Lebanon: Efforts to Ease Tension Between FPM, Hezbollah Supporters

Lebanon: Efforts to Ease Tension Between FPM, Hezbollah Supporters
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Lebanon: Efforts to Ease Tension Between FPM, Hezbollah Supporters

Lebanon: Efforts to Ease Tension Between FPM, Hezbollah Supporters

Contacts are underway between the leaderships of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) and Hezbollah to reduce tension between the supporters of the two groups over the border demarcation talks with Israel and the government formation.

Hezbollah had expressed reservation over the delegation assigned by President Michel Aoun to represent Lebanon in the border demarcation negotiations with Israel.

Hezbollah supporters went to accuse the FPM of succumbing to American wishes for fear of economic sanctions. The accusations stirred a wave of angry reactions among FPM partisans, who demanded their leadership break up the alliance with Hezbollah, after “its cost has become high on us and on the country.”

“We have reached a stage in which silence is no longer effective because the fate of the country is at stake,” a senior FPM member told Asharq Al-Awsat.

MP Edgard Maalouf, from the FPM’s Strong Lebanon parliamentary bloc, did not deny the differences in views with Hezbollah on several matters.

He stated: “However, this should not reach the point of undermining the relationship with the party and the fall of the agreement,” known as the Mar Mikhael agreement, which was signed between Aoun and Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah in 2006.

In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, Maalouf said that the two sides have overcome the dispute over the negotiating delegation by keeping the same lineup put forward by Aoun, without taking into account the observations presented by the Shiite duo, i.e. Hezbollah and Amal Movement.

However, the FPM now fears that an agreement would be reached at its expense, represented by the designation of former Premier Saad Hariri to lead the new government, especially after head of the Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) Walid Jumblattand and former Minister Sleiman Franjieh have both joined the Shiite duo to push for Hariri’s designation.

“There are no settlements at the expense of the FPM, but internal and external political changes that need to be taken into consideration,” said Writer and Analyst Qassem Kassir.



Israel Bombs Gaza after US Criticizes High Civilian Toll

Palestinians inspect at the site of an Israeli strike on a house, amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, in the central Gaza Strip, July 16, 2024. REUTERS/Ramadan Abed
Palestinians inspect at the site of an Israeli strike on a house, amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, in the central Gaza Strip, July 16, 2024. REUTERS/Ramadan Abed
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Israel Bombs Gaza after US Criticizes High Civilian Toll

Palestinians inspect at the site of an Israeli strike on a house, amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, in the central Gaza Strip, July 16, 2024. REUTERS/Ramadan Abed
Palestinians inspect at the site of an Israeli strike on a house, amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, in the central Gaza Strip, July 16, 2024. REUTERS/Ramadan Abed

Israel renewed its bombardment of the Gaza Strip Tuesday, after the United States renewed its criticism of its ally over the high civilian casualty toll of the war.

Residents told AFP of Israeli warplanes striking central Gaza and artillery fire hitting the territory's south, while medics said they pulled multiple bodies from the rubble of the latest bombardment.

Hours earlier, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told two top Israeli officials that casualties among Palestinian civilians "still remain unacceptably high".

"We continue to see far too many civilians killed in this conflict," spokesman Matthew Miller said after Blinken meth Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer and National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi.

Washington has been pushing for a truce between Israel and Hamas.

But Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh said Sunday that the group was pulling out of indirect talks for a deal in protest at recent Israeli "massacres", including a massive strike on Sunday that the health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said killed at least 92 people.

Haniyeh said Hamas stood ready to return to the indirect talks once Israel "demonstrates seriousness in reaching a ceasefire agreement and a prisoner exchange deal".

After the latest deadly strikes, medics from the Palestinian Red Crescent said they recovered four bodies from a house outside the southern city of Khan Yunis and another from Nuseirat camp in the central Gaza.

The Israeli military said that over the previous 24 hours its air force struck "approximately 40 terror targets" in Gaza. They included "sniping posts, observation posts, Hamas military structures, terror infrastructure, and buildings rigged with explosives".

It said its troops were also continuing targeted raids in the far-southern city of Rafah and in the central Gaza Strip.