News from Beirut August 29  1997 ...Search

Lebanon-Israel, Wadi Hajir Operation by Amal

-The Lebanese Amal movement resistance fighters' ambush yesterday against an Israeli parachute force of the elite unit GOlANI and the consequent clashes for hours dominated news reports today. The Israeli fatalities including four killed and others wounded was a major blow to the Israeli army in Lebanon. AMAL resistance dedicated the operation to Imam Mussa Sadre in the 19th anniversary of his disappearance. The fatal blow against Israel, the most severe since April last year and beginning of this year, inflicted also four fatalities among AMAL.

The Israeli forces opened artillery fire today against a UNIFIL Finnish unit which was trying to remove the four bodies of AMAL men at Wadi Hajir. UNIFIL spokesman Goxyl said the contacts continue with the Israeli side to know when it is possible to remove the bodies. AMAL announced today names and identity of the four fatalities who were from the south villages of Mahrouneh, Zibdine and Qanarit. News agencies said the SLA militia traded artillery fire with an AMAL unit trying to advance to the scene of yesterday's clash.

-AMAL operation still echoes in Lebanon, Israel and all over the world. "Israel was trying to overshadow the truth on its fatalities but death is death and Israel is sinking more in Lebanon's moving sands", Lebanon television said today.

-Israel's premier after his return from an Asian tour reiterated his opposition to an Israeli unilateral withdrawal from south Lebanon because "resistance" operations can reach to the Galilee. Netanyahu said there is no solution in the foreseeable future and if Israel goes out of Lebanon the latter will come in to Israel . President of Israel said the incident was tragic. Israeli officials visited the Golani unit to hear preliminary statements on the operation. Israeli papers said the operation was the most bloodiest one since early this year. It emphasized the need of an agreement with Syria and Lebanon on the Israeli army withdrawal. Parents of the Israeli fatalities in a demonstration today said the Israeli army in south Lebanon has only one mission that is to defend itself. Israel defense minister said Israel has no other alternative of the way it is enforced now to fight "resistance".

-In Beirut, sheikh Mohammed Mahdi Shamseddine said he extends his congratulation and blessing to those who carried the operation. He said those resistance fighters do not belong to a sect or community but they complement with the blessed uprise against Israel in the Palestinian occupied land.

Prime Minister's Proposal On Economical Crisis

-Lebanon cabinet's four hours meeting yesterday to find ways to resolve the economical crisis and to discuss premier's Hariri proposed exit was inconclusive. The cabinet reached a deadlock while trying to deal with the economical deadlock. A proposed Gasoline price increase was hanged in the air as well as the proposed increase of custom duty on imports excluding foodstuffs. The $1bn bond issue loan which was designed to finance the repatriation of the displaced and develop rural areas was also suspended or kept pending.

-The Lebanese media today were still wondering if the proposal of the prime minister was undermined or suspended. Reports said the conclusion of the cabinet's meeting was "YES" to more money but "NO" to taxes. President Elias Hrawi supported the proposal but did not went too far in his support. The house speaker has personally rejected the proposal on Wednesday when he received visiting MPs and his two loyal AMAL ministers expressed that rejection during the cabinet meeting. The General Labor Confederation GLC, in which the AMAL movement loyal to the speaker has a major say, threatened to stage three consecutive days strike in case the increase of gasoline price is adopted. The two factions of the GLC took the same stand.

-The ministers, precisely some 12 minister said to have opposed the proposal. They agreed in principle on the necessity to impose taxes and charges in order to diminish the budget deficit and finance the proposed projects, but disagreed with the prime minister over the tax ratio. News reports said the foreign minister told Mr. Hariri that the cabinet ministers are not responsible of the failure of the economical policy, because Mr. Hariri did not consult them his policy. Health minister Suleiman Franjieh proposed a L.L 30,000 increase on each ton of produced cement, instead of the gasoline price increase. Labor minister Assaad Herdan proposed increase of charges on real estates and to sufficiently borrows $500mn instead of $1bn. Agriculture minister Shawki Fakhoury demanded supervision on the public spending and asked the premier on the detailed study he has to spend the $1bn loan. Media reports said it was first time Mr. Hariri had faced ministers close to president Hrawi and the house speaker also the ministers representing political parties, except minister Walid Jumblat and his loyal ministers. Hariri has failed to win support to his proposal that he suggested as one package one basket with 12 ministers voted against and 10 voted in favor. Reports said he emerged out of the meeting angered and dismayed.

He hinted to resignation and immediately left to Damascus to meet Mr. Khaddam, but other reports said the date in Damascus was decided earlier and has nothing to do with resignation.

Ministerial sources yesterday said the proposal will have a $600mn burden on the citizens, including the gasoline price increase and duty on imports, additional to a $1bn loan, which all together can pose a major threat to the country's economical and social stability. Most of the cabinet members were warning of the public reaction in case the taxes and charges were adopted.

