lebanese The Daily Starthis Jan. 11, 2014

BEIRUT: Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who died Saturday aged 85, was widely reviled in Lebanon for his role in the invasion of the country in 1982 as well as the massacres at the Beirut-based Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila.

Sharon was commonly dubbed the “Butcher of Beirut” for his association with some of the worst atrocities during Lebanon’s 1975-1990 Civil War.

The Daily Star
FILE - In this June 15, 1982 file picture provided by the Israeli Defense Ministry, Israeli Defense Minister Ariel Sharon, foreground, rides an armored personnel carrier on a tour of Israeli units advancing to the outskirts of Beirut, Lebanon, during the Israeli occupation. (AP Photo/Israeli Defense Ministry, File)
FILE – In this June 15, 1982 file picture provided by the Israeli Defense Ministry, Israeli Defense Minister Ariel Sharon, foreground, rides an armored personnel carrier on a tour of Israeli units advancing to the outskirts of Beirut, Lebanon, during the Israeli occupation. (AP Photo/Israeli Defense Ministry, File)

He was a part of the Israeli military since the country’s creation, as a member of the Jewish Haganah paramilitaries in the 1947-48 war that led to the “Nakba,” displacing hundreds of thousands of Palestinians.

He rose through the ranks with his belligerent military strategies, leading a brigade in the 1956 Suez War, and engineering the capture of the Sinai Peninsula 11 years later during the Six Day War.

However, it was in his political career that he will be most controversially remembered.

As Defense Minister he spearheaded the invasion of Lebanon in 1982, set up to root out Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian Liberation Organization and form a peace accord with the Beirut government. The invasion morphed into a long occupation, and inadvertently helped to confirm Hezbollah’s status as the resistance party.

In 1982, Israel’s ally Bashir Gemayel was assassinated by Syrian Socialist Nationalist Party member Habib Chartouni. Gemayel’s Kataeb fighters looked to the Palestinians to avenge the death and launched an attack of the Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camps in Beirut, which were under Israeli control.

Over 3,000 Palestinians, including many women and children, were brutally killed, and as many taken away, never to reappear.

It was a massacre that Sharon was personally implicated in. A U.N. investigation the next year concluded that Israel was responsible for the attacks, and the Israeli-run Kahan Commission the same year determined that Sharon was personally accountable.

The Kahan report’s findings said that Sharon bore responsibility “for ignoring the danger of bloodshed and revenge” and “not taking appropriate measures to prevent bloodshed.”

The conclusions led many to dub Sharon the “Butcher of Beirut” and forced him to resign from the defense post but he refused to leave Cabinet, remaining minister without portfolio.

His bellicose reputation continued into his tenure as prime minister.

In 2000, he walked brazenly into the Temple Mount complex which houses the Dome of the Rock and the Aqsa mosque, some of the holiest sites in Islam. The inflammatory move was widely attributed as sparking the Second Palestinian Intifada.

He was also associated with the widespread expansion of illegal outposts in the West Bank. As Housing Minister in the 1990s, he oversaw the biggest settlement drive in 20 years.

However, despite his uncompromising attitude, in 2004 he signed into law a plan to re-house all settlers in the Gaza Strip.

Sharon: ‘Occupation’ terrible for Israel, Palestinians

Kelly Wallace on CNN this May 27, 2003

JERUSALEM (CNN) — Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon appears to be urging Israelis to accept giving up land for peace and advocating an end to what he called “occupation.”

“You cannot like the word, but what is happening is an occupation — to hold 3.5 million Palestinians under occupation. I believe that is a terrible thing for Israel and for the Palestinians,” he said Monday.

Those were stunning words from the longtime hawk and backer of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza.

“It can’t continue endlessly,” Sharon said. “Do you want to stay forever in Jenin, in Nablus, in Ramallah, in Bethlehem? I don’t think that’s right.”

On Sunday, the Israeli Cabinet voted to accept — with reservations — the U.S.-supported “road map” to peace, clearing the way for a series of steps that would lead to the creation of a Palestinian state within three years.

