Lebanese parliament member Marwan Hamade told the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in The Hague this week that the Syrian government has blocked Lebanon from negotiating a peace treaty with Israel.
Hamade was a close ally of assassinated Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri and made the allegation as part of testimony against Hariri’s alleged killers. Hariri was one of 22 people killed in a 2005 bombing. Five senior Hezbollah terrorist operatives accused of murdering Hariri are on trial in absentia.
Before his death, Hariri was known for his desire to normalize Lebanon in the wake of Israel’s withdrawal from the south of the country in 2000. The Syrian government, as well as Lebanon-based Hezbollah, opposed Hariri’s goals.
In an attempt to influence Lebanese foreign policy, Syria has “forbade” Lebanon from engaging in peace talks with Israel “before Syria was done” negotiating with the Jewish state, Hamade said, the Jerusalem Post reported.
The Syrian government, he added, also encouraged Hezbollah to continue “armed resistance” by supporting Hezbollah’s claim that part of Lebanese territory remains “occupied” by Israel despite the country’s withdrawal from there.