"Stop the Irresponsible Rhetoric"
By: General Michel Aoun
(Translated by: Elias Bejjani)
20 March 1998

The Lebanese dilemma is becoming more complex every day, and although it is given a Lebanese name, it is in reality an Israeli-Syrian conflict against and not with Lebanon. As long as this simple fact is ignored in dealing with the crisis, it will continue to intensify and escalate. It is feared that if not handled appropriately, an unexpected outcome could occur to surprise all of the players.

If Israelis withdraw their troops from the south and Bekka either in compliance with security arrangements or unconditionally, the question remains: Is it legal or acceptable for Lebanon to permit the emergence of military operations from its land against Israel? If military action does originate from Lebanon, would they not instigate new retaliatory Israeli wars and preventative military strikes against Lebanon? The 1949 Israeli-Lebanese armistice agreement that the Beirut government is trying to revive prohibits (bans) such actions, as does UN Resolution 425. We challenge the Lebanese officials to demonstrate the validity of their own interpretation of the terms of these designated agreements if we are mistaken.

The armistice agreement necessitates a full halt to all military operations on both sides of the Lebanese-Israeli border. Both the armistice agreement as well the April Understanding are parts of the security agreements, entrusted to handle emerging security problems and solve them before they escalate and threaten the agreement or infringe on the understanding.

The Byzantine logic currently displayed by the Lebanon's installed puppet officials with regard to several security conditions is groundless and merely rhetorical. What they are refusing to accept already exists in the terms of the armistice agreement as well as in the April Understanding and need not to be a reason for any Lebanese-Israeli dispute.

The Lebanese government is obligated to explain to its people the national interests in the wisdom of tying (binding) the fate of the South and Bekka with that of the Golan Heights. We fully oppose such a concept and consider those who support it to be infringing upon the territorial sovereignty of Lebanon. It is an attempt to annex our Lebanese land to another country (Syria), and such an act is treason.

We repeat emphatically that Arab solidarity in the peace process does not oblige Lebanon materially or morally to give up its land to others. In so doing, the Lebanese government is committing a crime against the sovereignty of its own country.

The ignorance of Lebanese officials reaches its peak when they make rhetorical statements and overlooking completely the repercussions and consequences (of these statements). Accordingly, we take the initiative at every opportunity to explain certain vital issues so that the world may differentiate clearly between the actual stances of the intelligent, civilized people of Lebanon and some of the ignorant Syrian-installed puppet officials. They are uneducated in the basic legal requirements for international communication affairs, and overlook even the minimal obligations and responsibilities of the Lebanese state that they claim to represent.

How can these officials explain their rhetoric "that Lebanon is not a police force entrusted to protect Israel's security"? And who asked Lebanon to carry this role? Maintaining security on Lebanon's borders with Israel (as well as on its borders with other countries) is indisputably a responsibility of the Lebanese state. It is carried out in accordance with either armistice agreements, international resolutions, or through normal neighborhood relations. A country that declines to police its own borders and allows its neighbors to take over these responsibilities is not sovereign. This is exactly what Israel and Syria are doing on their borders with Lebanon.

The Lebanese government's persistent refusal to assume control over the security of its own borders is a treasonous act, and those officials who lobby for such a stance are traitors and ought to be charged and tried by the judiciary. They are justifying the Syrian occupation under the pretext of protecting Lebanon's "weak backbone",and the Israeli occupation under the pretext of border security.

Truly patriotic Lebanese citizens who call for the implementation of UN Resolution 520 shall assume full responsibilities in securing and maintaining a free, independent and democratic Lebanon. All others should keep silent, because irresponsible rhetoric about crucial national issues is an unpardonable crime.