Lebanon’s Taymour Jumblat Will Only Run for Parliament with Balanced Bloc

Taymour Jumblat (center) receives popular delegations at his Mokhtara residence. (NNA)
Taymour Jumblat (center) receives popular delegations at his Mokhtara residence. (NNA)
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Lebanon’s Taymour Jumblat Will Only Run for Parliament with Balanced Bloc

Taymour Jumblat (center) receives popular delegations at his Mokhtara residence. (NNA)
Taymour Jumblat (center) receives popular delegations at his Mokhtara residence. (NNA)

Lebanon’s Democratic Gathering MP Antoine Saad said that Taymour Jumblat will not run in the parliamentary elections without a balanced list of candidates.

He told Asharq Al-Awsat that Taymour will follow in the steps of his father, Walid, and form a “balanced” bloc that includes lawmakers from different Lebanese sects that make up “the fabric of Mount Lebanon and our political presence in various regions.”

“In this regard, we do not see the elections from a winner or loser perspective, but we look at them from the regional and national angles,” he explained.

“MP Walid Jumblat always stressed the importance of the unity of Mount Lebanon and against isolating any party or Lebanese political component,” he added.

Saad hoped that a settlement would be reached in Mount Lebanon, calling against efforts to isolate MP Jumblat from non-Druze seats.

“We seek the representation of all parties in the Mountain and not their elimination,” he continued.

The new electoral law in Lebanon merges the Shouf and Aley districts. Both of them are strongholds of the Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) of MP Walid Jumblat.

Member of his bloc MP Akram Shehayeb said last week that the merger of the two districts favors the party.

“This time, we will vote for Taymour Walid Jumblat,” he announced.

The PSP and all other Lebanese parties will kick off their electoral campaigns in January and efforts will get underway to forge political alliances.

Some of the alliances are already foregone conclusions, like the alliance between the PSP and Mustaqbal Movement of Prime Minister Saad Hariri, said Saad.

“This is a strategic alliance that is built on national and historic understandings,” he stated.

Alliances with other parties will begin to take shape in days to come, he continued.

The much delayed parliamentary elections are scheduled for May 6.



WHO Says Many People in Gaza Facing ‘Famine-like Conditions’

Israeli soldiers operate inside the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, on Feb. 13, 2024. (AP)
Israeli soldiers operate inside the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, on Feb. 13, 2024. (AP)
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WHO Says Many People in Gaza Facing ‘Famine-like Conditions’

Israeli soldiers operate inside the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, on Feb. 13, 2024. (AP)
Israeli soldiers operate inside the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, on Feb. 13, 2024. (AP)

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday that many people in Gaza were facing "catastrophic hunger and famine-like conditions".

"A significant proportion of Gaza's population is now facing catastrophic hunger and famine-like conditions," said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

"Despite reports of increased delivery of food, there is currently no evidence that those who need it most are receiving sufficient quantity and quality of food."

Tedros said there were more than 8,000 children under five years old who have been diagnosed and treated for acute malnutrition, including 1,600 children with severe acute malnutrition.

"However, due to insecurity and lack of access, only two stabilization centers for severely malnourished patients can operate," he added.

"Our inability to provide health services safely, combined with the lack of clean water and sanitation, significantly increases the risk of malnourished children."

The war in Gaza began on Oct. 7 when fighters led by Hamas killed 1,200 Israelis and took more than 250 hostage, according to Israeli tallies.

Israel's response has caused the deaths of more than 37,000 Palestinians, according to the Gazan health ministry, displaced most of Gaza's population of 2.3 million and caused widespread hunger and destruction.

A UN inquiry on Wednesday found that both Israel and Hamas had committed war crimes early in the Gaza war, and that Israel's actions also constituted crimes against humanity because of the immense civilian losses.

Tedros also highlighted a separate health crisis in the West Bank, where he said healthcare had been targeted by nearly 500 attacks since Oct. 7.

"While the world's focus has been on Gaza, there is also an escalating health crisis in the West Bank, where attacks on healthcare and restrictions on movement of people are obstructing access to health services," he said.

"In most areas of the West Bank, clinics are only operating two days a week and hospitals are operating at about 70% capacity."