President Suleiman's Oath & Our People In Israel
By: Elias Bejjani

November 10/09

In his inaugural speech that was delivered in the Parliament after his election as President for the Republic of Lebanon on 25 May, 2009, General Michele Suleiman promised to bring back our people from Israel who took refuge there in the aftermath of the Israeli army’s unilateral withdrawal from South Lebanon in May 2000. He said: "This day coincides with the anniversary of the national liberation and victory day, let us make it a motive for greater awareness for what awaits us, and to renew our commitment for freedom and democracy, which we offered sacrifices for them in a bid to safeguard the country. In this context, comes the hard work to release prisoners and detainees, disclose the fate of the missing, and to bring back our sons who fled to Israel; our country's lap has room for all of its citizens."

Almost two years have passed since President Suleiman's election, while his promise to bring back our people from Israel has not yet been fulfilled. It is an ethical obligation and a national legitimate right to ask what is hindering the president from taking the needed actions to put an end to this ongoing dilemma?

We wonder if Lebanon and its official decision making process that Hezbollah currently controls by force and terrorism is in fact able and willing to embrace all its citizens including those who are in Israel since May, 2000?

The wicked Lebanese politicians, clergy, officials and leaders who venomously hide behind fake and camouflaged lies of resistance and liberation, and whose conscience is dead, memories rotten and selective, especially the terrorist group, Hezbollah, the Syrian-Iranian mercenary thugs and militias, MP General Michele Aoun who changed his skin to join the axis of Evil and many others all must be reminded that our people who fled to Israel are from the mosaic of all the Lebanese religious denominations, and that they were forced to do so following the notorious deal that was brokered between the Israeli government at that time, with the regional agreement of Hezbollah's masters in Iran and Syria and with international blessings.

The deal sacrificed our southern people, led to a unilateral Israeli withdrawal, gave Hezbollah full control over the South, including the joint border of Lebanon and Israel, and kept the Lebanese army and institutions out of the whole region.

In fact, Hezbollah did not liberate the South and according to MP General Michele Aoun (before he became Hezbollah's ally), who stated: "The Shebaa Farms is a big lie and not Lebanese. Hezbollah did not liberate the South, but on the contrary, it hindered its liberation for 14 years and forced its own residents to leave". Aoun labeled Hezbollah's joy of liberation in the year 2000 as a "drug addicts' ecstasy".

Based on facts, unveiled lies and fabrications, the mercenaries who unjustly accuse our people in Israel with treason, collaboration and betrayal should fear God's wrath and revenge. They need to witness the truth and repent. Our people in Israel were, are, and shall remain patriotic par excellence and totally loyal to their country and land.

We, wonder what is the actual agenda for the sudden re-opening of General Antoine Lahed's judicial (leader of the now defunct South Lebanese Army) case on 28 October 2009 and the issuance of a 15-year hard labor imprisonment verdict against him in absentia on charges of acquisition of Israeli citizenship and collaborating with Israel, although General Lahed was sentenced in 2000 with a death penalty and also in absentia.

Apparently this new verdict has no judicial value at all because Lahed who now lives in Israel, has already has been haphazardly and unjustly sentenced in his absence with a death penalty. So what is the reason now for this questionable judicial reawakening?

The logic of this bizarre maneuver shows clearly that the verdict targets President Suleiman's inaugural speech, and in particular the section in which he promised to bring back our people from Israel. The Hezbollah-tailored verdict is in reality not against General Lahed, but against President Suleiman personally. It puts him on notice that the file of our people in Israel is closed and will remain so as long as he is in office. The two charges that were used in the new sentence against Lahed actually apply to almost all our people in Israel, i.e. acquisition of Israeli citizenship and collaboration with Israel.

We genuinely hope to be wrong in our very serious fears and dire concerns. But the extensive cumulated traumatic knowledge of the mentality and the patterns of Hezbollah and its Syrian-Iranian masters in dealing with all matters since1982 to date allows us to maintain our analysis. All evidence based on past experience with Hezbollah and its two masters is too abundant and all of it consists of tragedies and calamities.

We call on President Michel Suleiman to fulfill his promise and work hard with courage and honesty to bring back our people from Israel with all due respect to their dignity, patriotism, sacrifices and loyalty to Lebanon, the homeland that they will never under any circumstances substitute with any other country.

President Suleiman, who was Lebanon's Army Chief Commander in the year 2000 when our people were forced into exile, is well aware of all the hidden secrets of that era. He knows too that these heroic citizens are more patriotic and more Lebanese in every aspect than those who are accusing them with treason and betrayal. Our people refused to abandon their land and courageously defended their towns and villages against all thugs of terrorism and fanaticism for 25 years while all the successive Lebanese central governments have merely abandoned them.

When the Israeli army unilaterally withdrew from the South in May 2000, our people declined from continuing the fight and chose to leave, not because of fear of combat or death, but to avoid more Lebanese bloodshed, while the central government did not dare to assume its national responsibilities and obligations.

President Suleiman knows more than anyone else in Lebanon that the Hezbollah mercenaries and the so-called resistance are hindering the dignified return of our people from Israel and falsely accusing them of treason and collaboration. It is the Hezbollah who are actually guilty of these charges and not our heroic Lebanese people.

Mr. President, please do not allow those who were behind this bizarre new sentence against General Lahed, and which in fact was a condemnation of your inauguration speech to achieve their schemes and fulfill their evil objectives. You are the guardian and the protector of the country's constitution. Do not back down or retreat from your promises, and do not abandon our people any longer in Israel . Above all, do not let the Israeli government be more concerned and caring for our people than you and the Lebanese authorities.

Mr. President, protect and safeguard the rights of our people in Israel and bring them back to their beloved Lebanon as soon as possible.

*Elias Bejjani
Canadian-Lebanese Human Rights activist, journalist and political commentator
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