memri
December 12, 2023 Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1732

Public Uproar In Lebanon Following Hamas-Lebanon's Announcement Of New Resistance Organization: We Don't Want 'Hamas-Land' In Lebanon

December 12, 2023 | By H. Varulkar*
Lebanon, Palestinians | Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1732

Introduction

On December 4, 2023, the Hamas movement in Lebanon announced the establishment of a new organization in the country, called Vanguards of the Al-Aqsa Flood."[1] Addressed to "the Palestinian people" and "the heroic jihad fighters in Lebanon," the announcement states that the organization was formed " to emphasize the role of the Palestinian people, in all places it is found, in resisting the occupation by all available and legitimate means, to complete what was achieved by Operation Al-Aqsa Flood." The announcement also calls upon Palestinian men and youth to join the new organization and take part in "shaping the future of your people and liberating Jerusalem and the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque."[2]

The announcement on the establishment of this new Hamas-affiliated organization in Lebanon sparked a public uproar in the country. It drew fire from many elements in the Lebanese political arena and media, who saw it as an infringement of Lebanon's sovereignty and a violation of the Taif Agreement and of the international resolutions that ban the presence of all armed forces in the country other than the Lebanese military. Many political figures, both Christian and Sunni, called on Hamas to immediately revoke the announcement, warning that they would not allow a recurrence of Lebanon's bitter experience in the 1960s and 1970s, when Fatah operated from Lebanese territory, turning Lebanon into "Fatah-land" and ultimately bringing disaster upon it. The Lebanese people, they stressed, support the Palestinian struggle, but this struggle must be waged from Palestine, not from Lebanon. Lebanese Forces Party head Samir Geagea and other Lebanese figures added that Hizbullah must be behind the announcement, since everyone knows that no organization can operate in South Lebanon without its consent. 

In response to the uproar, Hamas' representative in Lebanon, Ahmad Abd Al-Hadi, tried to reassure the Lebanese public, saying that the announcement had been misconstrued and that the new organization would not be a military one. However, statements by other Hamas elements indicate that at least some of  the new organization's members are to be involved in armed resistance.

Only after Hamas' clarification did Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati respond to the announcement, saying that the establishment of a new organization "is completely inconceivable and we will not agree to it," adding that "relevant elements have repeatedly clarified that [this organization] is not meant to engage in military action."[3]

Hamas' clarification, which did not deny the intention to establish a new Hamas affiliate in Lebanon, failed to quell the public criticism. Many journalists and analysts speculated about the considerations that prompted Hamas and Hizbullah to make this move, assessing that one of its objectives is to draw attention away from the issue of Hizbullah's weapons and the demand to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which bans Hizbullah's  armed presence in South Lebanon. They also suggested that the move has two other goals. One is to strengthen Hamas in Lebanon's Palestinian refugee camps, ahead of turning them into a new base for Hamas' leadership that is currently based in Gaza. The other goal, they said, is to gain more support for Hizbullah among the Sunnis and draw more resistance fighters to South Lebanon to participate in the fight against Israel.

This report reviews the criticism in Lebanon following Hamas' announcement of the new organization, Vanguards of the Al-Aqsa Flood. It also reviews Hamas' clarifications in response to this criticism, and the assessments and analyses published in the Lebanese press regarding the new organization and the motivations for its establishment.

Hamas-Lebanon Announces New 'Vanguards Of The Al-Aqsa Flood' Organization

Hamas-Lebanon's announcement of the new organization, issued on December 4, read as follows:

"In the name of Allah the Compassionate and Merciful,

"The Hamas Movement in Lebanon announces the establishment of the Vanguards of the Al-Aqsa Flood [organization] and calls upon Palestinian  young men to join it.

