Hezbollah apologizes for Moussawi remarks after war of words over Gemyel’s martyrdom

MP Mohammad Raad , head of Hezbollah's parliamentary bloc
MP Mohammad Raad , head of Hezbollah’s parliamentary bloc

Head of Hezbollah’s parliamentary bloc, MP Mohammed Raad, on Friday apologized on behalf of the bloc over remarks voiced Wednesday by  Hezbollah MP Nawwaf al-Moussawi.

“An undesired debate erupted between some colleagues in the previous session and entailed rejected remarks that were voiced by one of our brothers in the bloc,” Raad said, describing Moussawi’s statements as “a personal reaction that exceeded limits.”

“I apologize to you and in the name of the Loyalty to Resistance bloc and I ask for omitting those remarks from the minutes of meeting,” Raad added, addressing Speaker Nabih Berri.

Raad’s stance comes after  a reported mediation that the Free Patriotic Movement led with the Lebanese Forces and Kataeb parties, according to OTV.

“The FPM is reportedly carrying out a mediation to contain the repercussions resulting from Nawwaf al-Moussawi’s remarks,” OTV reported.

Earlier in the day, MPs from the FPM, the LF and Kataeb held a meeting on the sidelines of the confidence session in parliament to discuss Moussawi’s remarks.

During a speech by MP Sami Gemayel in parliament on Wednesday, Moussawi said “it honors the Lebanese that President Michel Aoun was elected through the rifle of the resistance while others reached the presidency on an Israeli tank.”

Nadim Gemayel hit back during the session, saying “no one reached the presidency on the top of an Israeli tank.”

“You were throwing rice on the Israelis and most of you voted for President Bashir in this parliament,” he added, apparently referring to some Shiite citizens and ex-MPs after Israel  invaded  Lebanon in 1982 .

Moussawi snapped back, saying: “Your size is equivalent to an Israeli tank.”

Kataeb party’s office attacked overnight

Raad’s remarks come also after unknown assailants hurled a petrol bomb overnight at the Kataeb party’s office in the vicinity of Mirna Chalouhi center in the neighborhood of Sin el-Fil according to a Friday report by NNA

NNA said the explosion inflicted material damages and that no injuries were reported.

Investigations were opened into the incident.

The attack  came after the  heated debate between Hezbollah and Kataeb lawmakers during the  parliamentary session discussing the government’s policy statement on Wednesday.

Raad’s apology praised

Officials from the Kataeb Party, the Lebanese Forces and other parties on Friday lauded   Raad’s  apology on behalf of Hezbollah ,  over remarks voiced Wednesday by Moussawi.

“If apologizing for a mistake is a virtue, acknowledging each other’s martyrs is patriotism. From now on, we should not disagree over the truth: Bashir (Gemayel) is the dream of a people and the martyr of the republic,” MP Nadim Gemayel of the Kataeb bloc tweeted.

Lauding Raad’s remarks on Friday, LF MP Sethrida Geagea said “even political rivalry can be honorable.”

MP George Adwan of the LF meanwhile revealed that he played a role in a mediation that led to Raad’s apology.

“I took the initiative on Wednesday evening and I carried out several phone calls to pacify the situation in parliament. I telephoned Minister Jebran Bassil and MP Sami Gemayel and invited them to a meeting and MP Raad later told me that they will voice a stance in the name of the bloc,” Adwan said.

MP Imad Wakim of the LF meanwhile described Raad’s move as a “courageous and responsible step.”

“This is the rhetoric that we want among the Lebanese: political competition with mutual respect. Peace be upon those who want peace,” Wakim added.

Former minister Melhem Riachi of the LF said “respecting the ethics of discourse is the basis for building an exemplar country.”

“We will build together on the bravery of apology. Bashir will not die,” Riachi added.

Bachir Gemayel  was a senior member of the Kataeb ( Phalange)  party and the founder and supreme commander of the Lebanese Forces militia during the early years of the Lebanese Civil War (1975–90). He was the youngest president-elect and one of the most controversial figures in Lebanese history.

He was elected president on 23 August 1982 while the country was torn by civil war and occupied by both Israel and Syria. He was assassinated on 14 September 1982, along with 26 others, when a bomb exploded in Beirut Phalange headquarters. The US Federal Bureau of Investigation  (FBI) blamed the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP), a close ally of the Syrian regime for his assassination .

MP Nadim Gemayel is the son of the slain president