Western and American political leaders are focused on dealing with the Israel-Palestinian conflict but to the north, it is very likely that Hizbullah will gain a majority in the Lebanon Parliament in the election to be held on June 7. Hassan Nasrallah, the dynamic leader of Hizbullah would not win any popularity contests in western nations, but he is a charismatic leader who is widely admired among Muslims in the Middle East. There are 20 parties competing in the election while Hizbullah will be united behind their candidates. Of course in the topsy turvy world of Lebanon politics, power has to be divided between Christians and Muslims so the outcome is still unclear as to which group will have effective power in governing the nation.
However, Nasrallah supporters are excited about what they view as the coming victory. One supporter, Hussein Alloush, told a reporter: “We are the party of God, God is going to help Nasrallah win.” Funny, I thought God was on the side of George Bush. Does this mean God is a turncoat who is switching sides and abandoning Christianity for some Muslim leader?
Several rockets fired from Lebanon by extremist groups landed in northern Israel without resulting in any casualties or damage to facilities. Hizbullah is not claiming responsibility for the attack. In Gaza, Israel troops hammered their way into the heart of the city of Gaza as the death total rose to 971 including over 400 innocent men, women, and children. Jacob Kellenberger, head of the International Red Cross, said “it is unacceptable to see so many wounded people. Their lives must be spared and the security of those who care for them guaranteed.” Hamas representatives continued meeting in Cairo but insisted there would not be a cease fire unless Israel agreed to evacuate Gaza and end the blockade of Gaza while Israel wants an end to rocket attacks.
There is definitely the basis for a compromise under which Hamas promises to end any further rocket attacks and Israel promises to turn over responsibility for Gaza crossings to an international group that would work with Palestinian leaders in Gaza. The killing must end, NOW!
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told reporters during a trip to Lebanon that all Palestinian refugees should eventually be allowed to return to Palestine. The highly contentious issue of refugees remains one of the most difficult to revolve between the parties seeking to achieve a compromise. “The refugees should have a right to return to their homeland,” said Abbas. He indicated this has been a sticking point in negotiations with Israel leaders because “we are not with permanent resettlement of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. We are against permanent resettlement.”
A sticky issue is the presence of Palestinians in Lebanon which has a tenuous balance of power between Muslims and Christians. The addition of hundreds of thousands of Muslim Palestinian refugees to the Lebanese population would benefit Muslim Lebanese political parties while hurting Christian ones. Thee are about 400,000 Palestinians and their descendants living in Lebanon.
The bottom line is no Arab nation wants Palestinians in “its territory” and just wants them sent back to Palestine. Palestinians are unwanted guests– no Arab nation is willing to grant them citizenship– living in a nation that simply wants them to leave.