Nassar family asks for information about fate of their sons in jail


The family of Palestinian prisoners Ahmed and Mahmoud Nassar has expressed concern over the lives of its sons after jailers took them to an unknown place following the stabbing attack in the Negev jail.

Mohamed Nassar, the brother of the two prisoners, appealed on Thursday to the Red Cross and human rights groups to swiftly intervene to know the fate and whereabouts of his brothers, who were in the same cell in the Negev jail.

Nassar said that the family was trying hard to obtain any information about his brothers after one of them injured a prison officer in his face with a blade.

He added that his brother Ahmed, who attacked the officer, had spent 14 months of his two-year prison term and Mahmoud finished four years of his six-year prison term.

Prisoner Ahmed Nassar, from Madama village in Nablus, was able on Wednesday to stab an Israeli officer in the Negev jail in response to the jailers’ oppressive practices against the detainees.

(Source / 03.02.2017)

How Tunisia’s young entrepreneurs are hoping to boost the economy

Young Tunisians work at the co-working space Startup Haus in Tunis, Tunisia. Posted Dec. 19, 2016

Two dozen casually dressed entrepreneurs were gathered around a Scandinavian-style wooden table, eating glazed pastries and pouring each other cups of coffee. They introduced themselves — web designer, graphic designer, gamer — in a mix of French, Arabic and English. With its sleek blond wood floors and rustic pallet sofas, we could have been at a hip cafe in Brooklyn or Berlin. But this is Startup Haus, a co-working space in downtown Tunis, just a stone’s throw from the city’s busiest intersection.

Startup Haus, which opened in March 2016, is one of six co-working spaces that have popped up in Tunisia since the 2011 revolution. Last year, Cogite, which opened in 2013 as the country’s first co-working space, was ranked in Forbes’ Top 10 co-working spaces worldwide. The annual Co-Working Summit for entrepreneurs in the Middle East and North Africa region was hosted in Tunisia in 2015 and 2016. Long overshadowed by the entrepreneurial ecosystems in the Gulf states, Egypt and Jordan, Tunisia’s co-working spaces and entrepreneurs seem to be having a moment.

“Since 2011, you can say there’s been a boom,” Miriam, the manager at Startup Haus, told Al-Monitor during a recent visit.

Although the legal framework pertaining to startups has not been updated since the country’s startup minister, Noomane Fehri, was booted from his post and financial lending from national banks is still difficult to procure, Tunisia’s entrepreneurship sector has been on the rise.

Foreign interest — from financing to sharing soft skills — has helped boost the market. Hivos International, a Dutch organization, opened a Tunisian office focusing on promoting youth entrepreneurship. Startup Haus is supported by two German organizations, Impact Tunisie and Westerwelle Foundation.

But the most promising aspect are the Tunisians themselves.

“As a young Tunisian after the revolution, it is as if we have a breath of fresh air. I really believe in entrepreneurship to create jobs,” said Khouloud Talhaoui, a 27-year-old business developer with Iris Technologies, which rents an office space at Startup Haus. The start-up helps apiculturists manage their beehives with new technology. Talhaoui admits that the spirit of entrepreneurship is “still in its infancy,” but attention is increasing.”

On the ground floor, Startup Haus has three enclosed offices for established businesses; they are all currently in use. Responding to demand, the Haus has plans to create several more offices this year. Around 25 individuals use the mezzanine, which is for people who are in the initial phases of project creation. Other co-working spaces, like Cogite, have several hundred entrepreneurs and digital nomads filtering in and out of the space each day.

Tunisia has a surplus of educated youth, many of whom are unable to get traditional jobs. Unemployment currently hovers around 15.5% across the country, with youth unemployment reaching up to 42%. Co-working spaces normalize entrepreneurship, provide a flexible and cheaper option than an office, and most importantly, provide a community of like-minded, supportive individuals.

“I love working with others in a space where everyone helps each other,” Housem Zouaghi, a 25-year-old computer scientist and multimedia engineer told Al-Monitor. Zouaghi studied in Canada before returning to Tunisia to create his gaming startup, which has now branched out into advertising and web design. Zouaghi started with two employees; in five months, he’s hired six more people.

