Monday, January 7, 2008

U.S. academic Finkelstein meets top Hezbollah official in Lebanon

"A vocal American critic of Israel met Monday with a senior official from the militant Hezbollah group and visited villages in southern Lebanon that witnessed heavy fighting in the 2006 war between the guerrillas and the Jewish state.

Norman Finkelstein, who resigned last year as a political science professor at DePaul University in Chicago, met Hezbollah's commander in south Lebanon, Nabil Kaouk, in his office in the coastal city of Tyre.

He visited the border village of Maroun el-Rass where heavy fighting between Hezbollah guerrillas and Israeli troops took place during the two side's 34-day war in the summer 2006, according to the state-run National News Agency and Hezbollah's Al-Manar television.

Finkelstein also toured the border village of Aita al-Shaab.....

The 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war left more than 1,000 Lebanese, mostly civilians, dead. About 160 Israelis, including 119 soldiers, also died in the fighting.

"After the horror and after the shame and after the anger there still remain a hope, and I know that I can get in a lot of trouble for what I am about to say, but I think that the Hezbollah represents the hope. They are fighting to defend their homeland," the Brooklyn-born Finkelstein told reporters......

Finkelstein is on a one-week visit to Lebanon where he is scheduled to hold lectures and visit Palestinian refugee camps.

In the past, Finkelstein has argued that some Jewish groups have exploited the Holocaust for political and financial gain......"

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