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President Ahmadinejad galvanizes Lebanon's Palestinians

Franklin Lamb | 24.10.2010 08:10 | Anti-militarism | Palestine | Social Struggles | Sheffield | World

Nearly a week now since Ahmadinejad’s departure, the 12 Palestinian camps and two ‘gatherings’, especially among the young people, are still abuzz with often excited discussions of his visit. What President Ahmadinejad brought to the under-30 generation in the Palestinian camps is more hope, energy, and self-confidence.

Lebanese people welcome President Ahmadinejad, 13 October 2010
Lebanese people welcome President Ahmadinejad, 13 October 2010

“The only solution to the Palestinian issue is for the invaders (Israelis) of the occupied Palestinian land to leave, and give the Palestinians their rights and return all the Palestinian refugees to their original land. Iran supports Lebanon’s bitter struggle in confronting Israeli assaults. We demand with all seriousness and insistence the liberation of all occupied land in Lebanon and Syria”. — President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Bint Jbeil October 15, 2010

In the days since Iran’s president Ahmadinejad completed his visit to Lebanon, and given the continuing lively discussion across the local and international political spectrum evaluating the impact of his historic appearance, one thing appears fairly clear. US State Department official Jeffrey Feltman, who came to Beirut quick from Saudi Arabia on orders from the White House to “do something!” to offset the Iranian’s unprecedented reception, may have been a bit wide off the mark in his evaluation. Feltman repeated this past weekend the March 14 pro-US and Saudi prediction that: “I don’t think Ahmadinejad’s visit will have a lasting effect. It’s not something extraordinary. Its impact will remain for a couple days and that’s it.”

One largely unnoticed achievement of the Iranian President’s visit remains among the Palestinian refugee community in Lebanon. Close to a quarter million of whom are “living in cages”, to borrow President Carter’s description during his meeting this week with Hamas leader Khaled Mashall in Damascus of how their sisters and brothers are forced to exist in Gaza.

Apart from the Shia community, the largest number of the approximately 750,000 who waited at various events to greet and hear Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, were Palestinian refugees. It is the Lebanese Shia, living in south Lebanon, in the Bekaa and Dahiyeh, who are the primary beneficiaries of the more than one billion dollars in recent reconstruction aid from Iran.

This infusion of funding contributed to Hezbollah’s increase in political power and its ability to achieve public services in its neighborhoods which were previously ignored by the state. The massive rebuilding projects created pockets of thieving construction economies, mainly in the Hezbollah areas of Ghouberi Municipality, Bir Abed, and Haret Hreik, near the Palestinian refugee camps of Burj al Barajeneh, Mar Elias, and Shatila. This area saw, since the 2006 war, the rebuilding of 235 multi-unit apartment buildings (80% completed as of October 19, in probably the most efficient building project of its kind in history according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development).

The Iranian largess has quietly benefited thousands of Palestinians in these areas, even though they are forbidden by law to travel to south Lebanon to visit or work and must remain north of the Litani River on penalty of arrest and imprisonment.

During an October 18 morning tour of nearly completed Waad (Promise) residential buildings, bombed into smoldering mountains of rubble during the 2006 war, this observer interviewed several Palestinian laborers and craftsmen working side by side with equally skilled and hard-working Syrian workers. What was learned is what Hezbollah officials have revealed, regarding Waad and Jihad al Bina (Struggle Construction Company), both now firmly on US Terrorism lists solely for political reasons. Both organizations have discretely hired, in addition to laborers, hundreds of Palestinian engineers, craftsmen, architects, and “syndicate professionals.” These job offerings go to Palestinian refugees despite being forbidden to them by Lebanese laws enacted by a government that does not even pretend to comply with internationally mandated civil rights for refugees.

Nearly a week now since Ahmadinejad’s departure, the 12 Palestinian camps and two ‘gatherings’, especially among the young people, are still abuzz with often excited discussions of his visit.

This reaction, despite much that is being erroneously reported these days about the current “lost” generation of Palestinians in Lebanon resulting, so it is said, from the devastation that beset this community following the August 1982 departure of the Palestine Liberation Organization. These are legitimate concerns with sociological studies on the subject often presenting shocking indices of social decline, ennui, passivity, and hopelessness. It is well known that Lebanon’s camps have deteriorated and that the quality of life continues to disintegrate. But the young people still appear resolved to follow the spirit of their elders who founded the Palestinian Liberation Organization. Discussions among many in the camps here inevitably turn to questions of “What went wrong?”, “How can we fulfill our parents dreams and take up the mantle of Liberation and Return that we heard from our elders?”, “How can we unite Hamas and Fatah?”, and “How to confront the expanding apartheid regime in Palestine?”

What President Ahmadinejad brought to the under-30 generation in the Palestinian camps is more hope, energy, and self-confidence.

