While waiting to see what happens up north….
Let us meet one member of the Lebanese Parliament and hear what he has to say about what is going on now — well, part of what he has to say. This is Elias Hankach (pronounced Hankash). He was first elected to Parliament in 2018 and then in 2022, he gained a seat as a member of the Katael party.
Hankach gave an impassioned speech in which he laments that he does not want to see his country go to war. He says that there are those who think the central issue of concern in Lebanon is the Palestinian issue. He rejects that, saying that the central issue of concern in Lebanon is Lebanon, Lebanon, Lebanon. Period.
He got applause for this statement.
— Walid Ghanem ✌️????????✊ (@Walidjghanem) November 10, 2023
He repeats the same message in other speeches and TV interviews.
Does that give us in Israel any comfort? Well, not much. Because his party only got four seats in the last national election. Perhaps it would do better now as the Lebanese see what Hizbollah seems about to bring down on them. But I am not sure about that because they experienced some of that way back in 2006.
Hankach is a member of the Kataeb party, otherwise known by a name you might have heard before — the Phalanges, a right-wing Christian party. Hankach is Maronite, as are all four current party representatives in the Parliament.
The party stands for dismantling all military groups not part of the official Lebanese army. This includes Hizbollah and Palestinian militias operating in the country. It is apparently the only party that is ready to face off against Hizbollah and it opposed the arrangement made before the last elections which allowed Hizbollah to increase its power in the national government. Kataeb, on the other hand, seems to have more support in local elections. That is not surprising since Kataeb also wants to decentralize much in the country, giving localities more power over their own affairs.
While this sounds good for Israel, Kataeb also does not support giving permanent status to so-called Palestinians living in Lebanon, favouring instead their “right of return” to Israel. So, just like in Gaza, the fact that Gazans have turned against Hamas for all the destruction they wrought upon them does not mean that they accept Israel as their neighbour, the fact that Lebanese Christians may want to be rid of Hezbollah (and may even be happy Israel seems on the cusp of attempting just that) does not mean that they will sign the peace treaty with us that they should have signed decades ago.