Bearing Witness

Lebanon

I have just spent just over a week  in Lebanon and it has been great ! I started my time there in Tripoli after cutting cross county from Crac Des Chevaliers in Syria.

Tripoli was cool, although my knee was playing up, so I spent the first day smoking akila, drinking tea and reading. On the second day I explored the Souqs which are considered the best in Lebanon, and I would agree. There are four main Souqs, the Souq al-Sayyaghinand or the Gold  Souq, the Souq al-Attarinor the Medieval Souq and Souq al-Haraj and Souq an-Nahhassinor or the Brass Souqs. I then visited the Citadel of Raymond De Saint-Gilles, which was originally a Crusader fortress. The most impressive part of the Citadel was the imposing entrance with it’s moat and three gateways – one Crusader- AD 11oo, one Mamluk – AD 1280 and one Ottoman – AD 1516. Apart from the entrances the other  feature of the Citadel is the spectacular view of Tripoli it gives you, as it is set on the hill above Tripoli’s old town. I then ventured into the new part of town – Tripoli like much of Lebanon, has a split personality. The newer part of town is very prosperous and resembles a very western and modern city, however the old part is definitely less prosperous and has buildings, such as the Citadel, which date back to AD 1100.

 From there I went down south to stay with a friends family near Nabitia. I had a fantastic time exploring the south, with my tour guide Mattie. I saw Tyre and it’s ancient ruins, both Roman and Byzantine and Sidon’s and it’s wonderfully well preserved 13th century Crusader Sea Castle. However the highlight of my time in the south, as it was in Nablus, was the people I meet and who welcome me into their home so warmly. I would like to thank Mattie my tour guide and friend and his family for a wonderful three days.

I then head north to Beirut and visited Jitta grotto the most amazing caves I have ever seen and rode the cable car to the hills above Beirut. Before spending several days just soaking up the atmosphere of Beirut, which is one cool city. I mainly hung out in Hamra district with it’s many cool bars, great restaurants and fine women.

Sunset over Tripoli

Sunset over Tripoli

Downtown Nebitia

Downtown Nabitia

Sea Castle at Sidon

Sea Castle at Sidon

Roman ruins at Tyre

Roman ruins at Tyre

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February 4, 2009 Posted by | My Travels | , , , , | Leave a comment

Lebanon invasion , 1982

From 1978 the presence of Palestinian guerrillas in Lebanon led to Arab raids on Israel and Israeli retaliatory incursions.

On 6 June 1982 Israel launched a full-scale invasion. By 14 June Beirut was encircled, Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Syrian forces were evacuated mainly to Syria 21-31 Aug.

In Feb 1985 there was a unilateral Israeli withdrawal from the country without any gain or losses incurred. Israel maintains an occupied area called as a ‘security zone’ in South Lebanon and supports the South Lebanese Army Militia of Lahad, both were occupying the south of Lebanon to defend israelis from palestinian attacks, and both carried out number of massacres against Lebanese and Palestinian people.

Israel’s alleged complicity in massacres in two Palestinian refugee camps increased Arab hostility and many other massacres like Beirut, Nabattiyeh, Abbasiyeh, Qana with hundreds of lebanese civilians killed by Israelis. Talks between Israel and Lebanon , between Dec 1982 and May 1983, resulted in an agreement, drawn up by US secretary of state George Shultz, calling for the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Lebanon within three months. Syria refused to acknowledge the agreement, and left some 30,000 troops, with about 7,000 PLO members, in northeast, Israel retaliated by refusing to withdraw its forces from the south.

Meanwhile the problems in Lebanon continued. In 1984, under pressure from Syria, President Gemayel of Lebanon abrogated the 1983 treaty with Israel , but the government of national unity in Tel Aviv continued to plan the withdrawal of its forces. Guerrilla groups of the lebanese resistant on south of Lebanon started their resistant against the Israeli occupation since 1985 when the main important resistant group in Lebanon which is Hizbollah was founded. Most of the withdrawal was complete by June 1985 except the south of Lebanon of what so called the ‘security zone’. The south of Lebanon was liberated by resistant operations when Israel withdraw in 25/5/2000. Israel still occupying Shebaa farms and other small areas until today.

* The above information was obtained at www.palestinehistory.com

October 29, 2008 Posted by | History of the Occupation | , , , , , | Leave a comment