Weekend Wrap: August 19

50 French troops arrive in Lebanon; Hizbullah hands out compensation.

weekend wrap 88 (photo credit: )
weekend wrap 88
(photo credit: )
50 French troops arrive in Lebanon Some 50 French Engineering Corps soldiers arrived in Lebanon on Saturday. France has pledged to contribute 200 soldiers to the international force to be deployed in Lebanon as part of the cease-fire agreement between Beirut and Jerusalem. Two hundred French soldiers were already present in Lebanon. Hizbullah hands out compensation At a school in south Beirut's Bourj el-Barajneh neighborhood, Hizbullah on Friday started handing out one hundred dollar bills to residents who lost their homes in the Israel-Hizbullah conflict - US$12,000 to each claimant. Applicants who had signed up for the aid earlier in the week showed up at the school, showed identification papers and only had to sign a receipt. Hizbullah workers handed residents stacks of bills from a suitcase. Hizbullah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, in a television speech on Monday shortly after the cease-fire with Israel took hold, pledged to help rebuild Lebanon and said the organization would provide money for civilians who had lost their homes to pay rent and buy furniture. Soldiers unhappy with war handling Soldiers returning from the war in Lebanon say the army was poorly prepared, slow to rescue injured comrades and suffered from a lack of supplies so dire that soldiers had to drink water from the canteens of dead enemies. "We fought for nothing. We cleared houses that will be reoccupied (by Lebanese Hizbullah guerrillas) in no time," said Ilia Marshak, a 22-year-old infantryman who spent a week inside Lebanon. Marshak said members of his unit were hindered by a lack of information, poor training and untested equipment. Swiss reject IBM-Holocaust lawsuit Switzerland's supreme court has turned down a lawsuit accusing IBM of aiding the Nazi Holocaust because too much time has elapsed, the Gypsy organization that filed the case said Friday. Gypsy International Recognition and Compensation Action said it had been given notice of the decision by the Federal Tribunal in Lausanne that the statute of limitations applied to the case. It said the court's explanation would be made public only when the ruling is released in "some weeks." Hamas: Mossad planning Mashaal hit Israel had plans to assassinate Khaled Mashaal, Hamas's Damascus-based chief, a senior official from the group claimed Thursday. Muhammad Nazal, a member of Hamas's politburo, said his group had "received a lot of information about activities by the external Israeli security intelligence service [the Mossad] to target Khaled Mashaal." "But the attempt had not entered the implementation stage," Nazal added. Kadima MKs vie for Justice Ministry The likely resignation of Haim Ramon from the Justice Ministry on Sunday created political turmoil in Kadima on Thursday as politicians lined up for the plum portfolio. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office declined to speculate about who might replace Ramon as justice minister. But Kadima officials hinted that Interior Minister Roni Bar-On, a veteran lawyer and close confidant of Olmert, could be in line for a promotion. They also mentioned the names of former justice ministers Dan Meridor and Meir Sheetrit, and Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center president Prof. Uriel Reichman. None of the candidates agreed to comment on the vacancy.