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memri
June 22, 2001 No.
232

Hamas Weekly: Syria and Heads of Lebanese Christian Forces Should be Tried for Sabra and Shatila Before Sharon

Saleh Al-Na'ami, a senior political commentator for the Hamas weekly, Al-Risala, related in its latest issue to the BBC/Panorama program about Sharon. Contrary to the consensus in the Arab media, Al-Na'ami states that the demand to prosecute Israeli PM Sharon as a war criminal is hypocritical and that Syria and the heads of the Christian Lebanese forces are the ones responsible for the massacre at Sabra and Shatila. Following are excerpts from his column:

"The documentary aired by the BBC's first channel has provoked the interest of the entire world... Naturally, many Arab intellectuals were enthusiastic about prosecuting Sharon, and the BBC deserves full credit for its objective handling of the issue..."

"However, with all honesty, there is a certain degree of hypocrisy in the Arab coverage of the Sabra and Shatila massacres!!!!! It is true that Sharon bears responsibility for these massacres, but the people who committed these war crimes with their own hands, were never tried."

"Moreover, Eli Hbeika who was head of security in the Lebanese Forces when they committed these massacres and who supervised the mass-killings and the rapes, boasted in the [BBC] film itself that he was never, nor will he ever be tried, and that he lives completely free. The same goes for Fadi Afram, the commander of the Lebanese Forces, who had an actual role in committing the massacres."

"We ask once again the question we have been asking always: Who is protecting Eli Hbeika now, when nobody disputes his responsibility for these massacres? The answer is: The Syrian government who rewarded him two years after the massacre, by appointing him as a minister in the Lebanese government. The Syrian rulers, and first and foremost Bashar Al-Assad, should prove their commitment to the Palestinian cause before they fill the air with their slogans about it."

"Indeed, it is hypocritical to attack Sharon for his part in the Sabra and Shatila massacre, without demanding from Syria and from the Lebanese government to demonstrate minimal commitment towards the Palestinian people and allow the prosecution of the real war criminals - Hbeika and the gang of lowlifes that surrounded him at the time."

"Israel has established an investigation committee headed by a judge in order to investigate the Sabra and Shatila massacres. This committee forced the Begin government to fire Sharon from the Ministry of Defense. Israel has also discharged many of its army commanders. However, we have not seen the Lebanese government doing [what Israel did] even though one would expect them to do it."

"When such a committee was, finally, established by the Lebanese government, it acquitted Hbeika of any responsibility for committing the massacres and unloaded all the responsibility on Israel, even though, the court established that it was Hbeika's soldiers who committed the massacres."

"As'ad Jamuswho headed the Lebanese investigation committee, gave the strangest possible reasoning for his committee's decision: He leveled the responsibility on Israel because the Lebanese Forces were Israel's allies when they committed the massacre!!"

"Syria, hence, has not only turned a blind eye to Hbeika's responsibility for the massacre [when it appointed him a minister], it has also turned a blind eye to the fact that it was publicly declared [by the investigation committee] that Hbeika served as an Israeli agent. Furthermore, in 1981, Israeli TV aired a report showing Hbeika, accompanied by a group of Jews, visiting the Golan Heights and calling upon Israel to keep the Golan Heights."

"In all honesty, the regime in Syria has not found any flaw in its relations with Hbeika, despite his crimes against Palestinians and Lebanese alike, because this regime has lost the sensitivity to the lives of its own people."

"Someone who murdered tens of thousands in Hamma, cannot be expected to find any flaw in the murder of two thousands Palestinians by Hbeika."[1]


[1] Al-Risala (PA), June 21, 2001.