(July 30, 2019 / MEMRI) Lebanon cannot cope with the 1.5 million Syrian refugees it has absorbed over the past seven years, Lebanese politician Samy Gemayel told U.S.-based Al-Hurra TV last week.
Gemayel, who is president of Lebanon’s Christian Phalanges Party, told the U.S.-based Arabic-language satellite TV channel on Friday that it was “only natural” for the Lebanese to want a solution to this problem, and added that all countries should share in Lebanon’s burden.
In addition, he was highly critical of Hezbollah, saying that its existence as an independent armed militia within Lebanon runs counter to international norms and to the law and constitution of Lebanon.
Gemayel bemoaned the disproportionate suffering the Syrian civil war has imposed on Lebanon simply due to the two countries’ proximity.
He called for Hezbollah’s military capabilities to be placed under the command of the Lebanese military, and said that Hezbollah’s influence in the Lebanese government is to the country’s detriment.
Gemayel added that Hezbollah is causing an increase in national tensions because of its eagerness to fight alongside Iran should a war break out between the United States and Iran.
“Lebanon should be neutral,” he said. “The Lebanese have nothing to do with [this conflict].”