Lebanon’s Parliament Holds Session in South, Calls for Arab Aid
MPs abandoned their plush headquarters in Nijmeh Square on Wednesday and thronged to the heart of the liberated South in a show of support for a population that endured 22 years of occupation and isolation, reported the Daily Star Thursday.
The Lebanese English daily said the special session in Bint Jbeil took up nearly three hours, culminating in a set of nine resolutions aimed at providing relief for the south’s people and facilitating their reintegration. The decisions also reiterated Lebanon’s right to regain every inch of its territory, including the Shabaa Farms.
Baalbek-Hermel MP Ibrahim Amin Sayyed, head of Hizbollah’s Parliamentary bloc, stole the limelight from Speaker Nabih Berri with a fiery speech that blasted the government’s inadequate promises of relief and development projects. Berri had called for the session to be held in Bint Jbeil, said the paper.
The Hizbollah MP also pledged that it would not lay down arms until the Shabaa Farms were liberated.
In all 109 MPs attended the session, including a complete government. There was unanimous praise for the resistance among those who took the podium, calls for the army to be deployed to the newly liberated villages and concern over the fate of Lebanese detainees in Israeli prisons.
Among the other recommendations endorsed was a call on the international community to assist Lebanon in implementing its development projects for the south.
When he arrived in Bint Jbeil, Berri was showered with rice by a crowd of cheering people, according to Daily Star.
Speaking in the dark as the electricity was off for most of the session, Berri was quoted by the paper as urging Arab countries to abide by their commitments to give financial aid to Lebanon and underscored the importance of the return of the government’s sovereignty to the area. “The sacrifices of the Lebanese should not be rewarded by loans or small grants; our Arab brethren must pay the financial aid they pledged,” he said, speaking at a makeshift parliament in a public school.
He was referring to a pledge made at an Arab summit in 1980 to give the South $1 billion and the rest of Lebanon an equal amount in compensation for losses inflicted by Israeli attacks and the civil war.
“Government departments must take control of all public facilities in the south, local councils must be in charge of development projects in their municipal areas, and the Council of the South must be given an immediate advance to start rebuilding destroyed and damaged homes,” the daily quoted Berri as saying – Albawaba.com
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)