August 16, 2023
The American Mideast Coalition for Democracy condemns the shooting of Lebanese civilian, Fadi Bejjani, in the Christian village of Kahale, Mount Lebanon. The incident happened when a truck carrying weapons and ammunition destined for Hezbollah in the suburbs of Beirut, after having passed through a checkpoint staffed by the Lebanese Army, overturned, prompting the villagers to investigate. They demanded to know the cargo and tensions quickly escalated. The two Hezbollah guards opened fire on the villagers, killing 64-year-old Fadi Bejjani. His son described the scene:
“We were a metre away but couldn’t see what was inside the truck,” Youssef Bejjani said. “At least three men started shooting at us – two with machine guns and one with a pistol. My dad fell to the ground but there was so much gunfire that we couldn’t get to him for three minutes.”
One Hezbollah member, Ahmad Ali Kassas, was also killed in the clash. His funeral was the scene of so much gunfire that the acting Defense Minister’s car was hit by bullets thought to be stray and originating from the funeral.
The head of the Christian Kataeb Party, Samy Gemayel, warned Thursday that Lebanon has reached “the point of no return.”
“Lebanon is in a dangerous situation, and we cannot continue like this. We know where it led us in the past,” added Gemayel, probably referring the Lebanon’s Civil War 1975-1991.
Former Lebanese president and Maronite Christian, Michel Suleiman, stated that Hezbollah “does not consider the army and the people (represented by the state with its president and government) as equal to it, but it asks them to support its steps and decisions without even having to coordinate with them before acting.”
An investigation was also opened into the death of Elias al-Hasrouni, a former coordinator for the Christian Lebanese Forces party in Ain Ebel in southern Lebanon. Al-Hasrouni’s death was originally believed to be an accident, but the Lebanese Forces and Kataeb party claimed that he had been kidnapped and murdered. New evidence has emerged bolstering that claim.
AMCD reiterates its call for an implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1559, which calls for the disarming of all Lebanese militias, including Hezbollah, which has never complied. The Christians of South Lebanon believe that Hezbollah will again provoke Israel into retaliating for terrorist attacks on its northern border and Christians will once more be caught in the crossfire. This fear is leading some Christians to call for the creation of “safe zones” and even a partition of the country. After the Beirut Port explosion, a petition was even circulated calling for the return of the French, who were given a mandate by the League of Nations to stabilize and govern the country between 1923 and 1946.
As AMCD advisor Dr. Walid Phares explained, “Under UNSCR 1559, the Lebanese government and the army are under the obligation to disarm Hezbollah. After discovering that the US-listed terror group is transporting weapons from the Bekaa valley to the capital of Lebanon (on a highway passing feet away from the Ministry of Defense), it is the obligation of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) to establish a safe zone between the Bekaa and Beirut and to block all arms shipments to the militias as requested by the UN and now demanded by the population.
“To cut off the militias-military supplies between the Bekaa and the southern suburb of Beirut, the LAF should declare three districts demilitarized: Aley, Matn and Baabda. I strongly suggest that the Pentagon and UNIFIL observers oversee such a security operation,” he added.