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Reception of former US President Jimmy Carter

Fadlullah: We repudiate Israel’s violence and we advise [President Obama] to listen to the pulse of the people

His Eminence, the Religious Authority Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah, received former US President Jimmy Carter, accompanied by his son James and his Deputy in the Carter Foundation Arak Nilson, his bureau’s officer Olvo Kajos, as well as members of the Carter Foundation, Mr. David Carol and Metwi Sharood and Professor Bridge Mali. The delegation was also accompanied with the former Yemeni President Abed Al-Karim Al-Aryani.

The meeting tackled the situation in Lebanon and the region, the elections, the policy of the new US Administration, as well as the speech President Obama addressed to the Arabs and the Muslims.

Sayyed Fadlullah welcomed Carter, lauding his book “Palestine, Peace not Apartheid”. He said that he acted as a researcher while writing this book, instead of using sweet talk, just as many US political figures who take into account the Jewish Lobby in the United States while writing books and espousing their positions.

Addressing Carter, the Sayyed said: I would like to affirm that, as Muslims, we have no problem with living together with the Jews. They had lived among us in the Arab and Islamic world, without being exposed to the injustice and oppression they have experienced in the West. We do not oppose Israel and injustice due to religious reasons or spite towards them. Rather, our opposition to Israel springs from a principled political position as we reject injustice. Israel has worked on occupying Palestine and displacing the Palestinian people and expelling them from their country. In this regard, we have read a statement by a Jewish American rabbi a few days ago, in which he called for eradicating the Arabs and killing their women and men and children. This statement coincides with a similar statement made by the chief rabbi in Israel who regarded the Arabs as bugs and snakes which they should get rid of.

His Eminence stressed that the political activity of any American figure that rests on respecting the freedom of the people gives a humanitarian and civilized image of the United States which the Arabs have always respected in the twenties and thirties of the previous century. At that time, the United States acted upon the principles of Wilson who called for the people’s right to self-determination. However, the subsequent US administrations pursued another track by blindly supporting Israel to the extent that our people no longer distinguish between the US and Israeli policies in the region.

After that, Carter spoke about his role and that of his institution in monitoring the Lebanese elections and the Palestinian ones earlier. He affirmed that the United States absolutely supports the results of these elections.

Sayyed Fadlullah said that the Arab friends of the United States in the region have never conducted elections or practiced democracy. They rather live under regimes governed by intelligence agencies and emergency laws. He also pointed out to the US statements that preceded the Lebanese elections and threatened to end its aid programs if a certain faction was to win the elections. Such statements, according to the Sayyed, represent a flagrant interference in the Lebanese political life, which raises a question over the US understanding of democracy, as this understanding was reflected on the position of the previous administration towards the Palestinian elections.

His Eminence stressed that ever since its establishment, Israel has posed a continued threat to the Lebanese entity, attacked Lebanon without any logical reason, and invaded it more than once. Today, Israel is not committed to the UN Resolution 1701, whether by its violation of the Lebanese airspace or penetration of the Lebanese security through the espionage networks. Israel is a state based on aggression and cannot be trusted. For this reason, Lebanon needs a deterrent force to prevent Israel from staging an attack once again, and hence, the resistance’s role was and still is to deter any aggression and defend Lebanon, while Israel’s role is to ignite wars and target the Lebanese infrastructure and civil sites.

Fadlullah also highlighted some positive aspects of the addresses and positions of the US President, Barack Obama, towards the Arabs and Muslims, but he explained that our nation awaits deeds and not words, and that Obama should not listen to the Arab presidents, officials, and rulers, but rather to the pulse of the Arab and Islamic street.