Wednesday 21 Feb 2024 - 12:00

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Gemayel: Kataeb Party Is Steadfast in Its Commitment to Continue the Struggle

NNA - Kataeb Leader Samy Gemayel stated that Hezbollah is involuntarily dragging Lebanon into crisis against the will of all Lebanese.

He considered the state to be hostage, believing that the solution lies in regaining its decision-making power, preventing anyone from leading Lebanon and the region into war.

“Confronting the militia can either be through a forceful response, leading to civil war, which the Kataeb Party rejects or through peaceful confrontation and the formation of political fronts,” Gemayel said in an interview with Al-Jadeed television.

"When there were no militias, we had no problems on the borders. However, when we allowed armed militias to use the south as a missile platform starting from 1969, they led us into wars,” he emphasized.

He deemed the crisis as national, with the Lebanese people paying the price.

He argued that the army should prevent any violation of laws and international resolutions, starting from UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which calls on the army to prevent any military actions in the 1701 area and condemns actions from both sides.

“Everyone is calling for the implementation of Resolution 1701, and this will happen, but why destroy the country, cause casualties, and martyrs, only to eventually reach the implementation of the resolution? Why did more than 150 members affiliated with Hezbollah fall? Was it in defense of Gaza?” he asked.

He stressed that the people do not want to enter into war, saying that Hezbollah monopolizes the decision, while the government, as stated by the Prime Minister, does not want war.

He reiterated that the problem is that the country's decision is kidnapped, affirming that Hezbollah controls the government.

“Lebanon is taken hostage, and our battle is to reclaim Lebanon's sovereignty—a battle worth fighting,” he asserted.

“We are in a state of resistance and reclaiming sovereignty from a militia funded and taking orders from abroad,” he added.

"As much as we have a responsibility internally to defend the sovereignty of the country, there is an international responsibility to curb Iran, which is creating this reality in Lebanon,” he indicated.

He considered the Syrian occupation harsher than Hezbollah's control over Lebanon, saying that this did not prevent the Kataeb from peacefully confronting it in universities and protests, ultimately succeeding in ousting the Syrian presence.

He considered that the major problem lies in the existence of an armed militia with military and financial support.

“When Hezbollah decides to transition from the logic of imposition and defamation to the logic of the state and partnership, we will be the first to cooperate,” he affirmed.

The Kataeb Leader said that his party is communicating with the world to explain the reality, so everyone understands that the people are held hostage, describing it as a prolonged battle.

He highlighted the issue with the official authorities being subject to the will of Hezbollah, stating that the Kataeb Party is in a state of resistance and confrontation.

“We will not accept being "second-class" citizens, and we will continue to resist. This is not related to Christians but to all Lebanese from all sects,” he noted.

He pointed out the level of animosity propagated by Hezbollah within its ranks, citing a culture of exclusion, rejection of the other, and an unwillingness to accept any criticism.

He considered that political participation necessitates accepting others.

“If you do not acknowledge and respect others, you cannot build with them. Those who betray us are well-known individuals within Hezbollah,” he indicated.

Gemayel affirmed that the Kataeb Party is an established institution with a continuous presence and is in a state of constant development.

“We are a Lebanese party and we have affiliates from all sects and our discourse defends all Lebanese, not a group, and therefore we are a Lebanese party that is not sectarian,” he stated.

“The secret to Kataeb's continuity lies in its ability to periodically reassess and adapt to the times, with commitment and conviction being the guiding principles,” he said.

He emphasized that the sole criteria for appointments to key positions within the Kataeb Party are enthusiasm, competence, and a readiness to commit to the political confrontation they are engaged in.

Gemayel stated, "For us, the Kataeb is an open and inclusive space for people from all sects and regions. We attract members from various areas, conduct accountability and reviews. Each of us plays their role within the party framework from their position, and we have no internal issues."

He stressed that there is a respectful hierarchy within the Kataeb, with everyone having their role and responsibilities.

He recalled that in 1990, the Kataeb had no deputies, and by 2000, the number increased.

Gemayel indicated that Kataeb was revitalized from scratch after it was in the hands of the Syrians in the '90s.

“Kataeb members dispersed among other parties, but Pierre Gemayel started from scratch, reviving the party with a comprehensive journey that should be taken into consideration,” he explained.

