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Thursday, March 24, 2005 


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).

Abdullah's comments were reported by the Vice-Chairman of 'Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations'.

But after Abdullah denied it, the Chairman of 'Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations' was asked whether or not Abdullah said it. His answer: no.

The original claims in Haaretz:

Sources who attended the session said they were surprised by the vehemence of Abdullah's remarks about Syria. They noted that he opened the meeting with his concerns about efforts by Syria and Hezbollah to undermine the peace process with terror attacks against Israel.

And the denial:

"What was reported out of the meeting that was held between King Abdullah II and a delegation of leaders of American Jewish Organizations is not accurate," said James Tisch.

Tisch, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, was part of a delegation that met with the king in Washington.

The monarch "briefed the delegation on the peace process and the need to support Abu Mazen and the peace process," he said in reference to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

According to Tisch, Abdullah "said should any violence occur, (Israeli) Premier Ariel Sharon should not be quick to blame the Palestinian leadership."

Asma Khodr, a Jordanian government spokeswoman, confirmed the version given by Tisch and said Abdullah's "words were twisted" by the Israeli media.

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  • Written by sasa
  • From Damascus, Syria
  • From Damascus to London via Beirut. Based in and out of the central Damascene hamlet of Saroujah. News and feelings from the streets every day. I'm talking rubbish? Leave a comment. Welcome to the information democracy. See below for info about this site.
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