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The Church in Lebanon defends normalization in the name of religion

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Recently, the GSS stopped the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the Occupied Palestinian Territory of Maronite Archbishop Musa al-Haj while he was returning to Lebanon from a pastoral visit to the occupied territories churches.

Maronite bishop Musa Al hajj
Maronite bishop Musa Al hajj in church

A substantial amount of $460,000, as well as 4000 euros and several medicines, led to Hajj’s arrest.

There was a list of money donors, which, after an audit, included several agents in the “Southern Lebanon Army” militias fleeing to the occupied territories.

They sent money to their relatives in Lebanon, while the remaining names are being verified.

Also Read: The Myth of Israeli Democracy

Clear normalization

The law considers that the transfer of funds from the occupied territories constitutes an offense.

 In the past, the Bishop received a warning from the judiciary against the transfer of funds and medicines by wanted persons living in the occupied territories.

money and medicine
money and medicine

He noted that the funds he typically transferred were contributions to the church after promising not to transfer funds from requesting destinations.

The media linked the arrest of the Bishop to the “pressure” on the Maronite Patriarch to change his positions on “the situation in Lebanon the liberation of the legitimacy decision, and the election of a president”.

Maronite Patriarch Mar bechara boutros Al rahi
Maronite Patriarch Mar bechara boutros Al rahi

 Several informed sources confirmed that military justice and army command were under pressure not to keep the Bishop in custody, as this would be an abuse of his position. Therefore, the judge decided to leave him under investigation.

Also Read: Lebanon is spiraling down into a humanitarian crisis

Recruiting agents for the Mossad

It has been found through investigations and follow-up that Archbishop El Haj had received money from a Lebanese agent fleeing to the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

occupied Palestine territories
occupied Palestine territories

The agent had recruited him to work for Mossad and was referred to the military court and punished.

Several sources confirmed that the agencies periodically handed over follow-up models to the judiciary.

In the past year and a half, Bishop El Haj transferred large amounts of funds at a rate of one and a half months, and the “payload” was often more than half a million dollars.

He received repeated warnings from the security services that the money he carried belonged to Lebanese on labor charges.

Some of which carried sentences of more than 15 years in prison, that their sources were questionable and illegal, and that the confiscation provisions applied to them because they came from a “hostile classified State,” but he disregarded all of this and continued to transfer the funds under the pretense that they were “contributions the benefit of the Church”.

Between church normalization and total rejection

Political players, whether near or distant from the church, utilized the incident to portray it as a plot to assassinate Christians and the Maronite Patriarchate.

Christian Right Party Lebanese Forces
Christian Right Party Lebanese Forces

Bishop El Haj, told the judicial and security agencies that he carried monies not only for his subjects but also for the children of other communities.

The setting of the political campaign makes it evident that there is a faction in Lebanon that wants to view normalization with the enemy as normal and consistent with current normalization efforts with some Arab nations.

Also Read: The Rise of Extremist Far-right – From US to India

To invest the atmosphere in the context of the rationalization of the presidential contest, he also aimed to raise political stimulants against a sectarian backdrop.

Anyone who wishes to fan the flames of unrest by siding with the Maronite Church only serves to increase the church’s influence in the presidential campaign after the parliamentary elections revealed that the forces seeking the presidency lacked sufficient power, neither Christian nor national, to realize their goals.

Conflicting viewpoints teased social media. Some people totally rejected the idea of dealing with the enemy in any way.

While Iran had never interfered in Lebanese affairs, the opposing side remained persuaded that Christians had been targeted and Iran had taken control of the country.

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The Lebanese file: neither a president nor a government

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election of lebanese presidency

Despite six presidential sessions, Lebanon still does not have a president.

The funny thing is, the government is also idle and the whole country is waiting for a miracle to get up again.

France is on the president line!

The head of the Free Patriotic Movement, Representative Gebran Bassil, is expected to visit Paris, which is expected to mark a remarkable development in the presidential file in Lebanon.

The meetings will aim to discuss the imminent presidential, governmental, and economic entitlements of all Lebanese stakeholders.