The first phase of the road map involves the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Palestinian zones reoccupied during the current uprising and a freeze on settlement activity in the West Bank and Gaza.

Palestinian officials are required to crack down on militant groups that have carried out attacks against Israelis.

The Palestinian Authority accepted the plan last month after it was drafted by the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations, the so-called Mideast Quartet.

The Israeli Cabinet’s 12-7 vote, with four abstentions, marked the first time an Israeli government has formally accepted the principle of a Palestinian state.

But Sharon faces a skeptical public. In a newspaper poll Monday, 51 percent said implementing the road map would not lead to peace, while 43 percent said it would.

The stakes will be high for this week’s expected meeting between Sharon and Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas.

Abbas will call for immediate implementation of the road map, including an end to Israeli military operations in Palestinian areas and a freeze on any settlement expansion, Palestinian advisers said.

Both steps are key to convincing radical Palestinian groups to stop attacks against Israel, the Palestinians said.

But Israeli sources said Sharon will reiterate his long-held position that the first step must be a clear and visible Palestinian crackdown on groups such as Hamas, which has claimed responsibility for four recent suicide bombings against Israelis.

Hamas, a Palestinian Islamic fundamentalist organization, has acknowledged attacks on Israeli civilians and soldiers and has been labeled a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department.

Daniel Ayalon, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, said Israel wants to see a “complete dismantling of the infrastructure of terror” by Abbas’ government.

“We cannot have negotiation by day and killing us at night,” Ayalon said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”

Sharon and Abbas failed to achieve any breakthroughs in their last meeting more than a week ago.

And a series of suicide bombings by Islamic militant groups befinning shortly before the meeting was seen as a “declaration of war” by Sharon’s government.

Now the two men face U.S. pressure to deliver, with a possible Mideast summit — with President Bush as host — perhaps hinging on what comes out of this week’s talks.

A three-way summit involving Sharon, Abbas and Bush could be called within 10 days.

A senior Bush administration official told CNN that the White House would not agree to a summit until it sees initial steps taken by both sides — a Palestinian crackdown on militants and the lifting of Israeli economic restrictions.

Nevertheless, a Bush administration advance team left Sunday morning for Egypt to begin preparations for the possible summit, an administration official told CNN. The team is also set to go to Jordan, which Bush might visit early next month.

Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Lebanon-News/2014/Jan-11/243804-sharon-most-reviled-man-in-lebanon.ashx#ixzz2qGSQGzht

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.

Litmus test for Arab intellectuals? So many of these litmus tests, and so few to pass…

Apparently, every period has its main litmus test of patriotism and progressive positions, regardless of how little action and engagement are linked to them. A litmus test is to show how acid or basic a liquid is, and in political jargon the term is to judge someone on his political social stands, irrespective if the individual is the most passive kind in his actual engagement…as long as he is considered a “public figure”…

In the Arab World, the litmus tests were for many decades, especially in the 70s:

What is your stand on the Palestinian cause?”

How far would you support the military wings of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) in its struggle against the apartheid State of Israel?

Would you ask the PLO to take your side in any civil war against “archaic regimes” that are ready to sign any peace agreement with Israel?

Would you dare direct you critics to the main danger to oligarchies instead of the Palestinian cause?

Are equality of rights between genders as urgent a priority in the political spectrum? 

A few angry intellectuals want to shift the “support for the Assad leadership’s struggle against the imperialist-Zionist-Arab moderate axis’ onslaught” and replace it with supporting the Syrian insurgents funded and armed by the Saudi Wahhabi absolute monarchy and the Qatari absolute Emir…

No, maybe not supporting these radical salafists, but the “good insurgents” are so shifty, very rational people, and refuse to submit to this ridiculous litmus test, that it is very convenient to focus on the “blood thirsty” Assad regime… 

As’ad AbuKhalil  posted on June 13 under “Outrage of the week: absurd levels in defending the Asad dictatorship” (with slight editing):

 
“Now the real litmus of Arab intellectuals’ and activists’ commitment to the Palestinian cause is no longer their support for Palestinian rights.
 
