Mr. Saniora, Give peace a Chance
By: Elias Bejjani
September 2/06

I call on Lebanon's Prime Minister Fuad Saniora, who has a lot of good potential and intentions, to abandon once and forever the notorious
and historically devastating Arab rhetoric and attitudes. There is no doubt that productive and credible Lebanese politics cannot be practiced any
longer with this Arab no-stance mentality and indecisive style, especially during this crucial period in the governance of Lebanon. The PM ought to
start putting his tongue and mind together where Lebanon's interests, safety, peace, future, democracy and  prosperity are. He can no longer waste time, resources and opportunities in cajoling and appeasing Hezbollah, Syria and Iran, and go on with futile compromises that keep Lebanon an easy prey to terrorism and terrorists.

In his last interview with the Canadian CBC, and again  yesterday in his spontaneous response to Israeli PM Ehud Olmert's statement calling for establishing direct contacts between Lebanon and Israel, Mr. Saniora's position was neither cold nor warm; it was lukewarm, evasive and elusive.

In regards to Hezbollah's disarmament, addressed in the CBC interview, Mr. Saniora struggled to convince his audience that the Lebanese army will confiscate all the illegal arms it may encounter in areas where it deploys. Up till now he has declined using the term disarmament and has never yet said that his government will disarm Hezbollah. Confiscating arms when only encountered is simply like treating a malignant cancer with a band aid.

As far as relations and contacts with Israel, Mr. Saniora is supposed to look around seriously and stop his day dreaming and wishful thinking approaches. He needs to desensitize his mentality and conduct from obsolete residual myths he was conditioned to when he was a Syrian stooge so he, and his country, can live peacefully with, and accept the reality of the existing Israeli-Arabic relations and contacts. All Middle Eastern and Muslim countries, including the so-called Arab ones, have either exchanged formal diplomatic relations with Israel after signing  mutual peace accords (Jordan, Egypt, and the Palestinians), or are conducting direct overt contacts with Israel (Qatar, Bahrain, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, Sudan and Iraq), or are engaged with the Hebrew State in indirect covert relations and contacts (Syria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Yemen, Arab Emirates)

Meanwhile all these countries, including Lebanon, have already recognized the right of existence of the Israeli State when all of them with no exception agreed to the  UN Resolutions 242 (1967) and 332, 338 (1973) and to the Madrid (October 191) Conference that called for peace in return for land.

Mr. Saniora, who loves continuously tagging Lebanon as an Arab state and adores bragging about Arab nationalism should put an end, once and for all, to the myth that says "Lebanon will be the last Arab State to sign a peace deal with Israel". In fact, Lebanon is not the only so-called Arab State that is holding back from forging direct or indirect relations with the Jewish State, but the only one in the whole world.

Mr. Saniora is one among many other dignified Lebanese leaders and politicians who proudly and openly see Egypt's President, Hosni Mubarak, Jordan's King Abdullah, and Qatar's ruling Prince as highly prestigious role models in Arabism and Islamism. What an irony knowing that these three Arab leaders have official diplomatic ties and relations with Israel.

We call on Mr. Saniora and on the rest of Lebanon's leadership, both those in political and religious circles, to begin dealing without hesitation, shame or procrastination with the reality as other brotherly and sisterly neighboring Arab countries have done. Let us bury the term enemy 12 feet under and earn an everlasting peace in the Middle East.

On Wednesday August 30/06, Lebanon's PM, Fuad Saniora  refused to have any direct contact with Israel in a spontaneous hasty response to a statement made by Israeli's PM Olmart who called for the establishment of direct contacts with the Lebanese Government. Saniora officially stated that Lebanon would be the last Arab country to ever sign a peace deal with the Jewish state. "Let it be clear, we are not seeking any agreement until there is just a comprehensive peace based on the Arab initiative," Fuad Saniora said. He was referring to a plan that came out of a 2002 Arab League summit in Beirut. It calls for Israel to return all territories it conquered in the 1967 Mideast war, the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital and a solution to the Palestinian refugee problem all in exchange for  peace and full normalization of Arab relations with Israel. Israel has long sought a peace deal with Lebanon, but Beirut has hesitated as long as Israel's conflicts with the Palestinians and Syria remained unresolved. Saniora said Lebanon wants to go back to the 1949 armistice agreement that formally ended the Arab-Israeli war over Israel's creation.

*Elias Bejjani
Chairman for the Canadian Lebanese Coordinating Council (LCCC)
Human Rights activist, journalist & political commentator.
Spokesman for the Canadian Lebanese Human Rights Federation (CLHRF)

 LCCC Web Site
CLHRF Website

The lccc is the Federal umbrella for the following nonprofit municipal, provincial and federal Canadian registered groups:
Canadian Lebanese Human Rights Federation,  (CLHRF),  Canadian Lebanese Free Patriotic Movement (FPM-Canada), Phoenician Club of Mississauga (PCOM),/Canadian Phoenician Community Services Club (CPCSC),Canadian Lebanese Christian Heritage Club (CLCHC),World Lebanese Cultural Union (WLCU)-Canadian Chapter.