Neytanyahu or Barak
By: Minister/Brigadier Issam Abu Jamra
(Free translation by: Elias Bejjani)

It is a well-known fact that big powers in the world or those eager to achieve this status, are always selfish. They resort to manipulation and invest all means and resources available for them to protect their own interests on the account of other nations. In spite of these facts, the majority of the Lebanese believe peace in the Middle East will become a reality if Ehud Barak, defeats Binyamin Neytanyhu and becomes Israel’s Prime Minister. This false belief has become more appealing after the USA ambassador to Lebanon, Mr. David Sutterfield, told his audience during a lecture he delivered lately at the AUB that peace in the Middle East is more imminent than many expect.

In case we want to believe Mr. Sutterfield, that peace has become so close, we have to ask him what peace, and where?

Is it Barak’s peace, which is Isaac Rabin’s peace, which also does not mind that Syria remains in Lebanon even after an Israeli withdrawal from South Lebanon and Syrian Golan Heights?

Or is it Neytanyahu’s peace, which refuses to withdraw entirely from the whole of Golan Heights and still demands that Syria guarantees before withdrawing their troops from South Lebanon? Netanyahu knows very well that he will never ever agree on a complete Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights, a guarantee Syria demands before giving any guarantees for an Israeli withdrawal from South Lebanon.

In fact, there would be no difference regardless of who is the ultimate winner in the Israeli elections, Barak or Netanyahu. In both potential scenarios, Syria would not give up voluntarily its full hegemony of Lebanon. Syria will continue to manipulate, maneuver and do all that it takes to maintain its occupational grip on Lebanon. Syria wants to serve and preseve its political, economical and social interests in Lebanon.

For all of the above, we call on the Lebanese not to tie or amalgamate their entire endeavors aiming to achieve Lebanon’s sovereignty to the outcome of the Israeli election.

We say to all those concerned with the peace process in the Middle East, that a comprehensive solution could not be achievable without the full withdrawal of all foreign troops from all of Lebanon. Would Mr. Sutterfield kindly promise us with such a solution?

France, May 14/1999