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Ending the Palestinian Occupation... of Lebanon

By Michael Freund
3/5/2005, 12:00 AM

Lebanon took a big step toward freedom last week with the departure of Syria’s army.

But here’s a juicy bit of Middle Eastern irony for you: local residents are now demanding that the Palestinians end their occupation of Lebanese soil.

A report by Agence France Presse (AFP) notes:

Residents of eastern Lebanon encouraged by the recent Syrian troop pullout from the country are calling for an end to the presence of Damascus-backed Palestinian military positions in the region.

"We do not want Ahmed Jibril's men who have been deployed here since the 1982 Israeli invasion to maintain their positions. The Syrians are gone, they should do the same," said one resident, Fouad Abu Farah.

The report notes that for the past 23 years, Jibril’s Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) has maintained bases in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley and in the hills south of Beirut. This has come largely at the expense of local Lebanese, whose land was confiscated to make way for the Palestinian presence.

Toni Keddy, a municipal council member from the Lebanese village of Qussaya, told the AFP that, "it is our right to ask for their departure, even if they never did any harm to us. We want to regain and cultivate the lands that they have confiscated from us."

Jibril_sucks_1 UN Security Council Resolution 1559, which was passed in September of last year, calls for the disarming of all Lebanese militias – including Hizbullah and the PFLP-GC.

So now that the Syrians have (mostly) left Lebanon - they reportedly still have a covert intelligence network in place there – the time has come for Washington to turn up the heat on Palestinian terror groups such as the PFLP-GC to lay down their weapons and dismantle their infrastructure.

Ending the armed Palestinian occupation of Lebanese soil will go a long way toward stabilizing that battered country and pacifying Israel’s northern border.