Rather, their support for the “Assad leadership’s struggle against the imperialist-Zionist-Arab moderate axis’ onslaught.”
 
(Can this angry Arab mention the name of any intellectual who claimed that Bashar does not have to go?)
  
Litmus test according to whom?  Who sets this litmus test?  Rami Makhluf or Dunya TV?
 
Let me get this absurd notion: so one need not support Palestinian struggle because support for the Asad dictatorship suffices?
(I think this sentence is an absurd counterpoint and totally irrelevant to the content) 
 
The Asad regime is NOT in any way struggling against “the moderate axis”.  The regime is merely struggling to stay in power: do you see Bashshar EVER speaking out against Saudi regime and alliances?
 
(Bashar did speak out on several occasions and was punished for his haughty public statements. Particularly after the 2006 preemptive war of Israel against Lebanon)
 
Do you see him ever even responding to hourly Saudi propaganda attacks on him?  He does not dare.  No, because he wants to eventually reach a compromise with that Arab ruling order to stay in power.  
 
(Which regime would not? The US is the best ally to Saudi Arabia…and the AbuKhalil would follow suit if they came to power…)
 
If support for the Asad regime is the litmus test, please register me as failing in that test every minute of my life, ever since the Syrian regime intervened in Lebanon in 1976 to crush progressive Palestinian and Lebanese struggle–real struggle–against “the imperialist-Zionist-Arab moderate axis”.  
 
(It is not because the “Christian” Phalengists allied to Israel that the opposition alliance was that progressist…and was willing to give Arafat free power to reign over Lebanon…
In fact, as Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982, most of these progressive parties were showering rice on the invaders and opening strategic route for the advance of the tanks…and their leadership were nowhere to be found, and only the Palestinian forces stopped the advance of the Israeli army in Saida, before the enemy regrouped and amassed 500,000 soldiers and 1,200 tanks.
And the Syrian troops were sitting duck along the highway, by their tanks, waiting for the Israeli jets to bomb them, just for the fun of it, and the abandoned Syrian soldiers managed to stop Israel advance toward the higher region of the Chouf and denied Israel the luxury of cutting off Lebanon from the Syrian borders…)
 
The Assad regime was for many years part of that axis until it was kicked out for reasons that have nothing to do with the struggle.  
(What struggle is meant here? How can we erect a litmus test if we fail to define what is the struggle?)
 
The Asad regime failed the Palestinians at every crucial moment of Palestinian struggle:
1. the regime failed the Palestinians when they were being slaughtered in Jordan in 1970,
2. the Assad regime failed the Palestinians when they were being slaughtered by pro-Israeli militias in Lebanon,
3. and even engineered the war on the camps against the Palestinians in Lebanon.
 
(Can AbuKhalil recall any State bordering Palestine that did not indulge in repressing Palestinian infiltrations into Israel?)  
 
The litmus test for Arab intellectuals should entail opposition to all Arab regimes without exception, unless one wants to pick sides in the regional conflict between Arab dictators and other Arab dictators.  (thanks “Ibn Rushd”)
 
This angry Arab intellectual published a self-indulgent post and is trying to please the current mood of the western media, Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia…
 
What is the freshest litmus test again? I got confused of the previous litmus test.
 
Litmus test must be applied to engaged politicians, with enough power to make a difference…
Let us name names… And stop the angry rhetoric
 
 

So you won’t say: “Adonis49 failed to follow-up on the recognition process of the Palestinian State”

Can you imagine any sane and rational person denying the Palestinian people a recognized State?  Sure, individual opinion is not the same as “doing local politics” such is the case of Barack Obama and France Nicholas Sarkozy.

Even in 1947, the UN has officially partitioned Palestine into two portions.  It was not fair by a long shot: The very minority Zionist Jews  were allocated 53% of the territories.  The borders were pretty much a Swiss-cheese puzzle, taking into consideration a few Zionist colonies here and there and accommodating them in such a ridiculous partition.

