BEIRUT — Gebran Bassil, head of the Free Patriotic Movement, criticized a call to establish "the youth of al-Aqsa Flood unit" by the branch of Hamas in Lebanon. The call was made Monday, in a post on X, in reference to Hamas' Oct. 7 operation, calling for Palestinian youth in Lebanon to join.
"We consider any armed action originating from Lebanese territory as an attack on national sovereignty," Bassil said.
Hamas called for the continuation of what it has "achieved during the attacks on Oct. 7, as well as a victory for the Palestinian people," by calling young people to join its ranks.
On Oct. 7, thousands of armed militants poured through large holes torn in parts of the Gaza border fence using tractors, RPGs and explosives, and crossed into southern Israel. Some used motorized paragliders to fly over the fence, and others crossed through the sea. The militants took Israeli hostages back into the Gaza strip, and later negotiated on a prisoner swap with Israel. Israel retaliated by launching a full scale war against Gaza. Around 16,000 Palestinians have been killed since Oct. 7.
'Palestinian factions can't be armed in Lebanon'
"We remind everyone of the Lebanese agreement since the Taif Agreement in 1990 on the necessity of disarming Palestinians in and outside the camps, and the consensus on canceling the Cairo Agreement that legitimized armed actions by Palestinians from Lebanon since 1969," Bassil continued.
The 1989 Taif Agreement, which ended the Lebanese Civil War in 1990, called on all armed parties and factions in the country to disarm and hand their weapons to the government.
"Lebanon has the right to strengthen itself through its national resistance against Israel, and it weakens itself by allowing Hamas to establish a foothold in the south once again to attack Israel from its territory," Bassil explained.
A series of cross-border attacks between Hezbollah and Israel have taken place since Oct. 7. Over 100 Lebanese, including 15 civilians, have been killed. ReliefWeb, a humanitarian information portal run by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), reported that there are more than 46,000 internally displaced people in Lebanon who sought shelter away from the southern border, or further north in the country.
"History should have taught us not to become bargaining chips in times of war when we can assert our conditions at the negotiating table in times of diplomacy," Bassil concluded.
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