"O our Palestinian people in Lebanon,

"O heroic jihad fighters,

"Based on the words of the Almighty, 'And prepare against them whatever you are able of power and of steeds of war by which you may terrify the enemy of Allah and your enemy…' [Quran 8:60]; and in order to emphasize the role of the Palestinian people, in all places it is found, in resisting the occupation by all available and legitimate means, to complete what was achieved by Operation Al-Aqsa Flood; to side with the steadfastness of our Palestinian people, which bears its suffering with fortitude; to support our valiant resistance… and the sacrifices our people have made; to facilitate the participation of our men and youth in the project of resisting the occupation and benefit from their capabilities and abilities in [various] fields of knowledge and technology – the Islamic Resistance  Movement Hamas in Lebanon announces the establishment and launching of the Vanguards of the Al-Aqsa Flood [organization].

"O our people, o our heroic men and youth, join the vanguard of the jihad fighters and take part in shaping the future or your people and the liberation of Jerusalem and the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque.

"This is jihad: either victory or martyrdom [istishhad].

"[Signed,] the Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas in Lebanon

"Beirut, December 4, 2023."[4] 


Hamas' announcement of the establishment of the new organization

Criticism In Lebanon Following The Announcement Of The New Organization

As stated, Hamas' announcement of the establishment of the new organization in Lebanon evoked intense public criticism in the Lebanese political arena and media, especially from Christian elements and figures. The following are some examples:

Lebanese Army Must Deploy On All Of Lebanon's Borders; Lebanon Is Committed To Resolution 1701

The political bureau of the Kataeb Party (also known as the Phalanges) condemned Hamas' announcement and accused the Lebanese government of "failing to fulfill its minimal duty" of preventing the establishment of such an organization in the country. It stressed "the need to take a clear political decision to deploy the Lebanese army and security forces on all the [country's] borders, so that they and only they guarantee [Lebanon's] peace." Addressing the international community, the party urged it to prevent foreign elements from "embroiling Lebanon in conflicts" and put a stop to actions that harm Lebanon and violate its sovereignty. It also stressed Lebanon's commitment to the international resolutions, chief of them Resolution 1701.[5] 

Whoever Wants To Fight Should Do So From Palestine, Not From Lebanon; We Will Not Repeat The Experiences Of The Past

Kataeb Party head Samy Al-Gemayel shared Hamas' announcement on his X account and wrote: "The Vanguard of the Al-Aqsa [Flood organization] belongs in Palestine, not in Lebanon, and should not [operate] from Lebanon. We will not go back to the past."[6]

Another Kataeb Party MP, Nadim Al-Gemayel, wrote in a similar vein: "Lebanon is committed to [Security Council] Resolutions 1559 and 1701, and the Lebanese army, which is responsible for the state's sovereignty and security, must implement them and put an end to all the [dangerous] goings-on, so as to keep the bitter history from repeating itself and prevent the recurrence of [our past] experience with the armed Palestinian organizations [in Lebanon], which caused nothing but destruction and devastation in the name of the Palestinian cause.  Whoever wants to fight and wage jihad must do so, but not from Lebanese territory. We wish him every success. Lebanon is not an alternative [Palestinian] homeland or an alternative arena of war and jihad."[7]

No To Hamas-Land in South Lebanon; Taif Agreement Mandated Disarmament Of Palestinians In Lebanon

Gebran Bassil, the chairman of the Free Patriotic Movement and Lebanon's former foreign minister, wrote on X: "We categorically oppose Hamas-Lebanon's announcement of the establishment of the Vanguards of the Al-Aqsa Flood [organization] and [oppose] its call for young Palestinians to join this organization.  We also regard any armed action carried out from Lebanese soil as a violation of [our] national sovereignty. We remind [everyone] of what the Lebanese agreed on in the 1990 Taif [Agreement],  which demanded the disarmament of the Palestinians in the refugee camps and elsewhere [in Lebanon]. The Lebanese people also agreed to revoke the Cairo Agreement of 1969, which had legitimized the Palestinian armed action carried out from Lebanon. Establishing a Hamas-Land in the south in order to attack Israel from that area [actually] undermines Lebanon's right to defend itself [against Israel]… We should have already learned the lesson of history, that we must not become a bargaining chip [for others] in times of war…"[8]

Lebanese MP Camille Chamoun, head of the Christian National Liberal Party, issued a statement in a similar vein, saying: "We oppose turning Lebanon into Hamas-Land and into a conflict zone that will be destroyed for the sake of some agents in the country that have foreign agendas…"[9] 