Lacking unified leadership of their own, many Palestinians in Lebanon have been looking to Hezbollah and Iran as a model to revive the Palestinian liberation movement. The veteran American journalist Jonathan Randel, in Lebanon this week finishing a book on Palestinians in Lebanon, suggests that Hezbollah’s 1985 removal of Israeli occupation forces from one-third of Lebanon’s southern villages was likely one of the factors that gave those under occupation in Palestine confidence to achieve the first intifada, 1987-93.

Iran’s President easily connects with young people and is unquestionably committed to the full refugees’ right of return to their country. In a side meeting with representatives of the refugee camps community and some of their allies, Iran’s President could not have been more emphatic and clear about this. Included in his counsel to young Palestinians during his visit were the following:

* “Stay in school and help care for all members of your family. It is you who will join the villagers of south Lebanon and liberate Palestine. People like you make revolutions.”

* “Do not become discouraged by what might appear to be a bleak period in occupied Palestine and in Lebanon’s camps. Ignore those who say the Palestinian revolution belongs to the past.”

* “Palestine will be liberated. It is a scientific certainly that this criminal occupation will end and that all Palestinian refugees in Lebanon will be able to go back to their ancestral lands.”

* “The splintering of the Palestinian body politic has been caused largely from external forces but increasingly with internal dimensions that must be resisted.”

* “It is the duty of the international community to help you secure basic rights in Lebanon until your certain return to Palestine. Iran is prepared to fulfill its duty in this regard.”

* “Lebanon is the focus point of the resistance and standing against occupiers and oppressors and is playing an excellent role.”

* “Your return to Palestine may happen sooner than you think, and is only a matter of time, and perhaps the coming war will achieve this.”

Mohammad, a young Palestinian dentist allowed only to practice inside Shatila Camp due to Lebanon’s discriminatory labor laws explained: “President Ahmadinejad has been a hero to many of us here in the camps since he first became President of Iran. Unlike most Arab leaders, he is committed to the liberation of Palestine as if he were himself a Palestinian. He encourages us and speaks like our leaders used to speak before they seem to have given up our national struggle. If fact, he is more Palestinian than many Palestinians I know. We trust him and feel we have someone to support and protect us. Like Hassan Nassrallah, he has bolstered our confidence to struggle to return to Palestine. Both of these great men are like uncles to the Palestinian generation now becoming adults.”

Franklin Lamb
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President Sleiman: Lebanon appreciates Iran's support after the 2006 Israeli war

24.10.2010 08:57

map of locations bombed by Israel during its war on Lebanon, 12-24 July 2006
map of locations bombed by Israel during its war on Lebanon, 12-24 July 2006

“Lebanon appreciates Iranian support in the confrontation with Israeli aggression, particularly after the July 2006 war which enabled Lebanon to withstand the enemy,” President Michel Sleiman told his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in remarks delivered at a televised lunch in Baabda Palace on Wednesday afternoon.

“That was by virtue of [Lebanon’s] army, people, and Resistance and its abilities, which the Lebanese state works to strengthen and place within a comprehensive defensive strategy,” Sleiman said.

He indicated that while Lebanon strives to compel Israel to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1701, “it reserves its right to retrieve and liberate its territories through all permissible and legitimate ways.” Having said this, we remain extremely cautious toward Israel’s attempts to sow division in Lebanon and divide its people, Sleiman said.

Sleiman said that he was pleased to expand bilateral cooperation, citing a “large group of agreements” he has signed with the Iranian leader.

Ahmadinejad hailed the “deep-rooted historical relations of friendliness between Iran and Lebanon,” particularly the cultural exchange carried by religious scholars traveling between the two countries.

“I present abundant thanks to the president, the speaker, and the prime minister, and to all those who carry the burden of service for the Lebanese people. Likewise, I thank here all those present for their attendance and also their attentiveness,” Ahmadinejad said.

Large crowd of politicians from March 14 alliance and opposition officials were attending the lunch in Baabda.

Before lunch, President Sleiman held with his Iranian counterpart a joint press conference in which they announced the signing of bilateral memoranda of understanding, including in the economic, trade, environmental and energy fields.

Sleiman thanked Ahmadinejad for Iran’s continuous support of Lebanon against Israeli aggression. “I assured Ahmadinejad that Lebanon is keen to oblige Israel on implementing UN Security Council resolutions,” Sleiman said. He stressed on the necessity of preserving national unity and fully implementing UN [Security Council] Resolution 1701.

“We also discussed international terrorism and how to differentiate it from the Resistance,” Sleiman said.

On the nuclear program, the Lebanese president said: We stress on the right of states, including Iran, to acquire nuclear energy and use it for peaceful purposes.

The Iranian president thanked Lebanese officials and its people for hospitality. “I feel like I am in my home and country,” Ahmadinejad said adding that Lebanon’s ability to be resilient deserves flattering since it brought pride to the countries of the Middle East.

