Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Breaking with the 'National Consensus'

Towards Lebanese-Palestinian Reconciliation

by Fawwaz Traboulsi

[Translator's Introduction: The article below by Fawwaz Traboulsi first appeared in Arabic in the Beirut daily as-Safir of September 13, 2007.....]

"After the battle of Nahr al-Barid, much has been said and repeated about a Lebanese "national consensus" regarding the Palestinians in Lebanon, a presumed rejection by all Lebanese of a final settling of Palestinians on Lebanese soil. Many commentators continue to voice their alarm about the "conspiracy" to permanently settle the Palestinians.

The writer of this article, a Lebanese citizen, wishes to openly declare that he will have no part of such a consensus -- and more, that it is time to expose it for the fraud that it is.

This presumed danger of a final settling of Palestinians is another tale in the politics of lies and self-deception that has prevailed since the Taif Accord. In a complex and diverse country such as Lebanon, this accord sought to develop a consensus based on a deception. It sought to achieve national unity by inventing a presumed enemy of all Lebanese, short of finding a real common enemy, or by fabricating a phony scare that would frighten everyone......

The parties of the Lebanese Front have used the specter of a final settling of Palestinians to justify their blood-soaked history during the 1975-1990 period. They have never tired of declaring that they were fighting "against foreigners". In their account of that period, their history was one of resistance against the "conspiracy" of permanently settling Palestinians on Lebanese soil, conveniently ignoring who instigated the internal wars and who profited from them. Thus, not only have these parties concealed their responsibility for putting the country to the torch, they have also managed to confound the beginnings and ends of the 1975-1990 wars and everything that happened in between......"

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