The New Organization Was Surely Established With Hizbullah's Consent; Nothing Happens In South Lebanon Without Its Knowledge

A statement issued by Lebanese Forces Party head Samir Geagea noted that, "in the dialogue sessions of 2006, personally attended by Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, the Lebanese agreed on 'removing the Palestinian weapons outside the refugee camps and regulating [the weapons] inside the camps'… [Hamas'] announcement [on the establishment of the new organization] is unacceptable, in both its form and its content. It infringes on Lebanon's sovereignty and is another attempt to ruin the relations between the Lebanese and the Palestinians.  Clearly, Hamas and the other [armed] organizations in Lebanon are subordinate to Hizbullah and its decisions, and cannot possibly engage in any military action without its knowledge and consent. In fact, Hizbullah is the one that asks them to fire missiles, based on its own military considerations. In addition, Hamas couldn't have issued such an announcement without Hizbullah actively giving it its stamp of approval …"[10]

Lebanese Forces MP Ghada Ayoub made similar remarks to the Al-Sharq Al-Awsat daily, saying: "Hizbullah is the one backing this new entity [Vanguards of the Al-Aqsa Flood]… Everyone knows that it is impossible to form new armed organizations without a decision by Hizbullah, which for 40 years has prevented [the presence] of any weapons except its own… Before the end of the Lebanese [civil] war, Hizbullah used to engage in deadly military clashes with the armed [Palestinian] organizations that raised the banner of the struggle against Israel even before it did so itself, in order to take over their decision-making. Therefore, Hamas-Lebanon could not have established the Vanguards of the Al-Aqsa Flood [organization] without an explicit decision by Hizbullah…"[11]    

A source in the Lebanese Forces Party told the Al-Mudun daily that "the announcement [about the establishment of the new organization] was actually a Hizbullah announcement bearing Hamas' signature," because "not a single hair and not a single rocket falls [in South Lebanon] without Hizbullah knowing about it."[12]

Hamas' Announcement Is A Coup And A Rebellion Against Everything The Lebanese Decided On

The Saydat Al-Jabal Association, a Christian organization opposed to Hizbullah, issued a statement saying: "Hamas' announcement about recruiting gunmen in Lebanon [to a new organization] called Vanguards of the Al-Aqsa Flood is an ugly, despicable and condemnable action, to say the least, because it takes Lebanon back to the climate that prevailed before the Taif Agreement, and even to the climate of division and hatred that prevailed in the 1960s and 1970s. The Saydat Al-Jabal Association regards this dangerous announcement as a provocative move against everyone who believes in Lebanon, in its sovereignty, in the constitution, in the laws of the state and in the international and Arab resolutions regarding Lebanon. [We therefore] announce the following:

"1. We hold Iran… as well as Hizbullah – who coordinates with Hamas and is, in effect, the one who has the last word in the relationship with it – responsible for the consequences of the attempt to take advantage of the governmental vacuum in our country in order to declare Lebanon an arena of jihad and a springboard for the liberation of Palestine.

"2. We direct strong words of condemnation and rebuke, and accusations of negligence, at all the government officials, and at the Lebanese military, who are responsible for implementing Resolution 1701 to the letter in accordance with international law.

"3. We call upon the figures and political forces that believe in Lebanon, and on the representatives of the [Lebanese] nation, not to suffice with verbal condemnations of this flagrant act of violating Lebanon's sovereignty. [We] demand that they call for a political and popular sit-in inside and outside the Parliament to protest against Hamas' announcement, for it is tantamount to a coup and a deliberate rebellion against all the decisions that the Lebanese have taken… and even against the concept of Lebanon itself."[13]

Hamas Has No Right To Harm Lebanon And Its Sovereignty

Lebanese Forces MP Ghayath Yazbeck wrote: "We warn against the arrival of the Vanguards of the Al-Aqsa Flood in South Lebanon, and against the consequences of letting Hamas do as it pleases on the border. Lebanon, which cannot bear [the consequences of] Hizbullah's violations and the disasters they have brought upon us, will not be able to bear [the consequences] of Hamas harming its sovereignty and of the economic disaster that will ensue. Only the army [should be present] in the south."[14]