French president macron right) and free Patriotic movement leader gebran bassil (left)
French president macron and free Patriotic movement leader gebran bassil

Based on Basil’s excellent relationship with Maronite Patriarch Bechara Al-Rahi and Hezbollah, the French hope to agree on a roadmap for the presidential elections.

Although the French side does not carry an integrated initiative, it sought to know the position of all parties regarding a list of candidates that includes about seven names.

Those connected to the French ambassador understand that her country still has the American mandate to manage the initiative about the presidential file and that Paris wants to reach an agreement with Saudi Arabia that facilitates the task because insisting on fighting harsh battles would prevent the election of a president soon.

President issue: Who does Hezbollah wants?

 Hezbollah is reconsidering the local reality from a different angle than the one that preceded the election of President Aoun, as evidenced by Aoun’s recent paradox of reopening half-closed doors.

In contrast to Aoun, the party does not find any justification for repeating the vacuum for more than two years and tightening its internal domestic rams to deliver its candidate.

They are fully aware that choosing to unilaterally elect a president of the republic, and consequently, a government of one color and the presidency of the House of Representatives, means putting the country in direct conflict with the outside world. Everything that surrounds the internal reality is different from the previous stage, as is the position of the concerned countries.

 While Hezbollah’s opponents are only mentioning Franjieh as president—or, at the very least, any candidate from the party’s second row—this does not imply that Hezbollah has abandoned its candidate or candidates.

The party assumes entering into early settlements, which means that the party receives its price both internally and externally.

This is because the party cannot bear the idea of losing its candidate and will not bear the idea of any settlement following a vacuum that results in challenges, conditions, and counter conditions.

An alternative situation is possible in addition to that. Except for the March 8 team, there is no president of the country.

Is the former minister Franjieh a serious candidate?

Former Minister Suleiman Franjieh was Hezbollah’s candidate.

Nasrallah’s remarks coincided with a fresh French attempt that started a few days ago to forge an agreement on choosing a new president before the year is up and included pledges to start aid programs for Lebanon, including the “Cedre” program.

Former minister Sleiman Franjieh
Former minister Sleiman Franjieh

The debate that the French began with the major parties in Lebanon is anticipated to be finished with Washington and Riyadh and is predicated on the premise that no one can impose a prime minister or president of the republic without a genuine agreement between the major forces.

Hezbollah claimed in 2016 that there was no Plan B for the nomination of General Michel Aoun, and it repeated that claim this time as well: the candidate is Franjieh, and there is a point on the line.

 If the two allies cannot agree on a second candidate, there are dangers that no one has the luxury of incurring.

What does The Free Patriotic Movement says?

 The Free Patriotic Movement was informed by Hezbollah that the results of naming places below the presidency of the Republic under the General Michel Aoun administration were not encouraging, as the residents of these sites turned against the people who named them to them.

There is a “term” that Hezbollah agreed to, though, which is that it will not attend the election session for the Marada Movement’s leader until he has Basil’s endorsement in his pocket.

The party’s desire to maintain and strengthen the agreement with the Free Patriotic Movement is the most crucial factor, and as a result, “the election of Suleiman will be with Gibran’s consent and not at his expense,” among other factors, including giving Franjieh Christian support that makes him a strong president.

So far, there has not been any serious president, and we are facing many sessions without a result.

Is Lebanon on a date with a long presidential debate, as happened before the election of former President Michel Aoun, or will we witness the election of a president before the New Year?

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Death is chasing Lebanon: A new catastrophe took place!

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After the crisis in Lebanon and the decline of the economic crisis, many chose illegal immigration as their only escape. Still, on the other hand, boat owners and those involved in this field exploited the Lebanese’s situation to put them in horrific situations that resulted in the “death boat” disaster.

Death boat catastrophe

After an illegal immigration boat left Tripoli in Lebanon, the disaster occurred in Tartous, which helped find survivors. The sinking of the Lebanese boat comes just a week after the death of the Syrian engineer, Muhammad Barjas, his two children, and his wife in the sinking of a migrant boat off the Greek coast.

