Lebanese Expatriates Condemn Syria, Iran; and Praise Israel

Many Lebanese expatriate groups have roundly condemned the Hizbullah, Iran and Syria. Some of them are also calling for Israel to press ahead in its military campaign.

Nissan Ratzlav-Katz, | updated: 23:56

The Lebanese Canadian Coordinating Council (LCCC), a coalition of organizations in Canada, has released a statement laying out its vision of what measures should be endorsed by the world community at an international conference on the ongoing warfare in Lebanon. The conference is to be held in Rome on Wednesday, pursuant to a recommendation issued by the United Nations Security Council on July 21, 2006.

Among the measures the LCCC is recommending are the dispatch of international combat forces to Lebanon, armed with the full authority and sufficient firepower to implement all clauses of UN resolution 1559. This would include the to mission to "disarm the Hizbullah group and the Palestinian organizations, and prevent and intercept the transfer of weapons to them from Iran and Syria."

Another agenda item the LCCC called for is "a resolution by the United Nations condemning Syria and Iran, holding them responsible for the escalation leading to the catastrophe that has befallen Lebanon, and making them liable for the damages incurred by the Lebanese people and the costs of reconstruction...." LCCC also seeks to establish an international commission of inquiry "mandated with the task of determining Hizbullah's legal responsibility for the events leading to the cycle of violence inflicted on Lebanon today...."

The LCCC also warned all Lebanese against "the deceitful calls aiming at surrendering to the will of the fundamentalist Hizbullah group and the dictates of its financiers and sponsors in Damascus and Tehran.... To remain silent over their crimes or to turn a blind eye to their practices, violations and threats is itself an act of treason to the nation and an unforgivable crime."

In addition to the LCCC, the press release was endorsed by eleven Lebanese groups from the USA, Europe and Lebanon itself. The LCCC represents the Canadian Lebanese Human Rights Federation, the Canadian Lebanese Free Patriotic Movement (FPM-Canada), the Phoenician Club of Mississauga (PCOM), the Canadian Phoenician Community Services Club (CPCSC), the Canadian Lebanese Christian Heritage Club (CLCHC), the World Lebanese Cultural Union-Canadian Chapter.

The Lebanese Foundation for Peace (LFP), an international organization of Lebanese Christians, issued a press release last week that called upon Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert "to hit them hard and destroy their terror infrastructure. It is not [only] Israel who is fed up with this situation, but the majority of the silent Lebanese in Lebanon who are fed up with Hizbullah and are powerless to do anything out of fear of terror retaliation." The LFP also said that "thousands of volunteers in the Diaspora" are "willing to bear arms and liberate their homeland from [Islamic] fundamentalism," with the logistical support of Israel.

In an interview with Israel National Radio's Tovia Singer, former South Lebanese Army officer, and leader of the Guardians of the Cedars militia, Etienne Sakr ("Abu Arz") called on Israel to press ahead until victory in its offensive against the Hizbullah. He said that, while Lebanon can be rebuilt, Israel must not allow the Islamist elements in the country to survive the war. To do so, he said, would repeat the mistake of the 2000 IDF withdrawal from Southern Lebanon. At the time, speaking before the Knesset, Sakr charged that Israel had "made heroes out of Hizbullah."

Another well-known expatriate Lebanese individual calling for Israel to win the war in Lebanon is Brigitte Gabriel, founder of the American Congress for Truth, a non-profit organization dedicated to combating radical Islamic fundamentalism in the West. She compared the current destruction in Lebanon to a painful operation aimed at removing a cancerous growth, which will hopefully release Lebanon from the "hijackers" - Iran and Syria. To that end, Gabriel said, the roots of the Islamist movement in Lebanon must be completely destroyed.

In an interview with Canadian Christianity.com, LCCC head Elias Bejjani, a Maronite Catholic, said that Israel "had no choice but to act, if you understand their situation and point of view." Furthermore, he said, "I'm not sure Israel is targeting civilians. Hizbullah moves from one neighbourhood to another. According to reports we have heard from Christian villages in south Lebanon, Hizbullah come into the villages and fire their rockets; then they run away. And these villages pay the price."



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