Friday, August 25, 2006

Businessmen to Sue Israel Over Losses in Lebanon

Businessmen to Sue Israel Over Losses in Lebanon

18 August 2006 RIYADH -- Saudi businessmen, who have incurred a loss of over $14 billion in Lebanon as a result of Israeli bombardment, are considering legal action against Israel for war damages. Dr. Abdullah Al-Maglouth, one of the businessmen who lost his property during Israel's war with Hezbollah, told Arab News that a group of 20 Saudi investors, including himself, would be leaving for Beirut as soon as the situation there returns to normal. "One of the problems which we are facing is that our property in Lebanon had not been insured. So we are now asking all Saudi investors that they should in future seek insurance cover for their overseas investments, especially those relating to real estate."

Saudi investment in Lebanon was valued at $14 billion, of which the real estate component accounted for $10 billion involving hotels, apartments and beach resorts. The remaining amount was channeled in industrial ventures. Al-Maglouth, who is a member of the Saudi-Lebanese Joint Committee at the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said they are exploring the possibility of suing Israel through the Lebanese government for the loss incurred by them.

The suit might be brought in the International Court of Justice at The Hague.

According to Nasser Al-Mutawa, a member of the Riyadh chamber, a group of Saudi businessmen who have investments in Lebanon was negotiating with an international law firm to claim damages from Israel. Fahd Al-Hammadi, another member of the joint Committee, said the committee would review their losses in Lebanon with the help of the Beirut government.

The rebuilding of Lebanon could take more than five years, he observed.

By Javid Hassan, Arab News

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