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Israel Approves Biden-Sponsored Maritime Deal With Lebanon; Netanyahu Slams Agreement as “Historic Surrender” to Hezbollah 

Israel Approves Biden-Sponsored Maritime Deal With Lebanon; Netanyahu Slams Agreement as “Historic Surrender” to Hezbollah 

Former U.S. envoy to Israel David Friedman: The “dubious” deal “another colossal foreign policy blunder by the Biden administration.” 

Less than three weeks before the national election, Israel’s caretaker government has approved the maritime deal with neighboring Lebanon, which U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration proposed.

Ahead of the November 1 general election, interim Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s government “approved the principles of the Lebanon maritime border agreement in a majority vote, and was presented to the Knesset where it could be reviewed by legislators during the next two weeks before returning to the government for final a final vote,” the Israeli broadcaster Ynet News reported Wednesday.

The agreement finalized by the Biden White House gives Iran-backed Lebanese state and Hezbollah terrorist group a share of Israel’s undersea natural gas reserves in the Mediterranean Sea, critics say.

The Biden administration negotiated the deal, which obliges Israel to give up sovereignty over hundreds of miles of undersea territory amid Hezbollah’s repeated terror threats against Israel’s offshore energy infrastructure.

The sharpest criticism of the Biden-backed deal came from former Prime Minister and opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu. By approving the agreement, the current government “took our sovereign land and gave it away,” he said.

He warned that the Biden-sponsored deal is a “historic surrender” to the Lebanese government and Iran-backed terrorist militia Hezbollah.

Israeli TV channel i24News reported the former prime minister’s remarks:

Israel’s Opposition Leader Benjamin Netanyahu blasted the agreement announced earlier on Tuesday by Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid on delimiting the maritime border with Lebanon.

In response to Lapid’s proclamation that the agreement was “historic,” the former prime minister called the US-brokered deal a “historic surrender.”

Netanyahu said Lapid conceded to “all of Hezbollah’s demands, claiming that Lapid was “frightened” and thus “surrendered.”

Some members of the ruling coalition backed Netanyahu’s stance.

The charge against the deal was led by Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, who blasted the interim government for rushing to ratify the agreement just weeks ahead of the election. The Times of Israel reported:

An overwhelming majority of cabinet ministers backed the agreement, though there was some opposition, including from Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, who earlier abstained when the security cabinet voted to send the deal to the full cabinet.

She reportedly suggested hypocrisy by her fellow ministers during the cabinet meeting, arguing they would have forcefully condemned a vote on the deal shortly before elections if opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu was still premier.

“If Netanyahu brought the same deal two weeks before elections and you were in the opposition, you would burn down the country,” she was quoted as saying by Channel 12 news. “You would call him [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan and discuss the destruction of democracy.”

Biden’s Latest “Colossal Foreign Policy Blunder”

Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, who served under President Donald Trump, slammed the “dubious” deal as “another colossal foreign policy blunder by the Biden administration.”

Friedman disclosed that the deal sponsored by the current White House had negated all the progress made on the issue by the Trump administration. He added that Biden’s agreement favors Lebanon and offers nothing in return to Israel.

“We spent years trying to broker a deal between Israel and Lebanon on the disputed maritime gas fields. Got very close with proposed splits of 55-60% for Lebanon and 45-40% for Israel,” the former envoy wrote last week on Twitter. “No one then imagined 100% to Lebanon and 0% to Israel.”

Netanyahu Seeks Referendum

The deal has now been presented to the parliament, where the current coalition government lost its majority in May — thus triggering a snap election. “Israeli law requires the govt to bring agreements requiring the concession of territory to the Knesset where it has to be passed by a 2/3 majority. Failing that, it needs to be put before the public in a referendum,” prominent Israeli commentator Caroline Glick explained on Twitter.

Netanyahu has a slight lead in the opinion polls ahead of the November 1 election and has backed the proposal to put the deal to a referendum.

