Lebanese politician Camille Dory Chamoun, chairman of the National Liberal Party, said that he does not seek war with Israel. The Christian politician made his remarks in an interview that aired on Sawt Beirut International (Lebanon) on May 16, 2021. Chamoun continued to say that Israel solved the "Palestinian problem" for Lebanon when it invaded the country in 1982. He explained that the Palestinians had wanted to take over Lebanon and many Lebanese factions applauded the Israeli invasion, which "relieved us of a major plague." Chamoun claimed that the Shi'ites "threw more rice and roses" at the Israelis than the Christians did at the time. He said that given the choice between Hizbullah and SLA founder Saad Haddad, he would choose Haddad, because the SLA protected South Lebanon and confronted the Fatahland and Araqoub areas. He added that the SLA defended Shi'ites even more than it defended Christians. Chamoun continued to say that while the SLA collaborated with Israel, so did many other organizations, including Hizbullah.
Interviewer: "Who do you choose? [SLA founder] Saad Haddad or Hizbullah?"
Camille Dory Chamoun: "Saad Haddad. Definitely."
Interviewer: "Saad Haddad the collaborator?"
Camille Dory Chamoun: "He was a military officer..."
Interviewer: "He was a collaborator."
Camille Dory Chamoun: "Collaborator? They were all collaborators."
Interviewer: "You prefer him over Hizbullah..."
Camille Dory Chamoun: "Absolutely."
Interviewer: "Why is that?"
Camille Dory Chamoun: "It's true that he had ties with Israel, but many people had such ties. Even Hizbullah had ties with Israel. Don't think that they are all that different in this regard. Saad Haddad protected south Lebanon, and he was the one who confronted the Fatahland and the Araqoub area. It was he who stood up against them. He defended the Shi'ites even more than he defended the Christians. Most of the people who joined him [in the SLA] were Shi'ites. Perhaps today some of them have had a change of heart, I don't know."
Interviewer: "Do you view Saad Haddad as a collaborator or as a patriot who saved the Christians and the entire region from the [pro-Syrian] 'National Parties' and the Palestinians?"
Camille Dory Chamoun: "I give him the credit of defending the identity of Lebanon in the South..."
Interviewer: "How was he defending Lebanon's identity while collaborating with Israel?"
Camille Dory Chamoun: "He was defending Lebanon's identity at all costs against the Palestinians and all the terrorists. If you want to place on trial the collaborators who sympathized with Israel, especially during its invasion, you should throw at least half of Lebanon into jail. Let's not make fools of ourselves."
Interviewer: "Do you support normalization of relations with Israel, and bringing the conflict with Israel to an end?"
Camille Dory Chamoun: "I support comprehensive peace. I support peace, I support Lebanon's neutrality, as was suggested today by Patriarch [Rai]..."
Interviewer: "You support Lebanon's neutrality with regard to Israel as well?"
Camille Dory Chamoun: "With regard to everybody."
Interviewer: "Including Israel?"
Camille Dory Chamoun: "We don't want wars. We are fed up with wars. We are fed up with weapons. We want to prosper. We want to live."
Interviewer: "You don't want wars, but what if they do want them?"
Camille Dory Chamoun: "Who?"
Interviewer: "The Israelis."
Camille Dory Chamoun: "The Israelis do not want war. If you do not attack them, they will not attack you. But when you allow acts of aggression against Israel to be launched from your land, you will surely encounter a painful strike in return. They are not playing games. As Lebanese, it is not in our best interest to be in a state of war with anyone today. We are business people."
Interviewer: "Some people say that in 1982, when Israel invaded, you applauded it."
Camille Dory Chamoun: "Everybody did. The Shi'ites threw more rice and roses at them than we did. Ultimately, Israel invaded and resolved the problem of the Palestinians for us. We took the Palestinians in as refugees, and they turned against us, in an attempt to turn Lebanon into an alternative Palestine. This was rejected by everybody."
Interviewer: "The Israeli invasion relieved Lebanon of the big problem of the Palestinians?"
Camille Dory Chamoun: "Yes. The Israeli invasion caused much destruction and killed many people... I do not support the invasion, but if we want to be serious, the Palestinian actions on our land constituted a heavy burden. They came to us as refugees after the Nakba. They came in small numbers – 35,000 or 50,000 – but then they became 100,000, and later a half a million... Then they were given the right to carry arms, and then they started attacking Israel from Lebanese land, even though they did not dare do it from any other Arab country. They got us entangled in huge problems. They wanted to take control of the country, and said that the road to Palestine passes through Jounieh. We do not forget all this. They divided Lebanon and the Lebanese people. [Israel] definitely relieved us of a major plague."