Like other co-working spaces, Startup Haus offers workshops, training sessions, skill shares and speakers. Last month, an Egyptian marketing expert gave a lecture on trends in digital marketing. Cogite hosted a Global Entrepreneurship Week in November, with classes on education and women’s empowerment. Creativa, a co-working space in the northern suburb of La Marsa, has organized feng shui sessions.

Many events are free and open to the public, and the spaces themselves are imbued with a positive, can-do attitude. Though most co-working spaces are concentrated in Tunis, the country’s capital, two new spaces opened in Sousse and the southern island of Djerba.

“We have the youth, the hope and even the financial support,” Talhaoui said. Co-working spaces are helping to create a more favorable climate for entrepreneurs, and the future looks bright.

“I don’t have any reason to leave,” said Zouaghi with a smile.

(Source / 03.02.2017)

British panel asks Europe to deal with Hamas as political party


The British organization Forward Thinking affirmed on Friday that putting the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, on the European list of terrorist organizations constitutes an impediment to development, relief, reconstruction in Gaza, and reconciliation among the Palestinian factions.

This came during a symposium in the British Parliament which discussed the report prepared by the organization. The report is the outcome of a workshop held in Paris in 2016 about the humanitarian needs in Palestine, especially in Gaza, and how to help meet them as well as the role of western politicians in ending the Palestinians’ suffering which is partially caused by the internal division.

The report stressed that the European governments must accept Hamas’s existence in the Palestinian political system because this “will achieve favorable conditions to solve the existing problems.” It added that Europe should push the PA president, Mahmoud Abbas, toward reconciliation by removing Hamas from the list of terrorism and supporting the Palestinian elections regardless of their results.

The symposium was attended by a group of British parliamentarians and politicians and a group of large charities that have relief and development projects in Palestine in general and Gaza in particular as well as representatives of the embassies of Jordan and Tunisia, activists and other interested parties.

It also witnessed the participation of Palestinian figures of various Palestinian factions, official representatives of a number of European countries and their consulates in Jerusalem, and the French official in charge of the French government’s initiative which led to convening the Paris conference in 2016.

(Source / 03.02.2017)

B’Tselem: Israel uproots 1,000 trees to grab more Palestinian land


On Sunday, 15 January 2017, the Israeli occupation forces began uprooting olive trees and leveling land near the Palestinian villages of ‘Azzun and a-Nabi Elyas in Qalqilya, B’Tselem watchdog reported Wednesday.

According to B’Tselem, the work is being carried out as part of the decision made by the military and the Civil Administration to build a bypass road to replace the section of Route 55 that runs through a-Nabi Elyas.

Route 55 originally served as the main link between Nablus and Qalqilya and was one of the major traffic arteries in the West Bank. Over time, as settlements expanded, it also became essential to settlers, as it connects several large settlements with Israel’s coastal plains and central region, the same source added.

The decision to build the bypass road was first made in 1989, with the goal of sparing settlers the need to drive through the village of a-Nabi Elyas. However, it was not pursued until September 2013, when the Civil Administration planning institutions began the planning process.

In October 2015, the project was expedited due to pressure by the settler leadership: According to Israeli media reports , Prime Minister Netanyahu promised the heads of the settlement local councils that the road would be built.”

On 21 December 2015, the head of the Civil Administration issued an expropriation order for 10.4 hectares of land earmarked for the bypass road. The order noted that the new road will “serve the public good” and improve mobility between Nablus and Qalqilya.

In March 2016, the Palestinian village councils and landowners petitioned Israel’s High Court of Justice (HCJ) against the expropriation, on the grounds that the road will not serve all residents of the area but only settlers. On 16 November 2016, the HCJ denied the petition after accepting the state’s claim that the road is intended to serve the entire population of the area.

B’Tselem said the seizure of the land and uprooting of olive trees have severely harmed the Palestinian landowners, who have lost a source of income and a major financial asset, as well as an open space that served all local residents for leisure and recreational activities.

“While Israel professes to act for the benefit of the occupied population, its policies routinely ignore this population’s needs,” the report read. “These facts, when taken together with false statements about seizing Palestinian land “for the public good” and pressure from the settler lobby, attest yet again to Israel’s policy and aims.”

(Source / 03.02.2017)

Child Killed in Hama & Bakery Destroyed in Idlib by Regime Airstrikes

In yet a new violation of the ceasefire agreement, airstrikes by regime forces destroyed a bakery in Idlib city and killed a child in southern Rural Hama on Friday.

