Kataeb Party leader MP Samy Gemayel on Wednesday blasted Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah’s speech on August 16, denouncing the political forces which got involved in the "2016 presidential settlement" for their dubious silence for the first time in Lebanon’s history on the violations against the state’s sovereignty.
“We were taken aback by Nasrallah’s dangerous rhetoric last week, which has added to our previous observations on Hezbollah obtaining full control over Lebanon's sovereignty,” he blasted during a press conference at the party’s headquarters in Saifi - Beirut, recommending a more pacifying speech in the course of these precarious conditions in Lebanon and the region.
“Nasrallah claims that attacks on Iran are a declaration of war on all the resistance axes and would ignite war in the region, despite identifying his party as a pivotal axle of the resistance [in Lebanon],” he denounced.
“We are the offspring of a democratic regime, state, and the Constitution. We must all abide by the Constitution that is interconnected with procedural authority in the Cabinet, and to which the armed forces are governed by and with the President being its leader,” he noted.
“Nasrallah’s statement is a flagrant violation of the Constitution, [role of] the state institutions and the National Pact as well as a departure from the concept of partnership that is translated in the state’s institutions monopoly over war and peace decisions,” he condemned.
“Both the Parliament and the Cabinet are adequately empowered to determine the country’s destiny. No one has the right to decide the Lebanese people's future and fate, and the war and peace decision belongs solely to them,” Gemayel criticized, noting that Hezbollah is given the upper hand in terms of war-peace decision making.
“What is dangerous is that Hezbollah is the one classifying friends from enemies [of Lebanon] and the one placing the defense strategy. To Hezbollah alone, the power balance is what is preventing a war provocation,” Gemayel pointed out, firmly asserting that the government alone is the eligible institution to convey the official standpoint of the country.
“What is even more dangerous is that Nasrallah had placed the flags of his allies in the background during his speech, those combined consist of 18 ministers in the Cabinet [out of 30],” he indicated, adding that “he deems the state as reluctant and describes it as part of the alliance. In addition, he drags Lebanon into taking part in a devastating conflict.”
“The day before Nasrallah’s speech, Al-Manar TV station ran a detailed report on Hezbollah’s missiles,” Gemayel criticized, casting doubt on the missiles demonstrations in bringing investments to the country, surging the economic flow, encouraging tourism or on helping to get international aid.
“If these missiles are intended to deter Israel, then will their efficiency be reduced if they were placed in the hands of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), the legitimate force representing the Lebanese people?”
“The army is capable of doing all that Hezbollah is performing. Several nations adopted a people’s resistance strategy to defend themselves but under the auspices of the state and the Constitution.”
“We want to have a national defense strategy but one that is coordinated by the army and the state,” he explained, adding that “handing over the country’s security to one party has nothing to do with security”
“The targeted missiles demonstration and threats launched by Hezbollah were not in fact aimed at Israel but came as a response to the United States’ pressure on Iran. Those, along with Nasrallah’s statement, have nothing to do with defending Lebanon,” Gemayel slammed.
“Hezbollah’s leader did not bring up the issue of defending Lebanon in his speech which originally must be the army’s concern; instead, he tackled another country’s interests that have nothing to do with us,” he elaborated.
“Where are the official responses to someone calling for Lebanon to flare up and pay the price for a war it has nothing to do with? Did no one sense a breach of dignity and sovereignty?
“Is this the price to pay for the political settlement or is this the settlement itself?” he questioned, rejoining that the settlement rendered the country’s decision-making a power play in the hands of Nasrallah.
The Kataeb leader called on President Michel Aoun to take action now given his former role as the LAF Commander and the battles he had fought and that he had once pushed for the full implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions, notably 1559, calling for the handing over of Hezbollah’s arsenal.
Gemayel urged the President to go back to his stances in the period prior to 2005 because the country is threatened with sanctions and war, while one party is dominating its decision-making.
“It is highly important to restore the state's decision-making power when it comes to defense first, then to carefully look into a national defense strategy that we all participate in,” he declared.
“We foresaw the outcome of the [2016 Presidential] settlement, hence we rejected it. Those involved in it bear responsibility for official complicity, ushering sanctions and isolating Lebanon from its international and Arab allies,” he emphasized.
“The Kataeb party’s voice will not be silenced and we will not succumb or fear to be standing alone, as long as truth, history and the future belong to us and the like-minded people,” he assured.
“We will not cease to speak up the truth until the Constitutional institutions, i.e. the Parliament and the Cabinet, establish a work agenda and until the government starts being responsible towards the Lebanese people,” he concluded.