Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah’s latest speech drew widespread condemnation in Lebanon after he threatened to turn the party’s weapons against the country.
Some officials viewed his comments as a threat to not just Christians, but to the whole country in what they perceived as an excessive show of force.
Resigned Kataeb MP Nadim Gemayel tweeted: “Nasrallah, you are not the enemy of Christians… but the enemy of Lebanon.”
“You have killed the country’s best youth and its economy and you have forced its Christian, Sunni and Shiite youth to immigrate,” he added, addressing Nasrallah.
The Hezbollah leader had delivered a speech on Monday to address clashes that erupted last week in Beirut’s Tayyouneh area. The fighting pitted supporters of the Shiite Hezbollah and the Amal movement against the Christian LF.
Seven people were killed in the fighting and dozens injured.
The LF condemned Thursday’s events and blamed the violence on Hezbollah’s “incitement” against Tarek Bitar, the lead investigator in a probe into last year’s blast at Beirut port. Amal and Hezbollah had called the demonstration to protest against Bitar.
Nasrallah alleged that his party helped preserve the presence of Christians in Syria and that it was defending Christian representation in Lebanon.
Resigned MP Elias Hankash told local radio on Tuesday that Hezbollah has lost its central cause and has now turned its weapons towards Lebanon.
This is a battle between the sovereign and free Lebanon against the Lebanon of war and recklessness, he added.
MP Fuad Makhzoumi accused Nasrallah of distorting facts.
“The dispute in Lebanon today is not between Christians and Hezbollah, but between Lebanese people, who want a country that is built on justice and an economy, and Hezbollah and its corrupt political system, which is being protected by sects that have destroyed the judiciary, reform and the concept of the state and have isolated Lebanon from its Arab environment,” he tweeted.
Lebanese Forces MP Ziad Hawat said that Nasrallah’s “acknowledgement that his party boasts 100,000 fighters and his condescending tone towards the Lebanese are unacceptable.”
He added: “The Christians and Lebanese were not intimidated by the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the Syrian occupation army and you certainly won’t intimidate them with your actions because they have a long history in resisting occupiers.”
He noted Nasrallah’s hypocrisy in speaking about weapons, militias and the civil war, while at the same time declaring that he heads the largest militia, of 100,000 fighters, in order to intimidate and subjugate the Lebanese.