Activists in Idlib said that the Assad regime jets carried out four airstrikes on the city earlier on Friday. One of the airstrikes directly hit the Thura bakery, while the others targeted residential areas. At least 10 civilians, including women and children, were injured. Rescue workers rushed the injured to field hospitals in the city.

The Thura bakery, the largest in Idlib, has previously been targeted by regime airstrikes and put out of service.

Meanwhile, a child was killed and others wounded in regime airstrikes on the village of Aqrab in southern rural Hama. Civilian casualties were reported in similar attacks on the towns of Kafar Laha and Taldo in northern rural Homs on Friday.

In rural Damascus, regime forces shelled the besieged towns of Madaya and Baqqin with heavy artillery on Thursday, killing one civilian and injuring many others.

Member of the medical staff in Madaya and Baqqin Ghaith Issa said that the towns have been lately subjected to escalating bombardment by regime forces and the Hezbollah militias.

Doctors had to treat the injured under the lights of cell phones inside underequipped basements, Issa said. He added that regime’s snipers targeted paramedics while they werer trying to rescue the injured.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Office + Baladi News Network / 03.02.2017)

EU: We will not pay the salaries of PA employees in Gaza

Image of Palestinian workers waiting in line to receive their pay check at the post office [Apaimages]

Image of Palestinian workers waiting in line to receive their pay check at the post office

An official at the European Commission in occupied Jerusalem announced that the EU has adopted a new financial support policy regarding the Gaza Strip in 2017, in coordination with the Palestinian Authority (PA), but that it would no longer pay the salaries of PA employees in Gaza which is under Hamas control.

Chinese news agency, Xinhua, quoted the Communication and Information Officer at the European Commission in occupied Jerusalem, Shadi Othman, saying that the new policy involves the cessation of European funding being used to pay the salaries of PA employees in Gaza.

Othman explain that, instead, European funding for the Gaza Strip, amounting to 30 million euros, will be used to support poor families and projects related to economic development.

He added that 20 million euros will be transferred for the payment of social allowances to Palestinian families living in poverty in Gaza, which is issued by the PA’s Social Development Ministry.

The rest of the amount, 10 million euros, will be allocated to economic development and infrastructure projects in the Gaza Strip in order to create work opportunities, and will be coordinated in cooperation with the PA, according to Othman.

Othman also noted that the EU’s support for paying the salaries of PA employees in the West Bank would continue in the same manner this year. These salaries are focused in the education and health sectors.

He stated that the new policy was adopted by the EU in the context of its usual annual assessment of the priorities of financial support, which is discussed with the PA.

The EU allocates 300 million euros annually to the Palestinians, divided into 200 million euros for PA employee salaries and the support of economic projects, and 100 million euros to support work of the UN’s refugee agency, the UNRWA.

(Source / 03.02.2017)

3 Palestinians prosecuted in Israeli court for ‘assaulting’ Israeli prison officials


RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — A court session held on Friday in the Israeli magistrate court in Beer Sheba prosecuted three Palestinian prisoners accused of assaulting two Israeli prison officials during Israeli raids in Nafha and Ktziot prisons.

