Chirac Honors Nasrallah, Preaches Human Rights

Addressing the French speaking nations’ summit that opened in Beirut Friday October 18, the first to take place in an Arab capital, French President Jacques Chirac made an important point: The war on terrorism, he said, should be fought “without mercy”, yet conducted “with respect for human rights and the rule of law”.
After hearing Chirac, the conference, attended by 41 heads of state, closed its doors on the rest of its deliberations.
The French president made time for the conference in a busy schedule. He leads international opposition to American military action against Iraq and any assault on the Saddam Hussein regime, fights with great courage for the rights of French energy firms in Central Asia and post-war Iraq – two causes which some regard as interdependent. At the same time, Chirac looks after his fallback positions. Sensing the Iraqi ruler is doomed whatever France may do or say, he is thinking of relenting on a UN Security Council resolution authorizing military action against a defiant Iraq Saddam – depending of course on how well French oil interests are looked after in post-war Iraq.
The same applies to his championship of Yasser Arafat as the top dog of Palestinian West Bank and Gaza Strip. Sensing he is as unlikely to weather the American Middle East offensive any more than Saddam Hussein, Chirac has switched his support to Muhamad Dahlan, who lays claim to the succession after Arafat. There is less opposition to the Dahlan claim in Israel than might be expected given his record as ace terror master. Not only Labor foreign and defense ministers, Shimon Peres and Binyamin Ben Eliezer, would go along with this candidate, but even at least one member of prime minister Ariel Sharon’s staff.
However, the top Bush team refuses to hear Dahlan’s name, insisting he is first a foremost a terrorist. More than one US official has asked in astonishment how any Israeli can support the claim of the man who engineered the Karin-A arms smuggling operation. The answer leads to their chosen role model, Jacques Chirac.
In a typical two-faced maneuver, the French president was able to declare war “without mercy” on terror and on the same occasion honor the Hizballah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, by inviting him to the opening session of the Francophone summit. With unashamed cynicism, the conference organizers seated the head of one of the most lethal terrorist groups in the world among the senior religious ministers invited for the occasion. The French speaking bloc of nations thereby elevated Nasrallah’s group, the Hizballah, to the rank of a new religion.
What different did it make that the Lebanese terror group was listed in Washington as a terrorist organization, one of whose leading lights, Imad Mughniyeh, figures on the FBI’s 22 most wanted terrorists list for complicity in the September 11 suicide attacks in New York and Washington, and which gives sanctuary to at least 180 Al Qaeda fugitives from the Afghan War.
Nasrallah was able to listen with perfect equanimity to the French president’s call for a war on terror attended by respect for human rights. He knew that no one present, including the speaker, dreamed of applying those sentiments to him or considering the fate of the four Israelis whose kidnapping two years ago was engineered by his colleague Mughniyeh. No scrap of information has ever been made available to their families on the fate of the stolen men.
Chirac has never been conspicuously sensitive to Israeli human rights. But what about the French-Jewish journalist whom the organizers of the French speaking summit bundled roughly out of the conference hall for the heinous crime of filing a story to Israeli TV Channel 2 News in Hebrew!
The reporter, Gideon Kutz, arrived in Beirut with his fellow reporters in the French president’s party. Yet, while awarding full honors to a terrorist and kidnapper, Chirac held silent when his cultural associates of the French speaking world employed strong-arm tactics to remove and muzzle a fellow Frenchman and, moreover, a journalist.
Earlier this year, the privileged guests at the Beirut conference of French speakers showed their tender care for human rights at the end of a certain terrorist episode.
On March 12, a pair of armed Palestinians infiltrated northern Israel from Lebanon and, with expert, paramilitary precision, rained death on the traffic flowing along the Kabri-Matsuba stretch of the West Galilee highway. After sniping at passing vehicles from the cover of low bushes, they waited for the traffic to pile up and approached the stricken cars lobbing grenades. Finally, they shot dead the injured drivers and passengers at point blank range, leaving six Israelis dead and seven injured. While fleeing from the carnage, the killers were pinned down by Israeli forces and shot dead themselves from a helicopter gunship.
The next day, March 13, debkafile revealed the perpetrators of the massacre as Lebanese Palestinians belonging to the elite killer outfit trained by the super terrorist Imad Mughniyeh as an arm of the Hizballah. The attack on the Galilee highway was a cooperative effort of Arafat’s followers and the Hizballah.
Israeli intelligence investigators soon discovered how the two infiltrators had climbed the electronic security fence Israel has strung along its border Lebanon: an extra-tall hydraulic ladder that the Lebanese Shiite terrorist group fashioned especially for this operation, enabling them to heave the terrorists over the fence without sounding the alarm.
A few months later, Israel offered to hand over to Lebanon the bodies of the two Lebanese Palestinians (whose photos appear in this article), relaying its message through the International Red Cross and later the UN. Israel undoubtedly hoped to gain points for its long campaign to recover Israeli bodies in Lebanese hands. But the Lebanese government denied any knowledge of the two men or any attack they may have carried out in Israel – even after Israel posted photos of the two dead terrorists to Beirut.
Word then reached Israel, according to debkafile‘s sources, that their relatives had appealed to Hizballah chief Nasrallah for information about the two Palestinians, who were last seen at a Hizballah base in south Lebanon. He too denied knowledge of the men or their mission. The story he said was an Israeli ruse to impugn his organization as terrorists.
But on the human rights front so close to the hearts of the French president, his Lebanese hosts and his guest of honor, we are left with two distraught Lebanese Palestinian families who will never be told what happened to their sons. On the other side of the border are
the grieving families of eight Israelis who went missing in Lebanon – the navigator Ron Arad, who disappeared 16 years ago, three soldiers missing from the 1982 Sultan Yakub battle, the three troops kidnapped on the Israel-Lebanese frontier two years ago and presumed dead, and Elhanan Tannenboim who was abducted at around the same time.
Time drags on but none of these families are allowed the slightest ray of hope or sign that their loved ones are alive or dead. The likes of Sheikh Nasrallah and Yasser Arafat do not think in terms of human rights or even common humanity, while their friend and patron, Jacques Chirac, makes no such demands on them. Neither therefore is under any compulsion to part with the information for relieving the agony of uncertainty forced on these families. Lofty talk at an international conference is cheap. Fighting Middle East terrorism calls for real integrity.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email