A last minute way out is possible before president Hrawi depart to Brazil Monday. The compromise is to increase gasoline price by L.L 2,500 instead of 5,000, increase L.L 40,000 on each ton of cement and increase the custom duty on imports by 5 per cent excluding foodstuff. If such compromise is not reached before Monday, it will not be possible later to hold a cabinet meeting before September 20th, since the three top officials are leaving abroad.

-However, following the news circulation, some oil stations sold gasoline for 17,000/20 liter but the stations union said such practice should be legally charged as an exploitation. Oil importers refrained during the day to deliver supplies to the stations but the oil minister intervened to halt the measure and said an increase is excluded for the time being.

-Other than the prime minister proposal, the cabinet approved a proposed urgent law aimed to form a general board for civil aviation, took measures aimed to treat garbage and wastes also to deal with quarries problems, industrial and medical wastes. The cabinet decided to refer the draft bill on the municipal and parliamentary elections to a ministerial meeting scheduled on Monday, under the interior minister, to finalize the bill and put it again before the cabinet.

-The national meeting that comprises the prominent opposition figures is to meet Monday at the residence of former premier Omar Karami. The opposition group will discuss the proposed increase of oil prices, also result of its appeal to the constitutional council, to annul the government decision extending term in office of the present municipalities until 1999.


-President Elias Hrawi received today prime minister Rafik Hariri following his return from a visit to Damascus. Hariri refrained to give any declaration.

-Foreign minister Fares Boueiz received the US ambassador Richard Jones together with the French embassy charge d'affaires. He said both US and France have real interest to enhance the function of the ceasefire committee and have interest to lend success to the committee, in framework of the April's understanding. Boueiz said Mrs. Albright needs not an invitation to visit Lebanon.

-Patriarch Sfair's encounters centered on the developments in south Lebanon. The Bishop of Sidon and Deir el Qamar Mtanious el Khoury and his deputy were among the visitors. They declared that the people in Jezzine and its vicinity are living in panic and fear and they evacuate their homes and villages because of insecurity. They called for an urgent solution because the people are selling their land property on large scale. They wished a papal envoy arrive to the area and help avert the looming danger.

-Jezzine grouping or Mar Roukoz meeting visited sheikh Mohammed Mahdi Shamseddine to discuss the situation in Jezzine. Shamseddine quoted telling the delegation that Israel was behind the explosive blasts in Jezzine, calling them to reject "Jezzine First" proposal which is an Israeli proposal aimed to fragment the entire case of occupation. Shamseddine was also quoted saying Israel is attempting to cause a strife and bring Lebanon back to another civil war. Abati Yuhanna Slim said the grouping is a pure Lebanese voice that aimed to lessen suffering of the people and help their steadfastness. He said the Mar Roukoz meeting is concerned of all the south. He said it is too early to say the situation in Jezzine is normal but there is a relative calm that will hopefully continues.

-Ambassador of Morocco is to leave Monday ending his mission . He said relation with Lebanon has been transformed from emotions to written agreements.

-Papal Nuncio paid farewell visit to Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah. Puente said he established important friendship with Sayyed Fadllah and that the Christian-Muslim dialogue will continue.

- In the occasion of 19th year disappearance of Imam Mussa Sadre a mass rally will be held Sunday in Baalbek. Hizbullah secretary general said the Imam's stands are a guide for Hizbullah's resistance against Israel.

-Minister and Mp Nadim Salem after a visit to Patriarch Sfair today said all parties announce in public their rejection to the Palestinian implantation, but behind curtains there are people who work for that.

-The Lebanese Mikdad family man killed at an army checkpoint in Baalbek was buried today. A Lebanese military committee is investigating the incident. Hizbullah MP says the Makneh incident was a political deliberate action.

-The Palestinian camps in Lebanon observed protests against UNRWA cut of social and medical services. The camps committee appealed to the donor countries to settle its due accounts to UNRWA.

-A British cyclist arrived to Beirut from London on his bicycle raising funds to ensure teachers for the camps.


-Lebanon's football 38th championship Dawri is to start today. Nijmeh is to play with Homenmen at Jamal Abdel Nasser stadium in Bekaa. Ikhaa Ahli-Aley to play with Tadamoun-Tyre at Safa stadium. Three matches will take place tomorrow the first between Homentmen and Racing, the second between Bourj and Ahd, the third between Himeh and Ahli-Sidon. Ansar match with Riyada wal Adab has been postponed until 14th of September because of Ansar preoccupation with its match against Kuwaitee Arabi team that will take place Sunday.

Portemilio Suite Hotel   The Luxurious Hotel in the heart of Kaslik, Jounieh, Lebanon

   ........Minkara Center  Coming Soon !

email us for more details ...

More news from International Agencies

[ Weekly Business Reports ] Local News Wire Archives

© 1995-1997 Interactive- USA ,
All Rights Reserved.

For any comments or questions please e-mail