According to Yousif Nanasra, a lawyer for the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs, the Israeli court prosecuted Palestinian prisoners Khalid al-Silawi and brothers Ahmad Nasser and Mahmoud Nasser.
Nanasra said in a statement that al-Silawi, from the besieged Gaza Strip and sentenced to 18 years in Israeli prison, allegedly stabbed an Israeli prison officer on Wednesday with a sharp tool in Nafha prison in response to Messada officers, the “takeover” unit of the Israel Prison Service (IPS) “violently raiding” section 1 of the prison and reportedly destroying their personal belongings.
Al-Silawi told Nasasra that at least 15 Israeli prison officials of the Messada unit assaulted him, leaving bruises on his body and fractions in his chest.
Al-Silawi also noted that IPS officials did not provide medical care, despite his condition.
Israeli news sites reported at the time of the alleged stabbing that a Palestinian prisoner affiliated with the Hamas movement “attacked an Israeli prison warden with a sharp tool,” causing the warden to suffer from a light injury.
Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs head Issa Qaraqe said in a statement that immediately following the incident, IPS officials began conducting punitive procedures “humiliating Palestinian prisoners.”Qaraqe said IPS officials conducted an “unprecedented raid” in Section 1 of Nafha, forcing the Palestinian prisoners to fully undress, leading them outside of the section “while naked in the cold weather, also searching and destroying their personal belongings and cutting the electricity off.”
Qaraqe called the situation at the time in Nafha “unbearable,” and said that the stabbing was a Palestinian prisoner “reacting to these [common] procedures and trying to defend himself.”
Meanwhile, Palestinian prisoners Ahmad Nasser, from the village of Madama in Nablus and held in Israel’s Ktziot prison for a two year prison sentence, told Nanasra that at least 30 Israeli prison officials raided section 30 of the prison, and asaulted him without any clear reason.
He added that they had beaten him on his head, causing him to faint. According to Ahmad, IPS officials also intially refused him medical care until he was taken to Soroka hospital in Beer Sheba.
Ahmad emphasized that Israeli forces treated him “very badly” and also reported being assaulted by Israeli forces while en route to the hospital.
Ahmad’s brother, Mahmoud Nasser, sentenced to five years in prison and also currently held in Ktziot prison, told Nanasra that Israeli forces had raided section 16 and fired sound bombs and used pepper spray on the prisoners.
He added that he was also assaulted by some 30 Israeli prison officers.
Mahmoud said that he was “forced to hit” one of the prison officers with a razor blade in response to the violent raids.
He added that he was still suffering from the assault, which he said caused several parts of his body to swell, and noted that another Palestinian prisoner Saleh Attah from Ramallah was also assaulted and suffered from fractions in his hand and an injury on his face. Mahmoud said Attah was also left without any medical treatment.
IPS officials stepped up punitive measures against Palestinian prisoners in the Ktziot detention centeron Thursday, after reports said that a Palestinian prisoner allegedly attacked an Israeli warden with a razor blade.Qaraqe told Ma’an at the time that IPS forces raided Sections 13, 14, 15, and 16 of Ktziot looking for the perpetrator.He added that IPS imposed collective punishment measures on the Palestinian prisoners, cutting off electricity and using pepper spray against the prisoners in all the raided sections.An IPS spokesperson confirmed to Ma’an at the time that an attack had taken place against a warden in Ktziot, but could not immediately provide further details.Meanwhile, Hebrew-language news sites reported that IPS had transferred 40 Palestinian prisoners from Ktziot and Nafha to other prisons on Thursday, adding that prisoners had attempted to prevent the transfer process.On Friday, the leadership of the Hamas movement and IPS reportedly reached an agreement to “stop escalations” against Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons, according to Qaraqe.
Qaraqe said in a statement that the agreement stated that “escalations” in Israeli prisons “will be immediately halted,” all prisoners who were transferred during raids will be moved back to their original sections during next week, all prisoners held in solitary confinement will be returned to their communal cells, and that Messada officers, the “takeover” unit of the IPS, will not be allowed to enter prisoners’ cells.
(Source / 03.02.2017)

Lebanon launches census of Palestinian refugees

Ain Al-Hilweh, a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon [file photo]

Ain Al-Hilweh, a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon [file photo]

Lebanon launched yesterday a new census prepared by the Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee, in partnership with the Lebanese Central Administration of Statistics and the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics in order to properly survey the number of Palestinians in Lebanon.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri, who announced the official launching of the project during a ceremony held at the Grand Serail in downtown Beirut, said Lebanon stresses on the right of return for Palestinian refugees to their country, adding that Lebanon cannot tolerate so many refugees while an additional 1.5 million Syrian refugees are on its territory.

“The whole world should be aware of how much the Palestinians are suffering in Lebanon, and how much the Lebanese are suffering too,” Al-Hariri said, adding “the presence of the Palestinians in Lebanon is welcomed, but this work emphasises their right to return to their country. Israel is usurping the Palestinians territories, and we are witnessing the results.”

“Hopefully when this report is ready, we will have figures that will confirm to the international community and the world the scale of the problems caused by Israel in Palestine and in Lebanon,” Al-Hariri concluded.

The head of the Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee, Hassan Mneimneh, said the census, the first of its kind, will provide the Lebanese state and its institutions with official and comprehensive statistical data on the camps and gatherings inhabited by Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, which will help develop public policies in the future.

