Lebanese Christian Leader: Hezbollah Is Turning Lebanon Into Gaza

Samir Geagea slams Hezbollah, says their only worry is that caretaker PM Hariri renounces conclusions of UN tribunal on murder of his father.

Haaretz Service
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Haaretz Service

Lebanon's Christian leader slammed the Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt for backing Hezbollah ahead of Lebanon's parliamentary talks, saying that the situation in Lebanon would soon be comparable to the situation in Gaza, Channel 10 reported on Saturday.

Caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri's government collapsed last week, after Hezbollah ministers and their allies resigned from the cabinet. The move came days before a UN-backed tribunal issued a confidential draft indictment which is expected to accuse Hezbollah members of involvement in the killing of his father.

Since the government's collapse, the atmosphere in the country has been tense, as allegiances amongst the country's Muslim, Christian and Druze sects have been tested.

Lebanese Christian leader Samir Geagea said during a press conference on Saturday that if Hezbollah took power, "the situation in Lebanon will soon be like the one in Gaza."

Soldiers patrol along a street in downtown Beirut on January 20, 2011 after caretaker Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri said he would seek to form a new government.Credit: Reuters

Jumblatt announced his group's support for Hezbollah on Friday, ahead of parliamentary talks on Monday to pick a new prime minister.

With Jumblatt's support it is almost certain Hezbollah and its allies, with 57 seats in parliament, will win a majority to endorse Sunni politician Omar Karami to lead a new government.

Geagea slammed Hezbollah during the press conference, saying they were not interested in a solution to the current crisis in Lebanon, which has come largely as a result of the UN tribunal.

"Their only request is that Hariri renounces the conclusions of the UN tribunal on the murder of his father," Geagea said.

The Shi'ite group denies any role in the assassination and says the tribunal is serving U.S. and Israeli interests. Jumblatt has described the tribunal as "a tool for destruction".

Jumblatt leads a bloc of 11 parliamentarians and his support is crucial to decide who forms the government, Hezbollah or Hariri, who said on Thursday he will seek the premiership.

Jumblatt said all sides had agreed in the talks to cut Lebanon's links to the tribunal, end Lebanon's funding for it and withdraw the Lebanese judges. He said those terms would be confirmed in a policy statement by the new government.

Hezbollah said the act of issuing the tribunal's indictment, which was submitted on Monday marked a political turning point and no amount of international pressure would force them to accept Hariri for another term.

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