Lebanese Foreign Affairs Minister: I don't deny Israel's right to exist

Lebanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Gebran Bassil says during a television interview Israel "has a right to exist in safety", causing controversy.

By REUTERS, YASSER OKBI/MAARIV
December 28, 2017 17:39
Lebanese Foreign Affairs Minister: I don't deny Israel's right to exist

Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil attends a meeting with Italian counterpart Angelino Alfano in Rome. (photo credit: REMO CASILLI/ REUTERS)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

 

BEIRUT - Lebanese politicians on Thursday criticized Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil over a television interview in which he was shown saying that Lebanon did not have an ideological problem with Israel and was not against it having security.

Bassil, who is the in-law of current Lebanese president Michel Aoun, further said that ‘‘I don’t deny Israel [has a] right to exist. We are not blind. We are a people who wants to live with others.’’
The comments, made to al-Mayadin television channel during a long interview on Tuesday, had just started attracting attention.

Lebanon has no official relations with Israel and tensions have risen this year between Israel and Lebanon's Hezbollah group. Israel and Hezbollah, the group it describes as the greatest security threat on its border, have fought wars against each other.

A former government minister called on Bassil to resign and a member of parliament also criticized him.

In the official statement, Bassil claimed that his words were ‘’used out of context,” that the Lebanese stand on the matter of the Arab-Israeli conflict is “steadfast” and that the Lebanese still stand behind the Arab Peace Initiative first announced in Beirut in March 2002 and reaffirmed in 2007 and 2017. The minister claimed to be in favor of the view that Israel is “the enemy of Lebanon” and that nothing said during his recent interview contradicted that.

Al-Mayadin is a television network that is closely related to Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed terrorist group that declares itself an enemy of the state of Israel.


Israel has targeted Hezbollah positions several times this year in Syria, where the group, which is in Lebanon's coalition government, is fighting on the Syrian government's side in the civil war against rebels and ISIS.

Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said this month that after the group's success in Syria, where rebels are on the back foot and Islamic State has been militarily defeated, it will focus on its confrontation with Israel.

He called on allied Shi'ite militia in the region to join Hezbollah in developing a strategy against Israel.

The al-Baqer Brigade, a militia in Syria, posted a picture on its Facebook page on Dec. 26 of what it said was one of its commanders identified as Haj Hamza Abu al-Abbas visiting the Israeli border in southern Lebanon.

An Iraqi militia commander also appeared in a video recently on Lebanon's border with Israel, in what was seen in Lebanon as a demonstration of the growing clout of Hezbollah and its regional allies.

Hagay HaCohen contributed to this report.

Related Content

Iran FM Zarif, EU Foreign Affairs Rep. Mogherini, and Iranian and Russian officials in Vienna 2015
June 17, 2019
Iran to further scale back compliance with nuke deal

By YONAH JEREMY BOB

Cookie Settings