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BEIRUT: The decision by Taraya Municipality, Bekaa, to move a monument to Lebanese Armed Forces personnel from the entrance of the city to the side of the road has come under criticism.

It was claimed that the monument was moved so as not to disturb a photo associated with a political party.

The monument, a military armored vehicle, was given as a token of loyalty to the villagers who had died while defending the country.

The Al-Islah’ Al-Baladi (Municipal Reform) organization in Taraya said the decision to put the monument on the side of the road was inappropriate.

He said opinions were divided during the city council meeting, with some supporting the decision and others rejecting it.

Taraya is located 75 km from Beirut and is a stronghold for Hezbollah and its ally the Amal Movement, similar to most towns and cities in central and northern Bekaa that are home to a majority of Shiites.

Al-Islah’ Al-Baladi condemned the behavior of the city’s mayor, Rifaat Hamiya, who is a retired army brigadier general with more than 25 years of service.

“We expected him to use national principles, enforce laws, hold corrupt people accountable and enforce and compromise with the regulations of the national army, instead of compromising with party orders and exploiting the city council and its members to get personal benefits”.

While the organization stressed its support for various political affiliations, it said it opposed the decisions of militias and parties that spread hostility towards the Lebanese army.

Taraya is currently suffering socially and economically like other villages in the Bekaa while awaiting the implementation of a development policy.

The parties have taken over the municipalities of these cities, especially Hezbollah, which has infiltrated social life, imposed traditions and even controlled decisions in these places.

Ali Al-Amin, editor-in-chief of Janoubia, told Arab News: “What happened comes in the framework of Hezbollah’s well-defined path at the Lebanese level, and its (the party’s) approach to the sect Shia after his relations were shaken with the forces he has allied with since October 17, 2019, when people took to the streets and protested against everyone.”

Al-Amin said Hezbollah was trying to benefit from its authority over the state and society to transmit its ideologies. He did not care about the opposition, which reflected the vulnerability of the state.

Al-Amin added: “However, I think Hezbollah is trying to focus on minor issues as it is not able to answer strategic questions.

“He is practicing the same options as he has no answers about what kind of state and economy he wants for Lebanon and how to tackle corruption. These are people’s questions, and this (party) is taking advantage of the ‘sectarian structure’.

Hezbollah celebrated Friday by laying the foundation stone of a tourist monument in Janta, Baalbek governorate, similar to the Mleeta landmark in the south, the party’s ideological landmark that tells the story of resistance to the occupation Israeli from the point of view of the party.

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said in a speech that the outcome of the nuclear talks in Vienna would have no impact on maritime talks aimed at demarcating Lebanon’s border with Israel.

“Whether or not a nuclear deal is signed with Iran, if the American mediator does not give Lebanon what it asked for in terms of its rights, we are headed for an escalation, we are headed for a problem,” Nasrallah said .

He asked to keep an eye on the Karish camp, the Lebanese borders and the US mediator, adding that the mediator is currently wasting time and arriving late.

Hezbollah loyalists in the “civilian campaign to protect maritime wealth” have called for a march on August 28.

The march will start from all Lebanese ports and head towards the sea borders at Ras Al-Naqoura.

The coordinator of the campaign, Hani Suleiman, said that all Lebanese citizens are concerned about this event to check “our right to our water, like our right to our land”.

Suleiman said the ports of Tripoli, Beirut, Sidon, Tire and Al-Naqoura would be ready this week and final preparations have been arranged.

The march will begin with boats and yachts of different sizes, with an expected number of more than 100.

They will carry the Lebanese flag to send a message to the international community and demonstrate the plight of the people at the center of the conflict with the Israelis.

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