Lebanese hate Israel, upset at Nasrallah
Arab newspaper reviews: Lebanon residents openly criticize Hizbullah leader for putting their country at risk. Surprising voices in Beirut call to disarm organization. Iran threatens Israel, brother of Lebanese prisoner in Israel conveys his glee over abducted Israeli soldiers
The Saturday edition of the London-based al-Sharq al-Awsat Arabic-Language newspaper reported of a growing trend of criticism in Beirut.
"I stayed awake all night long, smoking and watching the news. I can't understand life here in Lebanon. Hizbullah should be disarmed," the newspaper's reporter was told by a restaurant owner named Morris in east Beirut.
No passage. Lebanon's Zahrani Bridge (Photo: Reuters)
"I don't believe one party should be making the decision and putting the entire country at risk," said Zina, who took her place in a crowded line in the supermarket, buying necessities and preparing for the unknown.
"I am against Hizbullah but also against the Israeli response. There are millions of citizens in Lebanon and, as usual, our infrastructure is ruined. It seems that Israel's interest is to hurt the Lebanese people. I am very angry," she said.
Tehran threatens. It seems that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's statement that "If Israel attacks Syrian it will get a crushing blow" was not said for nothing. Iranian sources told the Qatar-based newspaper al-Watan that "If Israel dares to attack Syria it will face a front from Tehran all the way to Gaza."
Additionally they said: "There is a clear decision by the leadership and the people of Iran to protect Syria and face any threat it will be facing."
The sources also said that Ahmadinejad told Assad during a phone conversation that "the Zionist-American threat on Damascus has reached a dangerous level, and there is no choice but to respond with a strong message so the aggressors will reconsider whether to launch a preventive attack against Syria."
Economic crisis in Lebanon. During Nasrallah's press conference announcing the abduction of the Israeli solders, a reporter asked him: "Did consider the price the Lebanese economy would pay?"
Nasrallah, surprised, squirmed and gave an answer that could be condensed to one sentence: "Yes, but there are more important things."
Bombed Beirut. Nasrallah an unpopular person (Photo: Reuters)
Lebanese citizens started accumulating gas and propane while an energy official in Lebanon told them that there is enough propane to last one month. He also called on merchants not to engage in price gauging.
The Lebanese energy minister also urged the public not to accumulate gas in order to "not to create an unnecessary crisis." However, government statements are one thing and reality is another.
Tourists started fleeing Lebanon, after the country had experienced the best tourist season in 20 years. The minister of tourism described the damage as "huge".
Leaving Lebanon (Photo: Reuters)
Lebanese airport officials transferred all the airplanes to Amman, Jordan, fearing damage. The tourism industry in Lebanon employs 300,000 people and was expected to collect a record income of USD 5 billion. They could not believe the sights of tourist fleeing the area.
Some 15,000 vehicles (mostly foreign) have left Lebanon by way of Syria after Israel bombarded the Beirut airport. The Syrian border crossing has never had to contend with so many people asking to cross into Syria, and has alleviated some entry procedures.
'Lebanese planes leave airport,' al-Nahar, 15.7.2006
Still happy. The conflict began, among other reasons, as Hizbullah said, to free Samir Kuntar and a Lebanese prisoner held in Israel for murdering the Haran family in Nahariya over 20 years ago.
"Today, every mother feels as if she is mother of Samir Kuntar," said Nasrallah during the press conference that followed the deadly attack on Israel and the abduction of two Israeli solders.
Bassam Kuntar, Samir's brother, praised the attack: "I kiss the hands and foreheads of the people who carried out the act. I can imagine right now Samir Kuntar and his friends filled with happiness," he said.
In an interview he gave to an Israeli-Arab newspaper published in Nazareth he said that his mother and relatives were very happy after hearing the news.
"Clearly we are sorry over all the casualties caused by the enemy's attacks; but we are proud because we know that this is part of the price that our nation has to pay. This is an issue of honor which stresses out people's willingness to sacrifice for the liberation of our land, liberation of our prisoners and defending our air and sea," he said.