The main question is: “Why Israel was recognized a State my a majority of one vote in 1949, and Palestine was not recognized?”  Technicalities set aside, it was an implicit green light from the Colonial powers of the US, France, and England to Zionism to expand their territory, on the ground that Palestine does not exist officially. Fundamentally, the Colonial powers planed to erase Palestine from the map.

In 1963, the Palestinians got their destiny in their hands and instituted the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), under the leadership of Yasser Arafat.  The PLO challenged the claim of Israel Golda Meier PM “What! There is no Palestine. There is no Palestinian people. Period”  That sentence was ejaculated a few months before the joint armies of Egypt and Syria overran Israel forces in the Sinai and the Golan Heights within three hours.

Yasser Arafat and Rabin PM signed the Oslo accord in Camp David during President Clinton:  Palestine was to be recognized gradually.  But first, Arafat has to accept the self-autonomy of Gaza and part of West Bank Hebron and Ramallah…), until further negotiations iron out the many difficulties within a year.  Israel assassinated its Prime Minister and reneged on the deal and began accelerated colonization of the West Bank and Jerusalem.

Maybe Barack Obama thinks that local politics take priority to global politics (for re-election), and is willing to take the chance and high risk of jeopardizing US interests in the Middle-East.  Obama is assuming that the Arab Spring uprising is under control and can be contained.  Maybe for the short-term, since the old political structures of the dictators’ regime are still holding.  Truth is, the powerful genie in the Arab World has awakened, and he refuses to be humiliated any further and spoken in his name by Obama and Sarkozy.

Watch out Obama for vetoing the Palestinian State:  You have no excuses Obama, and this is not a run of the mill veto game.  Anyway, Obama is not slated to be re-elected; so why not take a vigorous stand for human rights and dignity and let the American people reflect and review old stands that are no longer sustainable?

The Palestinian people have suffered 63 years of indignities, humiliation, living in refugee camps, and being treated as unwanted people anywhere in the world.  Enough is enough.

Hezbollah (God’s Party) and Nasr Allah (God’s Victory

Note: I decided to re-edit this article of May 25, 2009

Hassan Nasr Allah is currently the Secretary General of Hezbollah.

He was born in August 31, 1960 in the poorest section of East Beirut called Nabaa.  Hassan was the eldest among 9 offspring and his father supported this vast family selling vegetable.

Hassan refrained from playing soccer with the neighboring kids or joining them for a swim; he was deeply religious and admired greatly Imam Moussa Sadr (dispatched to Lebanon by Khomeini in the early 70’s) and who gave the Moslem Shiaa sect a sense of their pride and potentials in the Lebanese fabrics.

The regions of the Shiaa in south Lebanon and in the Bekaa Valley were neglected by the central government since the independence in 1943.  The Imam of the Mosque that Hassan patronized and where he prayed in Nabaa was late Muhammad Fadlallah who is currently the highest Imam of the Shiaa in Lebanon.

At the age of 14, Hassan moved with his family to their home village Bazourieh in south Lebanon. He aided Sheikh Ali Shams el Deen opening a small library of religious manuscripts, and Hassan started teaching religion in the village and then finished his high school in Tyr.

By the age of 15, Hassan joined the “AMAL” movement of Imam Moussa Sadr and was quickly appointed officer of the Bekaa district and then a member of the politburo.

Sheikh Muhammad Ghrawy facilitated to Nasr Allah higher religious learning in Najaf (Iraq).  Nasr Allah met in Najaf with Abbass Moussawy (later the first Secretary General of Hezbollah).

By 1978, and after two years spent in Najaf, Nasr Allah returned to Lebanon.  A couple of months later Imam Moussa Sadr disappeared after a visit to Libya in August 1978.

In 1979, Khomeini came to power in Iran and the Shah went to exile.