Meanwhile, the head of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, Ola Awad, said the census project will be finished within 15 months so the Lebanese government and the Palestinian Authority as well as donors can all have access to a reliable census to build any future policies regarding the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

(Source / 03.02.2017)

Islamic Jihad urges support for prisoners through escalating intifada


The Islamic Jihad Movement has urged the Palestinian people in the occupied territories to escalate their intifada (uprising) against Israel in response to its violations against the Palestinian prisoners.

This came during a protest rally organized by Islamic Jihad on Friday afternoon in Jabalia refugee camp, north of Gaza, in solidarity with the prisoners in Israeli jails.

Addressing a crowd of citizens, senior Islamic Jihad official Dawoud Shihab stated that his Movement would never forsake the prisoners and would support them by all possible means.

Shihab called for more heroic operations against the Israeli occupation in the West Bank to retaliate to its crimes against the prisoners.

“The hysterical attack against our prisoners in Israeli jails are led by the extremist right-wing government that has accustomed itself to working day and night on sanctioning more racist decisions against our brave prisoners,” he said.

He called on the Palestinian young people in all occupied areas to support the prisoners through launching more counterattacks against Israeli settlers and soldiers, stressing that the Palestinian people have the right to defend themselves against Israel and its crimes.

(Source / 03.02.2017)

Hezbollah torn between its local and regional roles

Lebanese Hezbollah supporters carry flags and gesture during a religious procession to mark Ashura in Beirut’s southern suburbs, Lebanon, Oct. 12, 2016

On Jan. 17, the Loyalty to the Resistance Bloc, Hezbollah’s political wing in the Lebanese parliament, held its regular meeting and said in a statement that the meeting was mostly dedicated to discussing the national draft laws, in particular the electoral law.

However, the most remarkable thing about the bloc’s statement was its position on four regional issues, in addition to the local matter of the draft laws: offering condolences for the death of former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani; condemning Bahraini authorities for executing three young men and renewing support for the Bahraini Shiite uprising; condemning the silence of international human rights organizations over the rebels in Wadi Barada near Damascus cutting drinking water to millions of Syrians; and condemning the US-Saudi aggression against the Yemeni people.

The bloc’s stances vis-a-vis the regional issues are not something new for Hezbollah since Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah has had a say about the Arab and Islamic issues in the past. However, the bloc’s statement raises an old question again: Is Hezbollah a Lebanese group or has it become a regional institution taking political stances regarding every regional and international development? What is its military, logistic, advisory and training role in certain countries, namely Palestine, Syria, Iraq and Yemen? How could the Lebanese party reconcile its political local role of resisting the Israeli occupation and aggression, with its growing regional role, which raises the concerns of Israel, the West and the neighboring Arab countries?

To answer this question, one ought to go back to the beginning of the party’s founding in 1982 as an Islamic resistance movement in the face of Israel’s occupation of south Lebanon. The movement used to be financed by Iran through Syria, believing in the obedience to the Iranian supreme leader at the time, Ruhollah Khomeini, and subsequently his successor, Ali Khamenei.

In this context, a Hezbollah official, who requested not to be named, told Al-Monitor, “Hezbollah originally combines between its Lebanese and regional roles. First, the party adopts the Palestinian cause and the conflict with the Israeli occupation, which is not only a local issue but also a regional cause. Second, it espouses an Islamic ideology with a global dimension, meaning that the party accords attention to the affairs of Muslims all around the world.”

The source added, “The conflict with Israel prompted Hezbollah to forge regional alliances with Syria, Iran, Palestinian resistance movements, political parties and Arab countries that are against occupation and imperialism. The rise of the terrorist and takfiri threat in Syria and Iraq and the danger of its expansion to Lebanon were behind Hezbollah’s intervention in the war raging in Syria, as a preventive and defensive measure to prevent extremist groups — such as the Islamic State [IS], Jabhat al-Nusra and their likes — from entering Lebanon. This is not to mention the need to protect religious shrines and prevent the Syrian state from falling in the hands of such extremist groups.”

The source also quoted Nasrallah as saying on June 17, 2014, “We will be wherever we need to be,” in reference to the party’s involvement in the battles on several Syrian fronts against armed groups, and the participation of some of its units in the training of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), after Mosul and other Iraqi cities and governorates fell into the hands of IS starting summer 2014.