Many of the victims sold all their possessions to be able to pay for their escape to Europe, and some of them spent more than $20,000 to depart their whole families.

the red cross is working on removing the bodies from the sees

Survivors recount that three hours after the departure of the boat, the boat began to tumble unsteadily, and the sea waves began tossing it in different directions. A survivor reported that all men, women, and children on board felt terror and panic for more than 48 hours as the boat was tossed by high waves.

Also Read: Between Rain, Death and Global Warming: Hurricane Ida

When he arrived at Al-Basel Hospital in Tartus, he found out that the boat had sunk in Syrian waters, but he didn’t know where it had sunk until he reached the hospital. He mentions that he lost touch with his wife and children, and he wants nothing more than to see them among the survivors.”.

children hold pictures of their dead families that died in the sinking boat
one of the victims children holding their family pictures that died in the sinking boat

Death is more expensive than life

As if fleeing poverty and hunger from Lebanon was not bad enough, the enormous costs of burials and were paid in dollars, Lebanon’s lost currency.

In one case, a family had to sell everything they owned to secure payment supplies, while another family had to exchange gold for graves, and one charitable group donated two graves to a destitute family to bury their children.

Also Read: Lebanon’s ‘Deliberate depression’

Death boat master is behind bars!

A squad from the army intelligence branch in al-Abdah intercepted Bilal Y after the illegal immigration boat left the beach of Miniyeh on Wednesday night referred to as the smugglers’ “king,” who was in charge of the boat’s journey and which sank the following day off the coast of Tartus, Syria. A security source, however, confirmed that his detention took place at the same time as the boat capsized. “After he made the second trip in less than two months, it was decided to have him arrested. He switched his departure location to Minya after the journey from Al-Abdah beach was abandoned multiple times.

Funeral for the victims of the immigration boat
Funeral in tripoli lebanon of one of the sinking boat victims

He used to maintain a low profile, but now he utilizes drugs, supports drug usage, and is infamous for being harsh to passengers. On the last voyage, the captain was compelled to set sail despite the small fishing boat being overloaded with 170 passengers due to severe seas, overloads, and running out of fuel. However, the source claims that he sent three armed men to board the boat and force it to set sail. After a few hours of sailing, it was rumored that “the captain jumped off the boat and moved to another boat, convinced that the boat would sink.”

Also, Read: Massive Explosion in Beirut reveals Lebanon’s Incompetence

A history of illegal immigration

It seems striking in the tragedy of the drowning of these illegal immigrants from Lebanon, this time the presence of other nationalities other than the Lebanese, on the sinking boat, as there were Palestinians and Syrians on board alongside the Lebanese, and according to multiple sources, the 25 Palestinians on board the sinking boat are A resident of Nahr al-Bared camp in northern Lebanon.

illegal immegration
Arabs are trying to flee their countries illegally

According to a BBC report, Lebanon is witnessing a significant rise in immigration rates, driven by a devastating economic collapse that left large sectors of the Lebanese people suffering poverty over the past three years, and the report refers to statistics, according to which the number of those trying to leave Lebanon by sea, in 2021, it doubled more than it was during 2020, according to estimates by the United Nations Refugee Agency, while the number increased again by 70% during 2022.

However, the desperate pursuit of life by many Arab youths is not limited to the Lebanese, Syrians, and Palestinians only. Incidents of boarding death boats, on dangerous journeys, are repeated in many Arab countries, and news of those who drown in those boats has become a familiar thing in the media. From Libya to Tunisia to Morocco.

Also Read: Lebanon is spiralling down into a humanitarian crisis

The Arab Barometer poll, which was carried out by the Arab Barometer Network, in cooperation with the BBC in 2019, indicated that 20% of the participants expressed their desire to emigrate, and in the age group between 18-29 years, the percentage reached 52%.

It was striking among the results reached by the Arab Barometer poll that those wishing to emigrate showed a willingness to travel without official papers (illegal immigration). In Sudan, for example, the percentage of these people reached 43%, which is almost the same in Algeria, Tunisia, Yemen, Iraq, and Morocco. While it reached 12% in Lebanon and 18% in Jordan.