Ahmadinejad said the talks with Sleiman were “constructive” praising him for being a “strong and firm man”. “I assured him that bilateral cooperation has no limits. We signed many agreements on different levels,” he announced.

“We support Lebanon’s bitter struggle in confronting Israeli assaults. We demand with all seriousness and insistence the liberation of all occupied land in Lebanon and Syria,” Ahmadinejad said. “We demand a united and strong Lebanon and we stand by the government and people so this people may achieve all its goals,” he added.

Ahmadinejad also thanked Speaker Nabih Berri, who received him in the airport, and Prime Minister Saad Hariri, “because he is working for the interest of his country.”

At the end of the conference Ahmadinejad surprised Sleiman with an Iranian-made gift that only six states own it, Lebanon is the seventh. This device would help Lebanon with its scientific research efforts.

Al Manar
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Europe compared to the middle east

24.10.2010 09:30

After the 2nd World War millions of people were displaced in Europe.

Millions of hungry people had lost homes, moved across borders.

But eventually all settled down, often in new homes, they got citizenship of the countries they settled down in. Thus for example Poles ended up in England, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden etc etc etc. And the same for many other nationalities for countries taken over, shrunk by war or occupation.

These Europeans didn't live in refugee camps for 60 plus years. There are not millions of Europeans now living in camps.

Therefore I have to ask why are the Palestinians, a much smaller number of people, still living in refugee camps 60 years later?

What is going on? It's not only Izrael's fault. It must be that the countries the refugees now live in refuse to give the palestinians citizenship. After all no-one chooses, freely, to live in a camp for 60 years.

Is there something wrong with the muslim mindset that refuses to allow the Palestinians to be citizens of the countries they live in? Are the Palestinians being used as pawns in a ghastly strategic game between the Izraelis and muslim countries?

What is the explanation for all these people still living in camps 60 years later?


Jewish exodus from Arab countries from 1948 on greater scale

24.10.2010 10:25

It is estimated that 800,000 to 1,000,000 Jews were forced from their homes or fled the Arab countries from 1948 until the early 1970s; 260,000 reached Israel between 1948–1951, and 600,000 by 1972.[2][3][4] The Jews of Egypt and Libya were expelled while those of Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and North Africa left as a result of physical and political insecurity. Almost all were forced to abandon their property.[3] By 2002 these Jews and their descendants constituted about 40% of Israel's population.[4] One of the main representative bodies of this group, the World Organization of Jews from Arab Countries, (WOJAC) estimates that Jewish property abandoned in Arab countries would be valued today at more than $300 billion[5][6] and Jewish-owned real-estate left behind in Arab lands at 100,000 square kilometers (four times the size of the state of Israel).[2][6] The organization asserts that a major cause of the Jewish exodus was a deliberate policy decision taken by the Arab League.[7]

Nabka watch
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Poll: 80% of Lebanese approve Iran’s aid to the Lebanese Army

24.10.2010 13:12

Hezbollah supporters in Beirut celebrate Ahmadinejad's visit, 13 October 2010
Hezbollah supporters in Beirut celebrate Ahmadinejad's visit, 13 October 2010

A poll conducted by the Beirut Center for Research and Information revealed that a majority of Lebanese favored the historical visit made to the country by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as well as Iran’s initiative to provide the Lebanese Army with advanced weapons.

The poll showed that 70% of the Lebanese people were affected in a positive way with President Ahmadinejad's performance in Lebanon. The same poll revealed that 68% of the Lebanese believe that Ahmadinejad's visit played a role in decreasing possibilities of sectarian incitements in their country.

The poll, which was conducted between the 19th and the 21st of October, included a sample of 800 people.

According to the results, 58% of Lebanese considered that the Iranian projects and plans in Lebanon do not come in discord with the Lebanese interests. In this context, 80% of the Lebanese approve Iran's proposed aid to the Lebanese army, whereas 86% believe that the US and French stances against Ahmadinejad's visit, represent interference in the Lebanese internal affairs.

Al Manar
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Ahmadinejad is a fascist

24.10.2010 14:48

It's certainly come to something when a fascist such as Ahmadinejad is given key billing on an anarchist site and lauded by contributors.

God, the terrible state of the british left that is, seemingly, without a moral compass anymore. Can you imagine someone like Mussolini or Franco being give prominence on such a site in earlier times?? No, of course not.

This is a man who is president of a theological fascist state that murders dissenters, rapes boys and girls in prison, that tortures boys, girls, men and women in prison, that rapes young teenage virgin girls in prison in order that they may be executed cos virgins cannot be executed. This a regime that fixed the most recent election and has shot dead and arrested (then tortured, raped) the demonstrators. This is a regime that brutally persecutes its own people, forbids free thought, suppresses the press, has death squads that murders dissenters with impunity.

