Lebanon’s Christian Patrirach Nasrallah Sfeir and Jordan’s King Abdullah have both been speaking in America.
Sfeir said Hizbollah should be disarmed by force. King Abdullah went even further: Syria and Hizbollah are the biggest threats to the Middle East.
But now both men have vehimently denied saying those words!
King Abdullah’s furious attack – he warned Ariel Sharon that Syria and Hizbollah are likely to attack Israel to deflect attention from the Syrian troop withdrawal – was reported by two Israeli newspapers: Haaretz and Yedioth Ahronoth.
But he’s claiming it’s an elaborate hoax to harm Jordan’s reputation and destroy its relationship with other Arab countries. He says he hasn’t even spoken to Sharon!
It seems the source of the claims was Malcolm Hoenlein, Vice-Chairman of the ‘Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations’ (one of the organisations the King was speaking to). But the Chairman of that organisation has denied that Abdullah said any of that.
Meanwhile Christian Patriarch Sfeir said he didn’t even talk to President Bush about Hizbollah and that he “did not say that Hezbollah should be disarmed by force.” He praised Hizbollah’s humanitarian work, and said that the reason they are still armed is because of the continuing Israeli occupation of Lebanese land (the Sha’ba Farms*).
Just like with the spread of the Syria-coup hoax: double-sourcing. That’s all it takes to avoid this!
* n.b. Lebanon and Syria say Sha’ba belongs to Lebanon, the UN says it is Syrian – that’s important because if it is Lebanese then Israel occupys Lebanon (Sha’ba) and Syria (Golan).