BEIRUT: Speaker Nabih Berri told a conference in support of the Palestinian intifada in Tehran Saturday that the Lebanese resistance would remain a deterrent against the hostile ambitions of Israel and accused Arab states of interfering in Syria’s internal affairs.
“We give our assurances the resistance will remain a deterrent force against Israel’s hostile intentions. In the current state of the Middle East this resistance in fact represents a Lebanese necessity to prevent Israel from exploiting and fragmenting the Arab system in order to single out Lebanon or the Palestinian territories,” Berri said, adding that Lebanon remained Israel’s principal Arab foe of in the region.
The speaker of the Lebanese Parliament was among several officials to attend the 5th International Conference on the Palestinian Intifada, which saw opening speeches by Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei and Berri’s Iranian counterpart, Speaker Ali Larijani.
Berri commended the Islamic Republic on its technological achievements and praised the recent activation of the Busheir atomic power plant, “which we hope will reach its full capacity soon.”
At the conference, which Berri urged should seek to uncover Israeli crimes and focus on ways of innovating and developing new means for resistance, the Lebanese speaker slammed the Jewish state on the Judaization of Jerusalem as well as the expansion of settlement activity.
As tangible steps to help the Palestinians, Berri said Palestinian unity was essential, “because unity is the weapon of Palestine,” as well as the need to maintain the tool of resistance.
Arab support of Jerusalem at all levels was also needed to prevent the Judaization of the city, Berri said, while questioning the fate of funds announced by the Arab League and Organization of Islamic Conference for Gaza, Jerusalem and the uprising.
On this issue of Lebanon, Berri said Israel, with armaments from the United States, continued to violate Lebanese territory, in land and air, as well as violations against “Lebanese maritime borders and acts of piracy in the exclusive economic zone aimed at Lebanon’s natural resources of oil and gas.”
“Israel, as well as all the above, continues to occupy territories that are dear to Lebanon, principally the Shebaa Farms, the hills of Kfar Shouba and the northern part of the village of Ghaggar. It also continues to sabotage United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701,” Berri added.
However, Berri voiced optimism that the tide was turning against Israel as a result of revolutions in several Middle East countries including Egypt and Jordan.
“At the Arab and Palestinian levels we are sensing positive developments, namely that Israel can no longer claim to be the single democracy in the Middle East after what we witnessed in terms of Arab developments. … Israel failed to neutralize Egypt and the Egyptians proved that their uprising is not simply connected to internal politics but foreign policy as well. The demands for annulling the Camp David accord are growing.”
“The developments on the Jordanian street started with a focus on Israel, Wadi Araba [the peace treaty between Jordan and Israel] and its embassy in Amman as the source of all evil and this is what made the enemy ambassador … in Amman to live in a state of fear.”
Despite positive developments in the Arab world, Berri, a close ally of Damascus, criticized Arab states on their behavior toward Syria, accusing them of interfering in its internal affairs while they could be expending their resources on aiding the Palestinians.
“Here we ask: where is the official Arab boycott of Israel instead of Syria?” Berri asked.
“Why is Arab money being spent to fund protests in Syria instead of supporting the Palestinians to stay in their land? Why so much effort on the part of the Arab media to intensify the tensions in Syria instead of uncovering the crimes of the Israeli occupation and it abuses against the Palestinians?
“Is it because Syria, like Iran, lies on the line of resistance to the hostility and racism of Israel and because it calls for a just and comprehensive peace according to international resolutions and wants to secure the Palestinian people? My answer simply put is: Yes,” Berri said.
Berri added that he was not against reform in Syria, but that “should be done through internal agreement, not by foreign interference, and even worse, [it should not be] through Arab [Interference].”