Gemayel Says System Change Not in Christians Favor, Rejects Hizbullah 'Protection'

Kataeb Party leader Amin Gemayel warned Monday that any attempt to change the political system would not be in the favor of Christians, as he rejected to be “subservient to Hizbullah.”

“It's about time we all thought of the country's interest and resorted to the democratic, parliamentary procedure,” said Gemayel at a seminar titled Liberate the Presidency.

He noted that the presidential vacuum which has been protracting for more than a year now is “premeditated” and that some parties “have a strategic interest in impeding the election of a president.”

“There was a decision to empty the state from its institutions and now there is a decision to vacate the presidency,” Gemayel pointed out, cautioning that “any system change will not be in the favor of Christians.”

Accordingly, he called on the parliamentary blocs boycotting electoral sessions to “declare their real goals.”

The rival political camps have so far failed to elect a successor to Michel Suleiman, whose term ended on May 25, 2014, although around 23 voting sessions have been held. The MPs have not met the two-thirds quorum required to hold an electoral session.

Separately, Gemayel hit back at remarks by Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on the fight against Syria-based extremist groups.

He noted that Hizbullah “made a strategic achievement” through its military advances in Syria's Qalamoun region near Lebanon's border while pointing out that “this achievement is in the favor of certain countries and axes and at the expense of Lebanon and its sovereignty and unity.”

“If the achievement is not Lebanese, it will be destructive for Lebanon,” warned Gemayel.

“I refuse to be a dhimmi under the domination of Daesh (Islamic State) and al-Nusra (Front), but I also refuse to be a dhimmi under Hizbullah's dominion,” said Gemayel, using a historical term referring to non-Muslim citizens of an Islamic state. The word literally means "protected person."

“I also refuse to be protected by anyone other than a strong state and its army and security forces,” Gemayel added.

On Sunday, Nasrallah noted that if the regime and Hizbullah win in Syria, they would “represent the guarantee for all Lebanese,” warning that al-Mustaqbal movement and its leaders would be “the first victims” if the IS and al-Nusra groups take a foothold in Lebanon.

Addressing Lebanon's Christians, Nasrallah asked: “Who will protect your women from enslavement and your churches from destruction?”

“You should fear the victory of Daesh, not the victory of the other camp,” Nasrallah added, addressing Gemayel's March 14 coalition.

But Gemayel stressed Monday that “the protection of Lebanon should not be confined to a certain group without the others.”

“Kataeb and Hizbullah must be one hand in the face of the entire world … but the Sunnis are the ones fighting Sunni fundamentalism in Lebanon more than anyone else, so let no one boast that they are better than others,” Gemayel added.


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