This clip features excerpts from interviews given recently by Dr. Naji Hayek, a Lebanese political activist affiliated with the Free Patriotic Movement.
Dr. Hayek said in an interview that was posted to the Bel Moubasher YouTube channel on April 29, 2023 that if the Lebanese government were the only organization with weapons in Lebanon, this would send a "positive message" to foreign countries. He elaborated that if Hizbullah loses its "command over the weapons of the resistance," then the Lebanese state would become responsible for its own decisions, could ask for aid, and become a modern state.
In a March 29, 2023 interview that aired on OTV (Lebanon), Dr. Hayek said that he does not oppose the way of life of other sects in Lebanon, but that he does oppose any sect having its own armed militia or attempting to impose its ideologies on others. In addition, Dr. Hayek said that he does not want to liberate Jerusalem and that the Palestinians should be the ones to do this. He added that if the Christians in Lebanon once again face a threat of annihilation, they should accept weapons from anyone who offers them, including Israel.
Naji Hayek: "In my opinion, the path to overcome [Lebanon's] crisis begins with a defense strategy that gives the state a monopoly on weapons. How will the military force operate? How will the resistance defend Lebanon? This is something for which we need to find a solution. The command over the weapons of the resistance should leave Hizbullah's hands.
"The second thing is that once we have this defense strategy in place, the Lebanese state must speak with all the countries of the world. By implementing this defense strategy, it would send a positive message to the Arab and non-Arab countries that Lebanon has become a country that is responsible for its decisions, and makes the decision of whether to turn to war or peace. If anyone attacks Lebanon, the state will defend it. It will have the command and will make the decisions. Then you will be able to ask for aid, and establish a decentralized system, or even beyond that. You will be able to ask the world for aid, and build a modern state, paving the way to abolishing political sectarianism.
"I am talking about the [state's] monopoly on the use of weapons. If you fight Israel in the traditional way, you will be defeated for sure. This is true. However, it is inconceivable that one group decides how to defend Lebanon and its south. Next thing, the Lebanese Forces will say they want weapons in case Syria attack them."
Interviewer: "Do you oppose the way of life of the other sects [in Lebanon]?"
Hayek: "Absolutely not. This requires clarification. I do not oppose their way of life. I oppose the attempts to impose things on me, as well as the attempt to impose a certain ideology on me."
Interviewer: "But can they live in the way they wish in the [Christian] areas?"
Hayek: "Of course they can, but what does 'the way they wish' mean? If what they want is to have armed militias, then no, but if they choose to live in a [Christian] area and want to wear a hijab, it is absolutely within their rights.
"The Culture Minister cannot name a hall in the international library after Shireen Abu Akleh, without asking us. She was a Palestinian activist. There are many Palestinians who should come before the Palestinians. My cause is Lebanon, not the Palestinian cause, Yemen, or Idlib. I, for example, do not want to liberate Jerusalem. The Palestinians should liberate it. If they do – bravo, but nobody can force this thing on me. This is the 'way of life' I do not want imposed on me.
"I said that at a certain point in time, the [Lebanese] Christians obtained weapons from Israel, in order to defend themselves. I said that if, once again, we face an annihilation attempt, we will take weapons once again from anyone, including Israel."