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The Growing Criticism of Lebanese Christians Towards Hezbollah’s Involvement in the Campaign Against Israel


This paper delves into the increasing criticism among Lebanese Christians regarding Hezbollah’s involvement in the ongoing conflict against Israel, highlighting the mounting discontent not only from Christians but also from Sunnis and Shiites in Lebanon. The criticism underscores the detrimental impact on Lebanon’s stability and advocates for international intervention to disarm Hezbollah. Despite these pressures, Hezbollah continues its aggressive actions, prompting retaliatory measures against its critics. Key Lebanese Christian figures, such as Sami Al-Jamil and Gebran Bassil, argue that Hezbollah’s actions align with Iran’s regional ambitions, jeopardizing Lebanon’s national security. Intellectuals and politicians emphasize Lebanon’s historical resistance to external domination and call for international support to curb Hezbollah’s influence. Social media discourse reflects significant criticism from the Christian community, citing Hezbollah’s negative impact on Lebanon through various actions, including assassinations and the Beirut port explosion. The paper also discusses recent incidents, such as the arrest of Mukaram Rabbah and the murder of Suleiman Pascal, which highlight the growing tensions and the urgent calls for international intervention. Ultimately, the paper suggests that while the Christian community in Lebanon seeks to unify against Hezbollah, their efforts are currently focused on diplomatic and electoral means rather than military confrontation.

The ongoing terrorist activities orchestrated by the Hezbollah movement in support of Hamas and directed towards Israel have elicited strong criticism from Lebanese citizens, particularly among Christians and to a lesser extent, Sunnis and Shiites. This criticism emphasizes the potential for severe repercussions on Lebanon and highlights the perceived necessity for international intervention to compel Hezbollah to disarm. These tensions have not only failed to deter Hezbollah’s escalatory actions against Israel but have also prompted retaliatory measures, including arrests and assassinations, against its critics. The escalating discord between Hezbollah and a significant segment of the Christian population in Lebanon poses a palpable risk of further destabilization, although both parties appear, at present, to pursue a path of containment.

Many Christian intellectuals, journalists and politicians claim that Hezbollah’s involvement in the war against Israel is linked to an Iranian agenda that strives for regional hegemony, and therefore threatens Lebanon’s national security. Sami Al-Jamil, head of the Phalange party, called on the Lebanese to take stock of themselves and decide if “they want to be part of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards program and soldiers with the leader of Iran in a global campaign aimed at Islamizing the earth and turning the countries into an Iranian empire that will be run through the idea of ​​the Iranian Revolutionary Guards , or they will be Lebanese who will cooperate for the sake of building the state”.[1] Gebran Bassil, a Lebanese Maronite politician urged the Sunni Gulf countries to intervene in Lebanon to curb the formation of the pro-Iranian Shiite crescent in Lebanon.[2] The Lebanese academic Antoine Al-Douhi claimed that from the 16th century to the 21st century, Lebanon was able to maintain its geopolitical uniqueness despite the efforts of various countries and movements to attach it to a broad territorial conceptual entity such as the Ottoman Empire, the pan-Arab movement led by Egypt, a movement The Syrian Ba’ath and movements that championed the idea of ​​”Greater Syria”. In his view, Iran should learn from history and understand that the annexation of Lebanon to which it is condemned is a failure, even if it currently enjoys control over a large part of Lebanon.[3] The Lebanese Shia scholar al-Sayed Ali al-Amin, known since the 1980s for leading a sharp line between Hezbollah and Iran, accused Hezbollah of promoting an Iranian vision in southern Lebanon and creating an atmosphere of war similar to the atmosphere of the Second Lebanon War (2006), and warned that Hezbollah would be responsible for any catastrophe that befalls Lebanon.[4]

In the discourse of social networks in Lebanon, there is significant criticism of Hezbollah by Lebanese citizens, particularly from the Christian community. One example is a Lebanese YouTuber who asserted that Hezbollah’s purported interests in liberating Shebaa farms and protecting Arab interests, such as the Palestinians, are merely a facade for strengthening Iranian influence in the region.[5] Additionally, a Lebanese Christian accused Hezbollah of causing harm to Lebanon through a series of actions, including assassinations of Lebanese figures, involvement in the trade of Captagon drugs, and the tragic ammonium explosion in the port of Beirut.[6] Furthermore, other Christian citizens have expressed discontent with the transitional government led by Mikati, citing its inclination towards Hezbollah and its detrimental impact on the country’s stability.[7]

A post published by a Christian Lebanese citizen on his Facebook account showing Nasrallah and underneath the caption: “[He] Destroyed Beirut”[8]

In March 2024, Mukaram Rabbah, an academic, was interviewed by the Emirati TV channel “Al-Hadth” and made allegations against Hezbollah, accusing the group of advancing an Iranian agenda, exploiting the suffering of the Lebanese and Palestinian people, and contributing to the destabilization of Lebanon through its involvement in the conflict with Israel.[9] Following the interview, the Lebanese Ministry of Internal Security apprehended Rabbah, citing concerns that his statements posed a threat to Lebanon’s national security. This action prompted widespread demonstrations by individuals opposed to Hezbollah, including Lebanese writer Risha al-Amir, who advocated for Rabah’s release. Notably, al-Amir is the sister of Luqman Salim, a Lebanese citizen and political activist who was allegedly targeted and killed by Hezbollah for his critical views. Lebanese member of parliament Nadim al-Jamil wrote following the arrest that:

“The policy of betrayal and demonization of anyone who opposes you has come to an end. The defense of Lebanon and its stolen sovereignty by Hezbollah and its people is not [considered] cooperation but the highest level of patriotism. Setting a limit for terrorist militias that hijacked the country and destroyed its institutions and economy is not [considered] cooperation, but the highest degree of patriotism. The logic of oppression and intimidation has not silenced and will never silence the free pens”.[10]