“We proved that we don't play the power game. Since 2015, we have been outside of power, prioritizing Lebanon and its interests as our only standard, even if we were standing alone. We sacrificed our interests and power for our principles and constants,” he added.

In response to a question about his willingness to dialogue with Free Patriotic Movement Leader Gebran Bassil, Gemayel said, "Dialogue only happens with opponents. We have reached an intersection with Gebran Bassil through dialogue and communication with the Free Patriotic Movement, except for those who betray us day and night."

Regarding the presidential file, Gemayel stated, "The statements being made are not accurate. Hezbollah tried to impose a president and failed. Our candidate was Michel Mouawad, and we suggested Jihad Azour as a step towards the center, as he is a centrist. However, Hezbollah did not meet us halfway. This means that its goal is imposition, electing its candidate, rejecting the democratic process, refusing to discuss a third option, and proposing names for discussion."

The Kataeb Leader noted that Hezbollah rejects participation and obstructs the election of the president through consecutive sessions or discussing a new name.

“The logic of imposition fails because we are present and will not surrender,” Gemayel affirmed.

He believed that Lebanon reached this point due to the mentality of trading in politics, which came at the expense of the Lebanese people.

"For the state to be weak is not in the interest of the Christians, and it is not beneficial to participate in an authority that destroys the state,” he said.

"Christians are not as numerous in the state as they were during Michel Aoun's era, but the largest emigration also occurred during Aoun's era. This means that if you are strong in power, it does not mean that Christians are strong. Therefore, Gebran Bassil's theory is wrong. Christians did not pay the price as much as they did during the Aoun’s era, and the price is paid when the authority destroys the logic of the state. Restoring the logic of the state is the only way to secure Christians,” he explained.

“We do not accept living in a country where we have no say in the future of our nation. We are closely monitoring the situation of Christians in the south, which is in a state of war,” he went on saying.

He considered that the Lebanese people have no say in the decisions, future, and destiny of their country, which is determined from elsewhere.

“Does federalism solve the problem of Hezbollah's illegal weapons?” he asked.

"Federalism is not a solution to the weapons issue, and the issue of the political system is a solution to the problem of the relationship between the Lebanese, managing diversity. Here, we need a careful examination of the mechanisms of operation in the country. However, this does not solve the problem of illegal weapons,” he indicated.

He believed that governance crises should be resolved through the political system, which should improve performance.

"200 martyrs have fallen in Lebanon since October 7.Is it normal for the Lebanese government and parliament not to convene for discussion and decision-making on what we should do? This means that our state has  collapsed," he said.

"When the state is absent from such responsibilities, it means that it has collapsed. When a party declares its loyalty to foreign powers, it means that we are under the guardianship of a foreign state and that we are in a state of confrontation and resistance to foreign tutelage," he stressed.

Regarding his meeting with Lebanese Forces Leader Dr. Samir Geagea, he said: "There is no need to meet Geagea at the present time for security reasons, and communication with him is ongoing."

He called on those who believe in Lebanon's sovereignty, independence, and the principle of freedom to set aside sensitivities and unite to achieve the desired results.

Gemayel addressed Hezbollah, stating, "We only want to live in peace, dignity, and freedom in our country. We do not seek the elimination of anyone or the interest of any state except for the interest of Lebanon and the state."

"We see Hezbollah's performance as exclusionary, marginalizing, dominating, and seizing control of the state and the country. Therefore, Hezbollah must tell us what it wants: the state, partnership, constitution, and utilizing its capabilities within the framework of the state, or persisting in dominance," he stated.

"Our ambition is  is to reach common ground to build the country together, stepping away from the logic of violence, death, and hatred, and instead focusing on building together," Gemayel affirmed.

"No one should think for a moment that we will accept living as second-class citizens in a country governed by Hezbollah or influenced by it," he asserted.

"Such a scenario would lead to division and separation among the Lebanese," he emphasized.

Gemayel affirmed that Lebanon is at a crucial existential moment, saying that it will not return to its previous state after the current crisis.

"It is imperative to build it through a genuine partnership, and the transition to a logic of the state or the country will either lead to reconciliation or divorce," he concluded.






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