And bloggers who set up web sites like this one in Iran are arrested and held without trial.

And don't give me of this relativistic shite about the USA executing people as well! The US executes criminals on charges of murder (much as I disapprove of the death penalty) whereas the iranian fascist state executes people for having sex - teenage gays executed for having sex, woman who have affairs are stoned to death. People who leave the religion of islam are executed.

To have this monstrous man Ahmadinejad and his monstrous regime on here and not instantly deleted is just ghastly. What are the Indymedia mods thinking of???

And no, I am not jewish (what would it matter if I were!) but I am gay and this hideous regime has been hauled up by Amnesty on numerous occasions for its monstrous crimes against human rights.

Read and weep.

I am weeping for the decline of the british left and anarchist left.



24.10.2010 17:54

Why do you love Israel and hate all Muslims, you racist fascist Zionist? perhaps you should tell your Zionist masters (who secretly control the media and the government) that people aren't buying their lies anymore!! Hasta la victoria siempre!


Incubator babies, “stonings” & Amnesty International’s dirty propaganda war

24.10.2010 18:02

Amnesty International's report on Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, 28 September 2010
Amnesty International's report on Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, 28 September 2010

Incubator babies, “stonings” & Amnesty International’s dirty propaganda war

by Aion Essence, 25 September 2010

Aion Essence

SI - Solidarity with Iran! Appeal

24.10.2010 18:10


SI - Solidarity with Iran! Appeal

A project of House of Latin America - Iran

Please Circulate Widely

On the invitation of an Iranian non-governmental organization dedicated to the building of solidarity with the people of Latin America and in response to increasing threats and continuing sanctions on Iran by the United States, delegates from international solidarity, anti-war and women's organizations, including the International Action Center, met in Iran to coordinate efforts to defend the people of Iran in this urgent hour.

As a result of that meeting, House of Latin America (HOLA), an Iranian NGO, has initiated the following Appeal.

Please SIGN ON to the SI - Solidarity with Iran Appeal now at

Send emails to President Obama, Vice President Biden, Secretary of State Clinton, U.N. Secretary-General Ban, Congressional leaders and the media with your signed "SI - Solidarity with Iran" Appeal demanding

* Lift the Sanctions!
* Recognize Iran's Right to Peaceful Nuclear Power!
* Stop the Military Threats!

Text of the appeal:

To: President Obama, Vice President Biden, Secretary of State Clinton
cc: U.N. Secretary-General Ban, Congressional leaders and members of the media

I hereby add my voice and sign on to the following international appeal:

Whereas, the escalating sanctions and threats of military intervention against Iran are intended to deprive the Iranian people of their internationally recognized right to live as an independent and free nation;

Whereas, the sanctions and threats are clear violations of Article 2 of the UN Charter, according to which member states must "refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state";

Whereas, the United States is unequivocally obligated under the bilateral 1981 Algiers Treaty to refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of Iran;

Whereas. sanctions often pave the way to war;

Whereas, Iran, as a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, has an "inalienable right" to develop and use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes;

Whereas, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency, there is no evidence to back up the charge that Iran is "planning to produce nuclear weapons";

Whereas, the hegemonic lobbies that portray Iran as a threat to peace today also lied about imaginary weapons of mass destruction in Iraq to convince the public that war was necessary;

The people of the world cannot allow such a crime against humanity.

Therefore, I join with all who stand for justice, peace, sovereignty and self determination in raising my voice to demand:

- Lift economic sanctions against Iran.

- Recognize the right of Iran to develop and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

- Stop military threats against Iran.

SI - Solidarity with Iran!

(your signature here)

Please SIGN ON to the SI - Solidarity with Iran Appeal now at

International Action Center
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The Iranian People and the elected President are Welcomed by a Million People.

25.10.2010 07:20

It amazes me that the president of Iran, which has not wared against any other peoples for over two centuries is blamed for the reconstuction policy of the Lebanese people. The U.S. Imperialists are supplying the Israeli Zionists with the most sophisticated weapons of mass destruction which have cost the people of Lebanon much harm. The Iranians are not to be blamed for wishing the Lebanese well. That is something that neighboring countries should do. In fact it is the war mongers of the U.S.--Israeli alliance that are harming the Holyland and the countries that constitute the middle-east. The worlds people know the truth of the terrible deeds of Imperialist aggression in the area. It is not the Lebonese that attacked the U.S. or Israel but the U.S. and Israeli Imperialists that attacked the Lebonese people.

It is to be set for liberation that aggressive war is ended as a nations foreign policy in the anti-fascist covenants during and after the second world war, and that was set in motion by the anti-fascist front and continued by the countries that oppose aggressive war as foreign policy. Viva socialist liberation. End pollution wars, not endless wars of more and more aggression.

Hans B.

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