Lebanon and Israel
Sheikh Bashir defined his attitude towards Israel clearly : "This is our answer with regard to our relations or our dealings with Israel : We are not anybody's agents or lackeys, we are Lebanese. As for the Israeli arms present in the country, this can be explained by the fact that some villages might have felt themselves threatened, and were cornered into getting supplies from anywhere that might be convenient including Israel. When a person feels threatened by danger, he will accept help from the devil...! A very critical situation would develop if we were forced to turn towards Israel for help..."
As for his attachment to the South of Lebanon, Bashir expressed this by appealing to all "to work for the preservation of the Lebanese identity in the South. This can best be done by a State initiative to provide them this neglected region with the basic social services, education, and development, all of which are sorely lacking, and to ask the State to restore its full sovereignty over the South, in all its forms."
Concerning the Syro-Palestino-Israeli conflict on the battlefields of Lebanon, it was obvious that the three belligerents were fighting to impose the solution that would best serve their interests, exploiting the Lebanese situation in the process. Whereas what Bashir was concerned with, first and foremost, was to find solutions that would enable the Lebanese to recover their land and save the people from their present tribulations. In this connection he said : "It is now a matter of competition, a race between Syrian moves, Palestinian moves and Israeli action, and the one who wins the race will be able to solve the Lebanese problem radically. As for us, we have taken a decision : we want to recover our territorial integrity, our national sovereignty and the freedom of our people."
Before the Israeli incursion into Lebanon, Bashir invited the Lebanese to solve their problems through dialogue : "We want to reach a satisfactory outcome of our crisis through dialogue, because if we attain a solution through coercion, it will mean nothing..."
He advised the Lebanese people not to put too much store on the arrival of the Israeli army to settle their problems, because they may come, just as they may not... And if they do come, then maybe their presence might be contrary to our interests... there is nothing to guarantee that their coming might be consistent with our own outlook..."
When the Israelis decided on invading Lebanon, Bashir called the people's attention, saying : "We should all realize that the Israeli operation was carried out at the time and place chosen by them... if Israel has entered our country, it is not to save us, but to further its own interests, and for purely Israeli considerations. We mean absolutely nothing to them, it is their security that comes first." Just before the Israeli incursion, Bashir defined his standpoint thus : "We have decided to rally around President Sarkis, and to place all our possibilities at his service ; we shall cooperate with him, and avoid all political or military involvement..."
And after the Israeli invasion, he said : "Israel's battle is not our own : the Israelis have come to settle their own scores not ours." When he was asked his opinion about the signature of a peace treaty with Israel, he explained his views on the matter in conjunction with the following interrelated factors :
-Firstly : No unilateral decision has been taken in this matter.
-Secondly : A strong Lebanese Government should be in power, one that is capable of dealing with this subject.
-Thirdly : There should be a prior understanding among all the Lebanese concerning this.
-Fourthly : We should reach an understanding with all friendly Arab states about it
-Fifthly : An understanding with all other friendly governments is also necessary.
Bashir explained that two basic principles would have to govern any action of this kind :
-Firstly : Not one inch of Lebanese territory should be ceded in the peace process to any party whatsoever.
-Secondly : The armed presence of the Israeli forces would still be considered as a foreign occupation, because such a presence, along with that of other armed foreign forces on Lebanese soil would be undesirable, and should cease. An end must be put to all alien presence in our country, and the sooner, the better."