Gantz: I hear positive voices in Lebanon talking about peace with Israel

The Defense Minister made the comments while on a tour of the IDF's Lethal Arrow drill simulating war with Hezbollah.

Israeli soldiers stand near the area where Israeli military personnel continue their work on exposing and thwarting cross-border tunnels dug from Lebanon into Israel, as seen on the Israeli side of the border, near the town of Metula December 19, 2018 (photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN / REUTERS)
Israeli soldiers stand near the area where Israeli military personnel continue their work on exposing and thwarting cross-border tunnels dug from Lebanon into Israel, as seen on the Israeli side of the border, near the town of Metula December 19, 2018
(photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN / REUTERS)
Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Tuesday welcomed the reported words of the daughter of Lebanon’s president, who said she could envision a peace deal with Israel after border disputes and issues concerning the Palestinians were resolved.
Gantz spoke during a visit to a large-scale IDF exercise simulating war with Hezbollah and he said he had heard “positive voices in Lebanon that are maybe talking about peace and relations with Israel. These are welcome words.”
Claudine Aoun Roukoz, the daughter of Lebanese President Michel Aoun, said Lebanon was “counting on solving these problems to advance our economy.”
Lebanon is in a deep, years-long financial crisis made worse by the devastating explosion at the Beirut Port in early August.
“After these problems are solved, I do not mind that the Lebanese state makes peace with Israel, after the demarcation and the guarantee of resources,” she told Al-Jadeed.
“I defend the interests of my country, Lebanon, first. Are we required to remain in a state of war? I do not have an ideological dispute with anyone, but my dispute is political.”
“I defend the sovereignty and independence of my country, but today we ask who is the victim? They are the Lebanese people,” she added.
The two neighbors are in talks to demarcate their maritime border. Beirut has stood by its position that the talks are merely a technical issue signifying nothing beyond this.
During his visit to the exercise Gantz warned Lebanon of dire consequences if the Iranian-backed terror group were to launch another attack.
“The citizens of Lebanon must remember that Hezbollah, not Israel, is their problem, because if Hezbollah attacks the state of Israel, Lebanon will pay the price for any aggression. We are here to be ready for the moment that I hope, will not come,” he said.
The exercise was taking place with heightened tensions along the border with Lebanon and the IDF has been bracing for a possible attack by Hezbollah after an alleged Israeli airstrike in Syria on July 20 killed one of its members.
“Our enemies do not rest – not in the north, not in the south, not close by or far away – and we will continue to protect the citizens of the State of Israel, we will continue to deter our enemies, we will continue to harm their intensification processes and we will be ready for any battle,” he said.

Tzvi Joffre contributed to this report.