Worried Lebanese

thought crumbs on lebanese and middle eastern politics

On both sides of Galilea – 3: National Unity Government

Posted by worriedlebanese on 07/11/2006

“The Israelis tried to include everyone, even the extremists. The Palestinians are trying to form a national unity government… Why can’t we do the same? There’s a place for everyone in Lebanon”, said Nabih Berri today.

He did put his finger on something. In the same of time, similar debates, bargaining and negociations were going on in Israel, Lebanon and Palestine, and in someway or another they were the result of the summer wars over Lebanon and the Palestinian entity. Lebanon seems to be following the same path as Israel with an enlargement of the government. In Israel, this enlargement brought in the infamous Avigdor Lieberman. The changes in Lebanon would certainly not be as innovative and colourful as in Israel where Liberman was given a ministry “for strategic affairs” and he managed in a couple of days to raise two controvercies. One over his threat to kill the Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and Palestinian Interior Minister Sa’id Siyam if soldier Gilad Shalit was killed, and another one through an interview with the Sunday Telegraph, where he called Israel’s Arab minority a “problem” that requires “separation” from the state, and gave the example of Cyprus as one to follow.These two controvercies he sparked in a couple of days have prompted journalists to call him “the minister of unstrategic threats”.

In Israel the coalition government is imposed by the results of the past election(s). It doesn’t reflect the country’s ethnic diversity for their has never been an Arab minister there. In Lebanon on the other hand, it’s due to the country’s pluralistic social fabric. But in the Palestinian authority there’s no social or institutional reason for it at all; the voters have given a clear majority to Hamas calling for political alternation, and there is no ethnic diversity to reflect there. The only reason there are talks about it is because the international community has agreed with Israel on the issue of boycotting Hamas because of its refusal to recognise Israel; and it is presented as the only way to stop the war waged on the Palestinians territories by the IDF.

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