Lebanese journalist Tony Abi Najem, whose work is published on the IMLebanon website, said in a May 25 broadcast on MTV (Lebanon) that he is not celebrating “Liberation Day,” the national holiday marking Israel’s 2000 withdrawal from the country.

Instead, he stated that April 26 should be celebrated as the day that Syrian forces withdrew from Lebanon in 2005, according to a report by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

Najem noted that the Syrian military presence was worse than Israel as “the Syrian regime killed us, murdered us and bombed us.”

He continued, saying “every year, Lebanon would lose hundreds of millions of dollars that would flow from Lebanon to Syria. This continues to this day. The Central Bank of Lebanon has behaved as if it is the bank of Lebanon and Syria. Dollars have been taken from Lebanon to Syria … .”

According to MEMRI, Najem added: “On the other hand, when there was an Israeli occupation in Southern Lebanon, the Lebanese people living there would go into Israel, work there and bring the dollars back into Lebanon. So even from this economic aspect, the Israeli occupation was better for the Lebanese [than the Syrian occupation].”

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