Lebanese journalist Tony Abi Najem, who publishes the "IMLebanon" website, said in a May 25, 2022 show on MTV (Lebanon) that he is not celebrating Liberation Day, a Lebanese national holiday marking the May 25, 2000 withdrawal of Israeli forces from Southern Lebanon. He explained that if it were truly a Lebanese holiday, then April 26 would also be celebrated as the day that Syrian forces withdrew from Lebanon in 2005. He elaborated that the Syrian military presence in Lebanon was worse than Israel's, that the Syrians murdered and bombed the Lebanese people, and that hundreds of millions of dollars were and continue to flow out of Lebanon into Syria. In contrast, he said that Lebanese civilians were permitted to work in Israel during its occupation of Southern Lebanon.
Interviewer: "First of all, I would like to congratulate you and the viewers on Resistance and Liberation Day. Are you celebrating today?"
Tony Abi Najem: "I am not."
Interviewer: "But this is a Lebanese national holiday [marking Israel’s withdrawal from Southern Lebanon]..."
Abi Najem: "Unfortunately, this is a national holiday, but in order for it to be a real Lebanese holiday, April 26 should also be celebrated. This would make it an official holiday."
Interviewer: "You mean the anniversary of the withdrawal of the Syrian army..."
Abi Najem: "Absolutely. The anniversary for the withdrawal of the Syrian occupation army. Either we treat every occupation army..."
Interviewer: "The Syrian army was the same as the Israeli army?"
Abi Najem: "Worse. Even Economically..."
Interviewer: "But as a country, we have no enmity with Syria, whereas with Israel, we are in a state of hostility."
Abi Najem: "As the Lebanese people, we are in a state of hostility with the Syrian regime that killed us, murdered us, and bombed us. Let me give you a small example. During the Syrian occupation of Lebanon, every year Lebanon would lose hundreds of millions of dollars that would flow from Lebanon to Syria. This continues to this day. The Central Bank of Lebanon has behaved as if it is the bank of Lebanon and Syria. Dollars have been taken from Lebanon to Syria. On the other hand, when Israel was occupying..."
Interviewer: "Who is responsible for this? Syria or the Lebanese?"
Abi Najem: "Obviously the Syrian regime that forced its people on us. On the other hand, when there was an Israeli occupation in Southern Lebanon, the Lebanese people living there would go into Israel, work there, and bring the dollars back into Lebanon. So even from this economic aspect, the Israeli occupation was better for the Lebanese [than the Syrian occupation]."