Upon his release, Rabbah noted that “what happened today proves that the military court is a tool of pressure on activists who oppose Hezbollah. If I were a Captagon dealer like Hezbollah, then the investigating judge would not have dared to arrest me.”[11] In addition to the aforementioned incident, it is pertinent to note the kidnapping and murder of Suleiman Pascal, a prominent member of the ‘Lebanese Forces’ party, which occurred in early April of this year. While official reports attributed the responsibility for the murder to Syrian immigrants, there were some who implicated Hezbollah in the crime.[12] Following the murder, the aforementioned party quoted the words of the Patriarch of the Maronite Church, Cardinal Mar Nasrallah Boutros Zafir, as an expression of its opposition to the presence of weapons in the hands of Hezbollah: “The side that owns weapons has power over others, we reject the presence of two armies in Lebanon”.[13]

Alongside the statements condemning Hezbollah and the Iranian subversion in Lebanon, there are also evident practical efforts by Christian politicians in Lebanon to convince the world public opinion that international involvement is required to force Hezbollah to disarm. In April of this year, Lebanese members of parliament Nadim Jameel and Antoine Habashi held several meetings with members of the Biden administration in Washington to convince them to implement the two resolutions of the UN Security Council:

  1. Resolution 1559 from 2004 calling for the disarmament of all armed militias in Lebanon, including the Hezbollah movement in southern Lebanon and the Palestinian refugee camps in the country. 
  2. Resolution 1701 from 2006 calling for a ceasefire between Hezbollah and Israel and the deployment of an armed UN force and the Lebanese army in southern Lebanon, to prevent Hezbollah from continuing to operate in Lebanese territory.[14] Another Lebanese organization operating in the diaspora under the name of the World Council of the Cedar Revolution headed by Joe Baini called on the municipalities and the local councils in Lebanon to protect the residents of the southern villages who are confronting the attempts of Hezbollah members to use their residential area to launch missiles towards Israel. The council also called on the Lebanese army forces and the international bodies to support the residents of villages opposing Hezbollah, especially against the background of the Lebanese government’s lack of support for its citizens.[15]

It seems that Nasrallah’s ignoring of these criticisms and his continued activity against Israel strengthen the determination of the Christians to invest efforts in unifying their ranks as a counterweight to Hezbollah, but it seems that their intention is to focus on electoral power and not military power. Sami Al-Jamil has already clarified that “there is a strong, united, rigid and firm opposition against the Hezbollah project, consisting of 31 representatives who are a solid nucleus in the conflict” against Hezbollah. In his view, it is better that the people of Lebanon be ready to sacrifice themselves for the sake of preserving Lebanon’s identity, history, and culture instead of presenting it on a silver platter to Hezbollah and Iran.[16] These statements express distress and deep concern about the changing face of Lebanon, and hence one wonders if the Christian community in Lebanon would be willing to risk an armed conflict with Hezbollah? On the face of it, it seems that it is not ready to take this risk and is content with using diplomatic and international levers of pressure.

[1] “Sami Gemayel: Hezbollah’s performance is divisive and drags the country into tension, and as long as the state is unable to control its sovereignty, we will witness more security leaks” (in Arabic), NNA, April 18, 2024.سياسة/688351/سامي-الجميل-أداء-حزب-الله-تقسيمي-ويجر-البلد-إلى-ال  

[2] @Gebran Bassil“, April 24, 2024.

[3] Antoine Douaihy, “Has the Lebanese Conception been Saved from Irredentist Tendencies that Besiege it?” (in Arabic), Al-Sharq al-Awsat. March 26, 202.

[4] “The Scholar, Mr. Ali Al-Amin”, al-Amine, March 9, 2024.السيد-علي-الأمين-لبنان

[5] “Laugh as Hassan Nasrallah Announces his Victory Over Israel” (in Arabic), Lebanese Survivor (YouTube), May 8, 2024.

[6] @Tony Haddad, Facebook, May 4, 2024.

[7] @Charles Elias Chartouni, Facebook, April 17, 2024.

[8] @Tony Haddad, Facebook, May 4, 2024.

[9] @Al Hadath Lebanon, Facebook, March 18, 2024.

[10] @nadimgemayel, Twitter. March 18, 2024.

[11] 18.3.24.

[12] Salah Hijazi, “What we do and don’t know about the murder of Pascal Sleiman”, L’Orient Today, Apr 9. 2024.

[13] @Lebanese Forces – Tripoli, Facebook, May 12, 2024.

[14] @nadimgemayel, April 12, 2024. ;  “Gemayel: We discussed with the American Administration the Necessity of Implementing No. 1701 and No. 1559” (in Arabic), Al-Kalima Online, April 18, 2024.; “Habashi: Lebanon’s Neutrality will only be Achieved through the State Extending its Sovereignty”

(in Arabic), al-Markaziyya, April 23, 2024.حبشي-حياد-لبنان-لن-يتحقق-إلا-عبر-بسط-الدولة-سيادته

[15] “Global Council for the Cedar Revolution”: We will Submit a Memorandum to the United Nations to Implement Resolution 1559” (in Arabic), Sawt Beirut, April 3, 2024.المجلس-العالمي-لثورة-الأرز-سنرفع-مذك/

[16] “Sami Gemayel: Hezbollah’s Performance is Divisive and Drags the Country into Tension, and as Long as the State is Unable to Control its Sovereignty, We will Witness More Security Chaos”, NNA, April 18, 2024.سياسة/688351/سامي-الجميل-أداء-حزب-الله-تقسيمي-ويجر-البلد-إلى-ال