Following are excerpts from an interview with the Mufti of Mt. Lebanon, Muhammad Al-Jozo, which aired on Al-Arabiya TV on November 17, 2006.
Muhammad Al-Jozo: The operation carried out by Hizbullah was not agreed upon. They did not consult with anybody. This is not a normal thing to do. We are all in the same boat. We live in a country with several sects and several parties. Everybody must participate in such a decision. It is unacceptable for Hizbullah to make such a decision on its own.
Interviewer: Sheik Muhammad, you recently declared: "What victory? It is merely the firing of 5,000 missiles at Israel, without liberating a single inch of land." Are you saying that the declared goal of the July war was the liberation of occupied Lebanese land?
Muhammad Al-Jozo: First of all, I would like to say: Victory means either the liberation of occupied land or the occupation of enemy land. This did not happen. We defended our land with courage and steadfastness. True, the entire Lebanese people was steadfast in the face of the Israeli attack, but to say this was a divine victory is to blow it out of proportion.
How many of the enemy's people were killed, and what price did we, in Lebanon, pay? Lebanon was destroyed, the South was destroyed, the southern suburb of Beirut was destroyed, the bridges were destroyed, the airports were destroyed... Now we cannot... When we want to drive along a road, we face many difficulties in crossing the bridges that were attacked. So Lebanon is suffering a tragedy, in the full sense of the word. There are some 1,200 dead, a million wounded, and a million refugees, there is an economic crisis, there are heavy losses. All this happened because of this measure [by Hizbullah], which was not properly thought out.
I'm against the disarmament of anyone who conducts resistance against Israel, on condition that those who bear these arms these weapons maintain the proper moral behavior of victors, rather than using these weapons as a domestic threat. I support keeping these weapons if they are used only for resistance against Israel. But if these weapons become a domestic threat, and if Hizbullah imposes upon me whatever it wants, while disregarding everybody else - this is unacceptable, this is a dictatorship.