Lebanese MP Camille Chamoun, the President of the National Liberal Party, said in a May 10, 2023 interview on OTV (Lebanon) that the Lebanese people are a peaceful people and do not want to have enemies any longer. He said that if the Lebanese government were to collect Hizbullah's weapons, a "large portion" of Lebanon's problems would be resolved and Lebanon could become a neutral country that would attract tourists. Chamoun also said that it is not in Lebanon's interests to fight Israel because Israel is much more advanced technologically and militarily, and he said that the Lebanese government are a "bunch of idiots" for failing to recognize Israel. In a May 15, 2023 interview with Voice of Lebanon, Chamoun said that he wants to build Lebanon while Hizbullah wants to destroy it. He also said that if things continue the way they are, then Lebanon is headed towards partition. In addition, he accused Hizbullah of leading Lebanese Shi'ites "like sheep."
Camille Chamoun: "We do not want to have enemies anymore. Enough. The Lebanese are peaceful people. We are merchants, builders, creators, artists. The Lebanese have been successful wherever... How many Lebanese, of all sects, have emigrated?
"We want to collect everybody's weapons. Only the army and the state should have weapons. This will resolve a large portion of the problem."
Interviewer: "So if Hizbullah hands over its weapons, we will become a neutral state?"
Chamoun: "Absolutely. We do not want to fight anyone."
Interviewer: "And if they fight us?"
Chamoun: "Nobody will fight us."
Interviewer: "Can you guarantee that if Hizbullah hands over its weapons, nobody will fight us?"
Chamoun: "Nobody cares about us. On the contrary, they all want to come here and spend money. They want to see this country that should become a diamond once again. We Lebanese must make it a diamond again, so that tourists will stand in line at airports to come visit here. Who would come here under the current circumstances? The streets are full of garbage, the sea is polluted, we do not have proper roads... Our reputation has become one of smugglers, thieves, and plunderers.
"Israel exists, and it is internationally recognized. It has weapons and technology that we Arabs can only dream of having in 100 years. Israel is a very dangerous neighbor that can destroy Lebanon and burn it to the ground. It is not in our interest to fight such a powerful country today, because we will be the ones paying the price.
"Therefore, if we do not want to sign a peace treaty with Israel – like many Arab countries did – we can still maintain a nonhostile relationship, which is manifest in the neutrality we talked about.
Interviewer: "But Lebanon, as a state, does not recognize Israel."
Chamoun: "The Lebanese government is a bunch of idiots, otherwise they would not have brought he country to where it is now.
"I want to build this country, and [Hizbullah] wants to destroy it. They continue to destroy it."
Interviewer: "They also say they want to build it. 'Building and defending' is their slogan."
Chamoun: "These are just words. The reality is that they destroyed Lebanon more than Israel has since 1948.
"If things continue this way, we are heading towards partition."
Chamoun: "Yes, we are headed towards partition – not a federal state or decentralization. If they continue this way, partition is better.
"There was a time when we were proud of our Lebanese identity. When you would travel and arrive somewhere with your Lebanese passport, you would receive a VIP welcome at every airport. What reputation do we have today? Of Captagon smugglers and terrorists who blow up embassies. What is our reputation worth today? Zero. Why? Because a sect of the Lebanese are being led like sheep."
Interviewer: "The Shi'ites are being led like sheep?"
Chamoun: "Yes, unfortunately."