The geopolitical condition in the Middle East changed drastically. Iran was now against the USA interests in the region. Iran then supported the Palestinian cause, and was the first State to officially allow the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) to open and embassy in Tehran.

Israel invaded Lebanon in June 1982; the operation was baptized “Peace in Galilee”.  Israel put siege to Beirut for two months and Yasser Arafat and 11,000 Palestinian fighters were forced to leave Lebanon to Tunisia.

The Lebanese President of the Republic Elias Sarkis invited Nabih Berri (leader of AMAL) to join Walid Jumblat (Druze leader) and Basheer Gemayel (leader of the Christian Lebanese Forces) to forming a national rescue team.

Thus, many AMAL cadres quit Nabih Berry such as Abbass Moussawy, Sobhi Tuffaily, Hussein Moussawy, Ibraheem Amin Sayyed, Naeem Qassem, and Nasr Allah.  They created Hezbollah and blew up the US Marines and French barracks in Beirut in 1983.

Nasr Allah had said that Hezbollah was the consequence of Israel entering Beirut in 1982.

Hezbollah postponed declaring its formation until 1985 after Israel assassinated one of Hezbollah’s leaders Sheikh Ragheb Harb. The Iranian leaders Ali Mohtashamy was then the spiritual father of the Party and Muhammad Akhtary the military father.

Hassan Nasr Allah learned from Ragheb Harb the famous dictum “The verb is taking a stand and shaking hands is necessarily acknowledgement of assent” and thus, Harb never shook hands with any Israeli army officers who were trying hard to win Ragheb over to supporting the Israeli occupation of south Lebanon.

In 1987, Nasr Allah was appointed member of the highest legislative institution in Hezbollah and then chairman of the executive branch.

In 1989, Nasr Allah resumed his religious studies in Qom (Iran) and returned in a hurry to Lebanon when military skirmishes with the AMAL movement spread.

The AMAL party was executing the orders of the Syrian regime to entering the Palestinian camps and disarming the Palestinians of any heavy arsenal.

Hezbollah followed the policies of Iran to leave the Palestinian out of harm.  After many months of fighting both parties settled out their differences as Syria and Iran reached a compromise.

Israel assassinated Hezbollah leader Abbass Moussawy in 1992.  Nasr Allah was the closest aid to Moussawy, had extensive contacts with the base, and studied in Qom.

The young Hassan Nasr Allah surprisingly replaced Moussawy as Secretary General; he was only 32 of age.  Nasr Allah said: “A movement that witnesses its leader falling martyr can never be defeated”. Hezbollah evolved into a qualitative phase in organization and political acumen.

Israel invaded Lebanon in July 1993 for 7 days under the code name “Settling Accounts” and then re-invaded in 1996 under Shimon Peres (Nobel Peace prize winner!) and the operation of total destruction lasted for 17 days under the code name “Grapes of Wrath” and shelled a UN compound in Qana where civilians had taken refuge and over 100 died and 300 were gravely injured.

Hadi, the eldest son of Nasr Allah, fell martyr during a resistance operation in September 1997; it was the night before Nasr Allah was to deliver a major speech and he insisted on speaking and said: “In Hezbollah we do not save our children for the future; we honor them when they fight in the front lines against our enemy Israel; we stand tall when they fall martyrs

Israel had to unilaterally retreat from all of Lebanon, with the exception of Shebaa Farms and the hills of Kfarshouba in May 24, 2000 without pre-conditions or negotiations.

The Arab masses recognized Hezbollah as the main resistance movement that vanquished Israel and acclaimed Nasr Allah as the Hero of liberation.

In the large town of Bent Jbeil Nasr Allah delivered the Victory Speech and offered this liberation in the name of all the Lebanese.  Nasr Allah said: “Israel has nuclear arsenals and owns the most lethal air force in the region.  Yet, Israel is much weaker than the spider web” (It was a reference of a spider web on a cave that saved the Prophet Muhammad from being caught by the Kuraich tribe persecutors while fleeing to Yathreb in 630)

In 2003, Israel bombarded the villages in south Lebanon and then raided Beirut in 2005.  Israel re-invaded Lebanon on July 2006 for 33 days and failed to achieve any of its proclaimed political objectives.

