Beirut – After 4 years Hezbollah returns 17 buildings to owners

(The Daily Star, October 1, 2010)

The Waad Project to reconstruct Beirut’s southern suburbs – known as Dahiyeh – and south Lebanon, which were badly damaged as a result of the summer war of 2006, handed over 17 renovated buildings back to their owners.

A celebration, attended by Loyalty to the Resistance bloc MP Hussein al-Moussawi and Waad director general Hassan Jichi, was held in Haret Hreik, Dahiyeh to present the buildings to owners. The two figures took a tour of the rebuilt structures. In total, 419 living flats and commercial stores were rebuilt.

Jichi explained that the number of completed buildings had risen to 143, and said 80 percent of the work had been finished. He hoped the project would be finalized by 2011.

Waad is a Hizbullah-affiliated reconstruction program formed after the 2006 war with Israel. It gets its funding from governmental and private investors, as well as contributions from Hizbullah.

Jichi apologized to Haret Hreik residents for any delays in building works and asked them to be patient like they had been in 2006.

Moussawi also asked residents to be patient and to keep fighting because “Lebanon’s battle with Israel is ongoing and 2006 was not the last settlement between the two countries.”

“We are targeted and we should continue to fight on the battlefield and stay standing in terms of rebuilding,” he said.

Moussawi then questioned why the resistance was being targeted by some Lebanese and argued that the resistance had sacrificed its martyrs for the service of Lebanon.

“We don’t want to overthrow the state. In every war there are losses and gains. Those who lose are defeated and those who win rule the nation. We didn’t follow this rule and we never will,” he said, stressing that the resistance never mistreated any Israeli agents and has always preserved the state.