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Sami Gemayel

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Sami Gemayel

Samy Gemayel
Born Samy Amine Gemayel
(1980-12-03) 3 December 1980 (age 33)
Bikfaya, Beirut
Nationality Lebanese
Occupation Lawyer
Home town Bikfaya, Lebanon
Political party Phalange Party
Religion Maronite Catholic
Parents Amine Gemayel
Joyce Gemayel
Relatives Bachir Gemayel (uncle)

Sami Gemayel (Arabic: سامي الجميّل‎, born 1980) is a Lebanese politician and a senior member of the Phalange party.

Early life and education

Samy was born into a prominent Maronite Catholic family in Lebanon on 3 December 1980. He is the son of former Lebanese President and current Phalange leader Amine Gemayel and Joyce Gemayel. His older brother, Pierre, was a Member of Parliament and the Minister of Industry until his assassination on 21 November 2006.[1] His grandfather, Pierre Gemayel, founded the Phalange party in 1936.[2] Sami is also the nephew of the assassinated former President-elect Bachir Gemayel.

Gemayel received a bachelor of arts degree in law in 2003 and an master's degree in public law in 2005 from Saint Joseph University in Beirut.[3]

Early political activism

Samy Gemayel was the head of the student movement of the Phalange Party as a law student at Saint Joseph University from 1999 to the early 2000s. His policies were considered more conservative and nationalistic than those of his father Amine Gemayel, and in 2006 he launched the Loubnanouna (Our Lebanon) Movement, separate from the Phalange Party. Sami's movement aimed at reuniting the politically divided Lebanese Christians.[4] He is an outspoken critic of both Hezbollah's military wing and the Michel Aoun-led Free Patriotic Movement, the main Christian party in opposition to March 14 Movement. In a 2006 interview following the Israeli-Hezbollah War, Gemayel accused Hezbollah of wanting "to implement an Islamic state in Lebanon," also adding that "Hezbollah is functioning as [its own] state: political power, economical power, social allegiance, military power, a region where it imposes its laws... all the attributes of a state."[5] He expressed his hope that Lebanese Christians would reunite under similar political stances, and stressed that the Phalange is open to all Christians.[6]

After the assassination of his brother Pierre Amine Gemayel in November 2006, Samy rejoined the Phalange Party to head the Phalangist Youth and Student Council and later, became the coordinator of the Phalange Central Committee.[3]

Political career

Early in 2009, the Phalange announced that it struck a deal with Michel Murr for a political alliance in the Matn District in the Lebanese parliamentary elections that were to be held in June. They declared that Samy Gemayel would run for a seat in parliament as one of two Phalangists hoping to represent the Matn District of Lebanon, the other being Elie Karami. On 3 April 2009, Sami officially announced his candidacy and again stated that "Christian unity is the only solution" to Lebanon's problems.[7]

After his nomination in February 2009, Samy had constantly stressed the importance of all Lebanese voting in the upcoming elections. On 21 February, he stated that the Christian voters would make the difference in a choice between "Lebanon, the country of Resistance and the main state to be affected by the Arab-Israeli conflict or Lebanon, the non-aligned and democratic country."[8] Gemayel has also stated that the Phalange would not make any agreement or reconcile with the Free Patriotic Movement as long as the latter continued to stand in support of Hezbollah bearing arms.[9]

Following a long count, Sami Gemayel was elected into parliament.[10] Of seven seats possible to win in the Matn District, one went to Sami, one to ally Michel Murr, and the remaining to the Free Patriotic Movement led by Michel Aoun.[11]

Political views

Within Lebanon, Sami is known for his staunch far right-wing stances. In May 2010, he criticized Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, asking him if he thought that all Lebanese who shared the Phalange's views were "Israeli agents."[12] On 8 September 2010, he caused controversy when he claimed that "he is not ashamed that his party dealt with Israel against Syria at a certain stage." Sami insisted that given the situation in which they were facing both PLO militiamen and Syrian troops, the Phalange had no choice but to accept aid from Israel. At the same time, he stated that any Lebanese foreign collaboration that took place since the end of the civil war in 1990 is not justifiable and that those who did collaborate should be considered traitors and foreign agents.[13]

In December 2009, he expressed hope that Lebanon would play a positive, neutral role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as long as neither side attacked Lebanon. Gemayel also said that Lebanese-Syrian relations could only be "perfect" once Syria releases the Lebanese detainees in their prisons and settles its boarder disputes with Lebanon.[14]

External links

  • Lebanese Kataeb Party, official site (Arabic) (English)


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