Lebanon's Hariri Proposes Naming Independent Shiite at Finance Ministry

FILE PHOTO: Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri speaks during a news conference in Beirut, Lebanon October 18, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir
FILE PHOTO: Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri speaks during a news conference in Beirut, Lebanon October 18, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir
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Lebanon's Hariri Proposes Naming Independent Shiite at Finance Ministry

FILE PHOTO: Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri speaks during a news conference in Beirut, Lebanon October 18, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir
FILE PHOTO: Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri speaks during a news conference in Beirut, Lebanon October 18, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri proposed on Tuesday a solution to the cabinet crisis, saying he would help PM-designate Mustapha Adib choose an independent Shiite minister at the Finance Ministry.

“I decided to help Prime Minister Adib find a way out, by naming a finance minister from the Shiite sect, who would be independent and whom he chooses, like all other ministers on the basis of competence, integrity and non-affiliation to ant party,” Hariri said in a statement issued by his office.

However, the head of al-Mustaqbal Movement said this doesn’t mean in any way recognition that the finance ministry is the exclusive right of the Shiite sect or any other sect.

“It should be clear that this is a one-time decision and does not constitute a norm upon which to form future governments,” the statement said.

Hariri asserted that his initiative came to stop the collapse of the government formation, which would entail the risk of political, socio-economic, and security chaos.

He said it has become clear that obstructing the formation of the government threatens to eliminate the opportunity to achieve the reforms demanded by all the Lebanese, a condition that opens the way for French President Emmanuel Macron’s call for an international conference to support Lebanon at the end of next month.

He said Adib was named PM by a large majority of deputies to form a small government composed of specialists known for their competence and integrity, none of them belonging to any political party, and with a task to achieve economic, financial and administrative reform to stop the collapse.

“It was the request of Amal Movement and Hezbollah to name the Shiite ministers and to limit the Ministry of Finance to a Shiite candidate based on the claim that this is a constitutional right that stems from the Taef Accord, while it is a heresy that does not exist neither in the Constitution nor in the Taef Accord,” Hariri said.

The former PM asserted that the survival of Lebanon, the livelihood and dignity of the Lebanese remain greater than the sectarian and political conflicts, and deserve to keep the opportunity to save Lebanon away from the differences no matter how big they are.

“With this step, the responsibility rests with the opponents to form the government. If they respond and facilitate, Lebanon and the Lebanese will gain, and if they continue to obstruct it, they will bear the responsibility of wasting Lebanon’s opportunity to stop the collapse,” he said.



Israel Carries Out New Raids in Gaza as Netanyahu Visits US 

This picture taken in Khan Younis shows smoke billowing during Israeli military operations in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on July 24, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (AFP)
This picture taken in Khan Younis shows smoke billowing during Israeli military operations in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on July 24, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (AFP)
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Israel Carries Out New Raids in Gaza as Netanyahu Visits US 

This picture taken in Khan Younis shows smoke billowing during Israeli military operations in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on July 24, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (AFP)
This picture taken in Khan Younis shows smoke billowing during Israeli military operations in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on July 24, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (AFP)

Israeli forces carried out new raids in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, hours before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was due to address the US Congress.

The latest Israeli attacks destroyed homes in towns east of Khan Younis in southern Gaza and thousands of people were forced to head west to seek shelter, residents said.

The Palestinian Civil Emergency Service said it had received distress calls from residents trapped in their homes in Bani Suhaila, east of Khan Younis, but were unable to reach the town.

Israel's military, which is trying to eradicate the armed group Hamas after the Oct. 7 attack on Israel, said it had been operating in areas from which fighters had been able to fire rockets into Israel and attack Israeli troops.

Gaza health officials said Israeli military strikes in the past 24 hours had killed at least 55 people, the latest casualties in a war that health authorities in the enclave say has killed more than 39,000 Palestinians.

"Where should we go? Shall we cross into the sea?" said Ghada, who has been displaced with her family six times during the war, said from Hamas City in northwestern Khan Younis.

"We are exhausted, starved, and want the war to end now, now not an hour later. Every day means more families are wiped off the registration book," she told Reuters via a chat app.

Local residents said they had been ordered to head west towards a designated humanitarian area, but that the area was now unsafe.

Israeli forces also carried out airstrikes on several areas of central and northern Gaza Strip, killing and wounding several Palestinians, health officials said.

Residents of Rafah, near the border with Egypt, said Israeli forces had blown up several houses in the west of the city.

PALESTINIANS CRITICISE U.S.

Hamas-led fighters triggered the war on Oct. 7 by storming into southern Israel, killing 1,200 people and taking 250 captives, according to Israeli tallies. Some 120 hostages are still being held though Israel believes one in three are dead.

Some Palestinians who gathered at a hospital in Khan Younis before funerals criticized the United States, Israel's most important international ally, for welcoming Netanyahu.

The Israel leader was due to address Congress later on Wednesday and to meet President Joe Biden at the White House on Thursday. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said he would meet Netanyahu in Florida on Friday.

"The United States is a main partner in what is happening in Gaza. We are being killed because of the United States. We are being slaughtered by American planes, American ships, American tanks, and American troops," said Kazem Abu Taha, a displaced resident from Rafah.

A senior Hamas official, Sami Abu Zuhri, told Reuters: "The Congress invitation to Netanyahu to make a speech gives legitimacy to the crimes of the war of genocide in Gaza. Receiving a war criminal is a shame to all Americans."

Israel has rejected accusations brought by South Africa at the UN's top court that its military operation in Gaza is a state-led genocide campaign against Palestinians. It has reacted angrily to a decision by the International Criminal Court's prosecutor to seek an arrest warrant against Netanyahu.

Netanyahu said this week a deal to release Israelis held captive in Gaza could be near. But Hamas officials said Netanyahu was stalling and that they had not seen any change in the Israeli stance that would allow an agreement to be reached.

Hamas wants a ceasefire agreement to end the war in Gaza. Netanyahu says the war cannot end before Hamas is eradicated.