MP Mark Daou wrote: "Lebanon is a country, not a [fighting] arena. Hamas has no right to harm Lebanon. We feel solidarity with the Palestinian people and their cause, but we will not allow this [cause] to serve as an excuse for harming Lebanon and organizing armed forces that are not Lebanese. Hamas' leaders must directly cancel this move, otherwise we will see it as a hostile move against the Lebanese people and their security."[15]

Lebanon Is Not An Arena For Escapades Of The Resistance Axis; The Only Legitimate Weapons Are Those Of The Army

Criticism was heard not only from Christian Lebanese figures, but also from Sunni politicians in the country. MP and former justice minister Ashraf Rifi, for example, came out against Hamas' announcement in a series of posts on his X account, in which he wrote: "The establishment of the Vanguards of the Al-Aqsa Flood [organization] in Lebanon, announced by Hamas, is a grave mistake and we demand that they retract it, for it revives a memory that must not return, harms the Palestinian cause and benefits [only] the resistance axis, which trades in this cause. The struggle [to liberate Palestine] belongs in the occupied land… All the Lebanese people support the objective of backing the Palestinians in their struggle to establish an independent Palestinian state. [But] Lebanon is not an arena for the resistance [axis] and for those who are deceived by it. We oppose these escapades, which are aimed at involving the [Palestinian] refugee camps, and our people, the Palestinian Lebanese, in trading in resistance. The only legitimate weapons are those of the Lebanese army. My advice to you [the Palestinians in Lebanon] is: do not drown in the deep Lebanese quicksand, for the loss will be very great."[16]

Former Lebanese prime minister Fouad Al-Siniora likewise condemned Hamas' announcement , saying: "The Lebanese people stood and continue to stand, without reservation, alongside the Palestinian people and their just cause of restoring their rights and their land by whatever means they choose. That said, any notion of [allowing] our Palestinian brethren to renew their armed struggle from Lebanese [soil] is inconceivable." Al-Siniora stressed that "Lebanon has abrogated the Cairo Agreement, which granted the Palestinians freedom to carry out military action from its territory, after the country paid dearly [for this action] in the lives of its people and its  stability and development for many decades." He added that "the Lebanese people [also] passed the Taif Agreement… which called to dissolve the armed militias and stressed [the need to] establish the exclusive authority of the Lebanese state throughout the nation's territory…"[17] 

Al-Nahhar Daily: Hamas' Move Is A Flagrant Provocation; The State's Silence Is A Disgrace

The Lebanese Al-Nahhar daily, which is owned by the Christian Tueini family and is known for its opposition to Hizbullah, called Hamas' announcement of the new organization "a flagrantly provocative move," and added: "Despite this, the Lebanese state turned a deaf ear, swallowed its tongue and treated this dangerous development – which revives the fears about abandoning the south [to its fate] and about the weapons anarchy… – the way a cuckolded husband treats [his wife's infidelity, i.e., by ignoring it]. Many of the politicians  kept silent, due to the intimidation [they faced]… and to avoid being accused of treason…" The daily condemned what it called "the disgraceful silence of the official and political  echelons," adding that "Hamas-Lebanon's flagrant act of defiance against the legitimate Lebanese [authorities]… brings back memories of devastating experiences that left Lebanon open [to harm] on the eve of the outbreak of the [Lebanese civil] war on April 13, 1975…"[18]

Article In Al-Mudun Daily: Hamas' Announcement Will Have Grave Consequences For Lebanon

An article by journalist Mounir Al-Rabih in the Al-Mudun daily called Hamas' announcement a mistake that could have grave consequences for Lebanon. Al-Rabih wrote:  "Hamas-Lebanon's mistake of announcing the establishment of the Vanguards of the Al-Aqsa Flood [organization] and calling on Palestinians and Lebanese to join this organization will have grave consequences for Lebanon… First of all, it will give the Israelis additional excuses to pressure Lebanon and make diplomatic efforts to achieve this. It will also cause Israel to escalate its threats to carry out military or security operations inside Lebanon in order to create a 'safe zone in South Lebanon.' This, [in turn], will spark much military and political  controversy [in the country] and can place Lebanon in an awkward situation in terms of its official position. Second, the political effect of such a move will lead to further political schisms in Lebanon, which will acquire a somewhat sectarian character… 