Nasrallah said in the same statement, “Our involvement in Syria was a duty to protect Lebanon. We will not allow the attack on Zeinab twice [in reference to the attacks on the holy shrine of Zeinab in Damascus since the Syrian revolt erupted in 2011].

“In Iraq, we say, it is long gone that we will allow anyone in the world to destroy or defile our religious and holy sites in Najaf, Karbala and Samarra,” Nasrallah said.

Al-Monitor was the first to learn that Hezbollah had sent its cadres as advisers to guide and train the PMUs in Iraq in their battles against IS in June 2014.

On March 6, 2016, Nasrallah revealed that Hezbollah had been interfering in Iraq by sending advisers and trainers to help Iraqis in their fight against IS, and that its fighters were also involved in the Muslim battles in Bosnia against the Serbs in the 1990s.

The Hezbollah official, however, stressed that despite the party’s regional role, it strongly believes in the need for the Lebanese state to restore its power and sovereignty, stressing that should the state assume its responsibility to fight against the Israeli occupation of Lebanese territories, there would not be an urgent need for the rise of resistance in Lebanon.

In the same vein, researcher Bashir Saada, the author of “Hezbollah and the Politics of Remembrance,” told Al-Monitor that it is difficult to predict how Hezbollah would manage its local and regional role. Saada, however, does not see any contradiction between the Lebanonization of the party and its Islamic ideology. He believes that Hezbollah’s Islamic ideology is based on its understanding that it is part of the local environment of Lebanon, and that its regional involvement serves the local interest.

He also added that Hezbollah would not embark on a regional venture, which could undermine its position locally.

Kassem Kassir, a researcher in Islamic movements and the author of “Hezbollah between 1982 and 2016,” told Al-Monitor, “Hezbollah’s regional role has been growing in light of the ongoing conflicts in the region, the current tensions and the previous political vacuum [in Lebanon], not to mention the involvement of some other Lebanese sources — in reference to the Future Movement and jihadi Sunni groups — in such conflicts. However, this role is likely to dwindle once the state regains its prestige and institutions, the local parties’ involvement in regional conflicts declines, and the search for solutions and compromises to the ongoing Arab crises starts.”

Kassir said, “This is what happened earlier following the Taif Agreement in 1989,” when the Lebanese militias were dismantled and they handed over their weapons to the Lebanese army. “Hezbollah will find itself in the future facing many challenges, prompting it to reconsider its position and role. This is especially true, should the regional parties reach a settlement on Syria. Lebanon can no longer tolerate the party’s growing regional role” at the expense of the Lebanese sovereignty, Kassir added.

It is worth noting that the March 14 Alliance has repeatedly accused Hezbollah of undermining the Lebanese state by holding on to its weapons, especially long-range missiles, thus causing potential Israeli threats to Lebanon. The alliance also held claims that Hezbollah’s intervention in Syria and its positions toward the Gulf states have led some of these states (namely Saudi Arabia) to impose economic sanctions on Lebanon.

Nasrallah said on May 21, 2016, that Hezbollah has moved from being a local power to becoming a regional one given its military capabilities on the ground. Sheikh Naim Qassem, Nasrallah’s deputy, said Nov. 16 that the party “has become bigger than a party and smaller than an army.” The party is better armed and trained with well-developed expertise. Qassem described Hezbollah’s military parade in the Syrian city of Qusair on Nov. 13 as “a show of strength and a message to everyone,” in reference to Israel and the regional states that support the rebels in Syria.

In this context, a source close to the Future Movement told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity that Hezbollah’s message was addressed to the new Lebanese president, Michel Aoun, and Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

Hezbollah’s approach to its regional role is based on a national basis, arguing that Lebanon is part of the Arab region and cannot disassociate from the region’s conflicts, especially since Israel is “a hostile and aggressive entity” (according to Nasrallah) and would not hesitate to reoccupy parts of Lebanon whenever it can. As jihadi extremist groups are international movements that extend to where they can, and if Hezbollah did not intervene to confront them on the border with Syria and beyond, they would have entered to the heart of the country. Nasrallah said on Nov. 8, 2013, “If we did not go to Syria, Lebanon would have turned into a second Iraq.”

(Source / 03.02.2017)