Address to the U.N. by Lebanon's President

The following is excerpted from the address to the 61st session of the United Nations General Assembly, on September 21, 2006, by General Emile Lahoud, President of the Republic of Lebanon.

From July 12 through August 14, my country was subjected to a barbarous aggression and to a rarely seen campaign of savage dismemberment, when hundreds of fighter jets emptied their loads of heavy and banned bombs, targeting mostly civilians, killing and maiming thousands, and destroying all that made Lebanon a viable state. Obviously, this was a premeditated Israeli "sentence" to destroy my country and everything it stood for, having been blessed and termed by His Holiness Pope John Paul 11 as a "unique message to Humanity, " in which people of different sects could coexist and live together peacefully. This aggression became even more cruel, when it won the tacit approbation of certain GREAT POWERS.

Regretfully, the United Nations Security Council looked powerless in its attempts to stop the slaughter of Lebanon's children and protect the peace in Lebanon and the Middle East. It took over a month and numerous calls for an immediate ceasefire, for all those concerned to finally impress a mere "Cessation of Hostilities," that is yet to become a formal and final "ceasefire."

It becomes self-evident for us to question the "credibility of the United Nations," in light of the Secretary-General's acknowledgment that the delays in adopting Security Council Resolution 1701 did indeed harm this credibility. Moreover, we cannot but have serious doubts as to this organization's ability to safeguard world peace, when its resolutions are subjected to the vagaries of a very few world powers.

Today, as I stand before you, I ask:

How many Children was this evil, vengeful machine of destruction supposed to have killed, before the world community decided to respond in defense of a "rightful" cause?

Allow us to ask this question, as we are filled with a deep sense of grief, when scores of our fallen citizens are still beneath the rubble.

Allowing for the indictment of Israel's actions, in sympathy for the thousands of innocent civilians who were killed and maimed by the "smart," cluster and phosphorus bombs, and those laced with depleted uranium.

Madam President, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Inspired by the principles and treaties of the United Nations, Lebanon retains the "Right of Action" to prosecute Israel before the competent bodies, most notably this venerable Assembly, or that of the International Tribunal, and to request the appropriate reparations for all the catastrophes Israel has inflicted on Lebanon.

Today, I ask you to stand by my country, as that will be written down as a just and rightful stance. I also call upon you to differentiate between him who defends his country against Israeli aggression and occupation and strives to liberate his countrymen from decades of unlawful imprisonment AND those elements who perpetrate acts of wanton slaughter against their countrymen and others equally. May I remind you that Lebanon's experience with the scourge of terror goes back a long way, and it took a very heavy toll on its armed forces.

Madam President, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The most recent aggression on Lebanon has left this small country scarred and terribly afflicted, with thousands of its innocent people either killed or injured. The toll of destruction rum through several thousand housing units, hundreds of bridges, ports, airports, and factories. But my message is the following: "The WILL of ow People to LIVE and MOVE FORWARD has proven to be much stronger than defeat and despair." In record time, the people of Lebanon launched a campaign of reconstruction, made even more successful by instant and comforting gestures of good will from many friends, at home and abroad. It is with such overwhelming support and assistance that Lebanon will beat all odds towards a stellar rebirth, thereby scoring another point in favor of Humanity....

Today, there is incessant talk of a "New Middle East" as a harbinger of better things to come, and this prompts us to ask the following:

"Is what we have witnessed in Lebanon and continue to see in Palestine and Iraq conducive to an environment of Peace and Tranquility?"

"Is this much heralded "New Middle East" only attainable through widespread strife, unimaginable bloodshed, roving sedition, and oppression?"

Our conception, Ladies and Gentlemen, of a "New Middle East" is one that is coherent with the United Nations resolutions, and that is in concurrence with the principles of justice and right as stipulated in these resolutions. Our idea of a New Middle East is one where a comprehensive peace settlement becomes reality and guarantees the rights of all; where Palestinian refugees return home as stipulated in UN Resolution 194, and as such, are NOT resettled in host countries; and where prisoners return to their loved ones.

This is the ONLY way to attain a stable Middle East, and all else will plunge our region into further upheaval and bloodshed.