"In addition, many elements may use the internal conflicts and political controversies in Lebanon to increase the internal schism and even set off security and military incidents to signal their opposition to what Hizbullah is doing in the south…  The gravest thing is that [Hamas'] move is reminiscent of the clashes between Fatah and Islamist forces that took place in the [Palestinian] refugee camp of Ain Al-Hilwa several weeks before Operation Al-Aqsa Flood… This move [of establishing a new Hamas affiliate in Lebanon] may revive the security problems in the Palestinian refugee camps and cause the Israelis to deepen their infiltration [of the arena] and to carry out assassinations and even worse." [19]

In Response To The Uproar, Hamas Clarifies: The New Organization Will Not Be Military In Character

The public uproar and widespread public criticism sparked by Hamas' announcement prompted the movement to issue several clarifications. Some of them stated that the new organization would not be armed, while others indicated that only some of its members are to be involved in military action.

Hamas' representative in Lebanon, Ahmad Abd Al-Hadi, told the Lebanese Al-Nashra website that the movement's announcement regarding the establishment of the new organization had been misconstrued. Stating that Hamas does not engage in any resistance action in Lebanon, he added that the new organization would not be military in nature, and would only be aimed at engaging the Palestinian youth in Lebanon. Since the Al-Aqsa Flood operation, he explained, many of these young people want to join Hamas, and the movement therefore felt the need "to cultivate them through popular mobilization" in ways that serve the interests of both the Lebanese and the Palestinian people. Al-Hadi denied that Hamas wants to take over the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, and stressed that the founding of the new organization did not mean that Lebanon was becoming "Hamas-Land."[20]  

However, while Abd Al-Hadi claimed that the new organization would not be a military one, Walid Kilani, Hamas' media spokesperson in Lebanon, did not rule out that the organization would be involved in military action. He told the daily Nida Al-Watan that Hamas' decision "to recruit people [to the new organization] does not mean that all of them will join the military action or the resistance action. Each [recruit will find] his [rightful] place," he said.[21]

Hamas sources made similar remarks to the Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat: "Hamas is present in the 12 Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. We saw the [people's] intense support [for Hamas], and there was no choice but to cultivate it. This was done with the knowledge that this project [i.e., the new organization] is not just military, but is aimed at engaging all of the [Palestinians] according to their abilities in the fields of media, politics, charity, guidance, education or military [action], with the aim of incorporating as many Palestinians as possible." The sources stressed that "Hamas' weapons are used only in the context of resisting and fighting the Israeli occupation."[22]

Lebanese Analysts Discuss The Motives Behind The Establishment Of The New Hamas Affiliate

As stated, many elements in Lebanon assessed that Hizbullah must be behind the decision to found the new organization, since it has full control of South Lebanon and such a move could only be made with its knowledge and on its orders.  Anti-Hizbullah elements in Lebanon assessed that Hamas' clarifications, that the organization will not be armed, were likewise issued at Hizbullah's behest.[23] Lebanese journalists and analysts discussed the matter at length, trying to understand the objectives behind the moves of Hamas and Hizbullah.

The New Organization Was Established To Draw Attention Away From The Issue Of Hizbullah's Weapons, And To Take Over The Palestinian Refugee Camps

Some speculated that Hizbullah's objective in announcing this new organization was to draw attention away from the controversial issue of its own weapons. For example, a source in the Lebanese Forces party told Al-Mudun that Hizbullah means "to deceive public opinion and [cause it] to focus on the Palestinian weapons and to forget Hizbullah's weapons." [24]

