Hezbollah’s Rocket Gift to Lebanese FM Sparks Controversy, Condemnation
A photo of Lebanese Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil carrying a rocket presented to him by Hezbollah officials during his visit to the city of Jbeil north of Beirut sparked wide controversy and condemnations in the country.
The rocket, a remnant of the party’s battle with Al-Nusra Front in the Arsal border region in 2017, was offered to Bassil during a visit to the town of Ras Osta in the Jbeil district.
The rocket was carrying the flags of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), which is headed by Bassil, and Hezbollah, along with a phrase that read: “Greetings of appreciation and love to His Excellency the Resistant Minister Jebran Bassil.”
The image has been met with condemnation, especially by the opponents of the party and Bassil.
“To our honorable guest, who is crowned with a rocket that disregards the history of Jbeil and its culture,” wrote Strong Republic MP bloc, Ziad Hawat, on his Twitter account.
“Wait! Wait! The gift of Byblos to Lebanon and the Lebanese is sanctity, patriotism, chivalry and coexistence. What we have seen is a distortion of history and a coup against it,” he added.
Former MP Fares Souaid criticized Bassil’s tour to the district of Jbeil, saying on Twitter that Hezbollah’s gift to the minister in the presence of deputies from Jbeil and Keserouan was a “stupid” attempt to give the impression that the Jbeil-Keserouan residents support Hezbollah.
On Monday, Bassil tweeted a photo of the rocket, which he has since used as a vase in which he placed orange flowers, the color of his FPM party.