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Fascism

Sabra and Shatila: A wound that won’t heal

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Sabra and Shatila

The Sabra and Shatila massacre is one of the many massacres carried out by Israel with the help of Lebanese right-wing parties, which claimed the lives of 3,000 people on a continuous slaughter for three days.

The blood of the martyrs and innocent children who died in the Sabra and Shatila camps in Lebanon will not be washed away after 40 years and the passage of time. 

after math of the massacre
Allied to the occupation on both the political and military levels, the Lebanese Phalange Party and numerous militias of occupation agents, the Lebanese Phalange Party allied themselves with the occupation. 

Also Read: Israel’s Apartheid Against Palestinians Reveals West’s Double Standar

Premeditatedly, determinedly, and prepared, since the establishment of the temporary occupation entity in 1948, one of the largest, greatest, and most heinous massacres in Arab-Israeli conflict history has taken place.

 There was no specific target for this massacre, but rather it was committed against all human beings. There were also thousands of Lebanese martyrs and martyrs of Arab nationalities.

Sabra and Shatila: The fateful day

On September 16, the occupation army fired flares over the two camps. Three teams of Phalange Party militias, each composed of fifty armed men, stormed the alleyways of the two camps spread over one square kilometer.

 To begin the process of extermination and indiscriminate killing, they used white flags and firearms to deceive the residents and ask them to leave the houses with white flags.

The Lebanese Phalange militia killed everyone present in the two camps and mutilated the corpses, slaughtered children and infants, and extracted fetuses from the mother’s wombs. 

Also read: Israel having free season on Palestinian civilians including Children and Journalists

They raped many women, robbed them of their jewellery, and killed entire families.

While the occupation army prevented anyone from leaving the two camps, it also prevented the media from entering the area and reporting what was happening.

funeral of sabra and shatila massacre
The families are saying their goodbyes

The massacre took the lives of close to 3,500 Palestinian martyrs over three days and roughly 1900 Lebanese martyrs, in addition to 300 to 500 missing people whose whereabouts are still unknown.

 Days passed with the dead still there, and nobody was able to enter the two camps or the nearby communities.

To disassociate itself from the murder, the occupation claimed in a Hebrew book titled “Lebanon 1982 – The Road to War” that the Lebanese Phalange Party carried out the slaughter on its own in retaliation for the assassination of its leader Bashir Gemayel.

Acquittal of Israeli officials

On September 28, 1982, under pressure from the Israeli street, the government of the enemy of Israel was forced to form a committee to investigate “the atrocities committed by a unit of the Lebanese forces against the civilian population in the Sabra and Shatila camps.” It was called the “Kahan Committee,” after the President of the Israeli Supreme Court, Judge Yitzhak. Kahane who chaired the committee.

Kahan’s report, which was issued in February 1983, absolved senior Israeli officials, especially the prime minister, the minister of war, and the army chief of staff, of direct responsibility for the massacre, claiming that they were not aware of what was happening, and denying any role of the Israeli army in the massacre.

The report was satisfied with placing personal responsibility on the then Minister of Defense, Ariel Sharon, for ignoring the “possibility of bloodshed and revenge,” which forced him, with mounting pressures, to resign from his position as defense minister only, but he remained a minister without a portfolio.

the fear of the massacre survivors
the fear of the massacre survivors

The occupying power tries from time to time to evade its historical and criminal responsibility for the Sabra and Shatila massacre and to hold the Maronites alone responsible for its implementation, despite the approval in the last lines of the decision to allow them to storm the two camps from the highest levels of Israel. Menachem Begin, Defense Minister Ariel Sharon, Foreign Affairs Yitzhak Shamir, Mossad commander Nahum Admoni, the army Raphael Eitan, the Northern Command Amir Drori, and Military Intelligence Yehoshah Saguh. These decisions could not be overridden, or skipped, which confirms their responsibility for the massacre.

Also, Read A history of lies: Lying deliberately is Israel’s modus operandi in the West Bank

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