Another suggestion was that Hizbullah wishes to strengthen Hamas in the Palestinian refugee camps. Lebanese journalist Rackel Outayek wrote in Nida Al-Watan: "Many political sources believe that Hizbullah – which has a monopoly over decisions of war and peace and which, in the 1980s, fought and murdered anyone who acted against Israel and was not subordinate to [Hizbullah's] own authority –  will not allow any faction to act outside its authority today, either. This means that Hizbullah is behind Hamas' recent announcement, which falls under the rubric of objectives that are still unclear but which may be connected [to an attempt by Hizbullah] to take control of the Palestinian refugee camps or gain [support] in the Sunni areas… Alternatively, it may be connected to a political position, aimed at focusing the spotlight on the issue of Hamas and its weapons, instead of Hizbullah's weapons…"[25]

This Is An Attempt To Establish South Lebanon, Instead Of Gaza, As A Base For Hamas And Its Leadership

Journalist Ali Hamada likewise argued that the founding of the new organization is meant to strengthen Hamas in the refugee camps. However, he linked this to a broader goal, of turning Lebanon into an alternative stronghold for Hamas after its future expulsion from Gaza. He wrote: "This move [of establishing the new organization]… serves the purpose of recruiting people in the refugee camps to [the ranks of] Hamas, the Islamic Jihad and the [organizations] allied with them, ahead of starting a new war in the refugee camps in order to crush the influence of Fatah and the Palestinian Authority [there]… [Furthermore,] the resistance axis is currently exploiting the Gaza war and preparing in Lebanon for the possibility that Hamas' leadership will [have to] leave the Gaza Strip after the war and settle elsewhere. Lebanon may become a [new] place of residence for some of these leaders, especially the security and military leaders, who may [have to] leave Gaza in a few weeks as part of an agreement for ending the war. That is why Hamas, and the regional axis to which it belongs, whose representative in Lebanon is Hizbullah, must end Fatah's control of all the Palestinian refugee camps, beginning with the largest of them, Ain Al-Hilwa. The founding in Lebanon of [the organization]  called Vanguard of the Al-Aqsa Flood should be seen in is context."[26]

Journalist Najem Al-Hachem also assessed that Hamas' move was meant to establish Lebanon as the movement's new base after the war. He wrote in the Nida Al-Watan daily: "Hamas' announcement [of the new organization], and the way it was issued, have many aspects that should be noted. The announcement and the call [to join the organization] was not just a media event, but was also a military declaration of war  by Hamas-Lebanon. [The announcement] begins as follows: 'The Hamas movement in Lebanon has issued the following announcement.' This means that the movement now has a leadership in Lebanon, which is an alternative to Hamas' leadership in Gaza. Therefore, Israel's goal of eliminating Hamas' leadership has effectively been thwarted and will not be achieved, because the movement has another leadership outside the Strip, which is in charge of following the war even if Israel occupies all of Gaza and the movement's leaders there disappear…

"Since Operation Al-Aqsa Flood [i.e., the current war in Gaza] broke out, [Hamas] has behaved as though Lebanon is an alternative to the Gaza Strip. Disregarding the existence of other [Hamas] leaderships, for instance those in Qatar and Turkey, it has acted to move its leadership [to Lebanon], in anticipation that its leadership in Gaza will meet an unhappy end… That is why Lebanon has become a base for the movement's representatives and spokespersons, who quickly stepped into the spotlight, as though already prepared for action…"[27]

Another article in the daily quoted "knowledgeable sources" as saying that Hamas' announcement of the new organization was made "in preparation for the next phase after the end of the Gaza war, [and in preparation] for the facts that will emerge on the ground and the security and political situation that will ensue, and also in response to the international and Arab insistence that there is no going back to the situation that existed before October 7. Now that all the countries have abandoned Hamas, Hizbullah has provided a safe haven [in Lebanon] for its leaders, its members and its fighters who have left Gaza, and they move [around Lebanon] with complete freedom and act on the political and media [levels].  This seems to be a preparatory stage, ahead of taking control of the decision-making in the Palestinian refugee camps [in South Lebanon] and using them as an alternative to Gaza…"[28]  

Journalist Ali Hamada wrote in Al-Nahhar that, by announcing the establishment of the Vanguards of the Al-Aqsa Flood [organization], Hizbullah meant to signal its refusal to implement Resolution 1701. He wrote: "This move also serves Hizbullah, which used it to convey a firm message to the international community that insists on neutralizing it in the Gaza war and on implementing Resolution 1701. The most important clause in this resolution [calls for] creating a 40-km buffer zone between the Blue Line [i.e., the Israeli border] and the Litani river that is clean of gunmen and weapons…"[29]