Nasr Allah was recognized as the most charismatic and powerful resistance leader in the Arab and Moslem World.  Nasr Allah played the catalyst for the Shiaa in Lebanon to participate in projecting the living messages in the symbolism of the Koran verses and thus be capable of assimilating and accepting changing social and environmental conditions.

According to the famous journalist Seymour Hirsh it seems that Cheney, Eliot Abrahams, and Bandar Ben Sultan conspired to finance and whisk the members of Fatah El Islam (radical, salafist, and extremist Sunni Moslems) into the refugee camp of Nahr Al Bared with the purpose of destabilizing Lebanon and starting civil war between the Moslem Shiaas and Sunnis and thus, immersing Hezbollah into a potential civil war.

It didn’t work because the Lebanese army was hurt in its pride after many soldiers were executed by severing their heads in the summer of 2007.  The army lost over 160 soldiers and many hundreds were severely injured but the Moslem extremism objectives were defeated after 6 months of engagement in the camp.

Deputy Bahiya Hariri (sister of late Rafic Hariri) acknowledged that she contributed substantially in financing extremist Palestinian groups in the refugee camps.

The Israelis take very seriously Nasr Allah’s promises and threats because he can deliver.

The Lebanese Government of Seniora PM failed to understand that “A word is a commitment”.  Nasr Allah had said that Hezbollah will never turn its arms internally, excepting when coerced to relinquish its arms; especially its secured ground communication lines considered the most potent arm it had during the war in 2006.

In May 5, 2008, the “illegitimate”  Seniora PM Government (with no Shiaa minister representatives in its cabinet) executed a plan to dismantle Hezbollah secure communication network.

Hassan Nasr Allah delivered a speech demanding the government to retract its decision.  By May 7, the AMAL militias confronted the security forces of the Moustakbal movement (The Hariri clan) in Beirut and quickly closed down those arm caches intended to start civil disturbances.

The AMAL forces were controlled by cadres of Hezbollah in order for the confrontation not to degenerate into sectarian infighting. For example, the rioters saved the huge pictures of late Rafic Hariri PM and removed the pictures of Saad Hariri and Seniora PM.  Israel admitted that its patient work of infiltrating Hezbollah for two years vanished within a couple of hours.

Hezbollah has joined the Parliament since 1992 and has increased the number of its Deputies; it has cabinet ministers since the year 2000.   Lebanon is getting ready for Parliamentary election in June 7, 2009 and all the indications point to victory of the opposition headed by Hezbollah, AMAL, and the movement (Tayyar) of Change and Reforms of General Michel Aoun.

Over 20 Lebanese agents spying for Israel have been apprehended.   Nasr Allah is demanding that the traitors be hanged.

Note:  The biographical sections were extracted from the recent Arabic/Lebanese book “Shock and Steadfastness” (Sadmah wa Sumoud”) by Kareem Bakradouny.

Uncontested Palestinian Leader: late Yasser Arafat (Abu 3Ammar); June 15, 2009

 

            Known as Yasser Arafat; code-named “Abu Ammar”; full name Muhammad Abdel Raouf Arafat Al Koudwa Al Husseiny was born in Jerusalem in 1929.  He studied civil engineering at Cairo and worked in Kuwait. In the summer of 1965 he started guerilla activities inside Israel with ten 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 Palestinians right 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” Arafat insisted that “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 fled to Lebanon.  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 in the parliament to divulge the details of the deal at no avail.  Thus, 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 three 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 tot the hilt. He also lavished on and befriended the sheikhs 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 he had on each one of them; thus, the PLO coffer was replenished on demand.

            Arafat visited India PM Indira Gandhi. 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 every one 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 returned 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 Ramallah (headquarter of the Palestinian Authority, al mukata3a) 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.  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 proper 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.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

July 2020
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