Liberation Day celebrated in South Lebanon

Lahoud says struggle with Israel continues

By Mohammed Zaatari and Nafez Qawas , Daily Star
Wednesday, May 25, 2005

SIDON: Five years after the liberation of South Lebanon from Israeli forces, dozens of Israeli tanks remain scattered in various towns and villages as living proof of the major defeat of the Israeli Army in Lebanon.

Southerners still remember the withdrawal of Israeli troops under the fire of the Islamic resistance party Hizbullah in May 2000 as a turning point and a reason for celebration.

President Emile Lahoud described the event as “an occasion to learn from past experience and consolidate solidarity.”

“Such a unity and solidarity among the Lebanese has in the past helped Lebanon to establish an unprecedented glory by forcing Israeli troops of occupation out of South Lebanon and by liberating the Lebanese territories.” He added: “Liberation would not have been accomplished without the resistance and assistance of sister Syria and other friends of Lebanon worldwide.”

Lahoud said Lebanon will continue its legitimate struggle with Israel until a global, comprehensive and just peace is reached in the Middle East, which implies that all Lebanese detainees in Israeli jails should be freed and Palestinians return to their homeland.
The president stressed the point that the Lebanese are determined to liberate the remaining Shebaa Farms from Israeli occupation.

“On this occasion, I pay tribute to the families of Lebanese Army and resistance martyrs who sacrificed their blood and spared lives to make the liberation dream come true,” Lahoud added.

On the occasion, southerners recall the event by mounting the remaining tanks and re-enacting scenes of the final battle between the Resistance and Israeli forces.

Student Mohammad Fadl said: “Lebanon is the first country ever to drive Israel out of its territories without making any compromises or concessions.”

While Fadl and his colleagues prepare for the end of year examinations in a former Israeli outpost, other younger students spend their day playing war on the premises.

Shepherd Jamal Deeb is critical of the presence of the tanks and vehicles that have now become a symbol of defeat after once being the symbol of Israel’s retreat from Lebanese land.