Hizbullah Trying To Recruit Support Among Sunnis, Turn South Lebanon Into Broad Terror Front Vis-à-vis Israel

Writing in Al-Mudun, journalist Mounir Al-Rabih assessed that another goal of Hizbullah in creating this new organization is to recruit support among the Sunnis and to draw resistance fighters from across the Arab world to South Lebanon. He wrote: "Hizbullah is acting to find favor with the large Sunni public that is sympathetic to Hamas… in order to gain Sunni support for its actions. This is what led to Hamas' establishment of the Vanguards of the Al-Aqsa Flood [organization], while Hizbullah is [also] engaged in establishing new groups, called the Youth of the Unity of the Fronts. The meaning of all this is that the Lebanese arena has become a free-for-all of action against Israel, which is a recurrence of what the Palestinian organizations did [in Lebanon] before and during the civil war.  This move [of establishing the new organization] may prompt… Palestinian and Arab young men [from abroad] to come to Lebanon to join the Vanguards [of the Al-Aqsa Flood].   

"More importantly, there is a possibility that some Hamas fighters may leave the Gaza Strip the minute Israel completes its military operation there… The Vanguards [of the Al-Aqsa Flood] may then facilitate the entry of some or all [of these Hamas fighters] into Lebanon. The country will thus become a base for military and security action, meaning that South Lebanon will become 'Resistance Axis Land,' where [action] is not confined to just one side or organization, even if Hizbullah continues to control the situation and manage the operations."[30]

 

   * H. Varulkar is Director of Research at MEMRI.

 

 

[1]  "Al-Aqsa Flood" is Hamas' name for its October 7, 2023 attack in southern Israel, in which about 1,200 people were murdered and about 240 were kidnapped.

[2] See MEMRI JTTM report, "Hamas In Lebanon Announces New Group, 'Vanguards Of The Al-Aqsa Flood,' Calling On Palestinians To Join It To Liberate Jerusalem And Al-Aqsa," December 5, 2023.

[3]  Elshashra.com, December 5, 2023.

[4] T.me/qassamiah7alat, December 4, 2023.

[5]  Almodon.com, December 5, 2023.

[6]  Twitter,com/samygemayel, December 4, 2023.

[7]  Twitter.com/nadimgemayel. December 4, 2023.

[8]  Twitter.com/Gebran_Bassil, December 4, 2023.

[9]  Twitter.com/Ahrar_NLP, December 5, 2023.

[10]  Al-Nahhar (Lebanon), December 6, 2023.

[11]  Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), December 6, 2023.

[12] Almodon.com, December 5, 2023.

[13]  Saydateljabal.org, December 4, 2023.

[14] Twitter.com/GhayathYazbeck, December 5, 2023.

[15]  Twitter.com/DaouMark, December 4, 2023.

[16] Twitter.com/Ashraf_Rifi, December 5, 2023.

[17]  Elnashra.com, December 5, 2023.

[18] Al-Nahhar (Lebanon), December 5, 2023.

[19] Almodon.com, December 6, 2023.

[20]  Elnashra.com, December 5, 2023.

[21]  Nida Al-Watan (Lebanon), December 5, 2023.

[22]  Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (Lebanon), December 5, 2023.

[23] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (Lebanon), December 7, 2023.

[24]  Almodon.com, December 5, 2023.

[25] Nida Al-Watan (Lebanon), December 6, 2023.

[26] Al-Nahhar (Lebanon), December 7, 2023.

[27] Nida Al-Watan (Lebanon), December 6, 2023.

[28] Nida Al-Watan (Lebanon), December 6, 2023.

[29]  Al-Nahhar (Lebanon), December 7, 2023.

[30]  Almodon.com, December 5, 2023.

Share this Report:

Help Fight Extremism - Support MEMRI

MEMRI is a 501(c)3 organization. All donations are tax-deductible and kept strictly confidential.