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Comments

Milly, I asked you this elsewhere. What is your stance on this new PM and particularly his stance on this deal?

    Milhouse in reply to healthguyfsu. | October 13, 2022 at 5:35 pm

    Lapid is an idiot. He’s always been an idiot, and will always be one. He also has no qualifications, of any kind and in any field. His military service was spent as a journalist, just like Ted Kennedy.

    His father Tommy was someone I often vehemently disagreed with, but there was no questioning his intelligence or his talents. Or his patriotism. Yair is more moderate politically than his father was, but he’s just a lightweight. And patriotism is just another virtue he lacks any noticeable amount of.

    When this ridiculous platypus of a government was formed I was in favor of it, because I was sure it would never last long enough for Lapid to actually become PM. I thought that once it took office Netanyahu would finally do the right thing and resign, and then the Likud could elect a new leader who would easily put together a large right-wing coalition and topple it. But Netanyahu proved more stubborn and self-centered than even I had anticipated, and this is the result.

Looks like CBS still can’t deal with the results of the Six Day War.

    Milhouse in reply to txvet2. | October 13, 2022 at 5:38 pm

    What do you mean? The map shows Israel’s current legal borders, including the Golan Heights. Judaea, Benjamin, and Samaria are outside Israel’s legal borders — and by that I mean Israeli law, not anyone else’s

      Stuytown in reply to Milhouse. | October 14, 2022 at 2:55 am

      The map is displayed in a way that one may surmise that Jordan controls “the West Bank.” As you know, Milhouse, Israeli law applies in Israeli settlements in J&S and in Area C. In any case, our friend txvet2 is closer to the truth than you are, as the one who controls the land certainly has a higher claim that should be indicated in some way in any graphic representation.

        Milhouse in reply to Stuytown. | October 14, 2022 at 5:20 pm

        No, the map is not “displayed in a way that one may surmise that Jordan controls” J/B/S. it is colored a lighter shade of grey than Jordan is, indicating that it’s separate from Jordan. But it’s not part of Israel.

        Israeli law does not apply in Area C. It’s directly ruled by the Defense Minister, applying Jordanian law. Even in Jewish towns and villages (“settlements”) Israeli law doesn’t apply directly; the Defense Minister has basically dictatorial powers. More to the point, Israeli law recognizes all of J/B/S as being outside Israel’s borders. The CBS map simply follows that. So long as Israel refuses to annex J/B/S you can’t expect CBS to be “more Catholic than the Pope”, or more zionist than Israel! I wish it were otherwise.

Gee, I wonder what they’ll do with all the money they’re set to receive under this “deal.”

Steven Brizel | October 13, 2022 at 1:51 pm

This treaty was an exercise in appeasement by Israel’s currrent PM who quixotically believes in a two state solution

BierceAmbrose | October 13, 2022 at 2:28 pm

From that map (via CBS, even), Lebanon gets a share of gas fields well outside the disputed border; well inside undisputed Israeli territory.

What was the dispute again: just gimmie ‘ cause I want it?!

BierceAmbrose | October 13, 2022 at 2:35 pm

I call disinformation on that map. Shenanigans!

Using victim-locus geometry(*), and the appeasement projection, those gas fields are in Lebanese territory;

Israel should be grateful to get any of … a resource they discovered and are developing, as the other folks are not. What, do they think doing the work gives them the right to anything they’ve done?

(*) In Victim-Ometry system, “straight” lines in standard geometry are curved in locus around victim and oppression claims, similar to curved geometries that better describe “curved” space from gravity. The Appeasement (map) Projection is self-explanatory.

BierceAmbrose | October 13, 2022 at 2:39 pm

Looks to me like Israel would have no claim to those gas fields, or the “disputed territory” off shore if the combined surrounding armies hadn’t invaded Israel and lost, in 1948, the 6-day war, and … i loose track.

Pep[e invade to wipe out Israel “from the river to the sea”; the invaded country captures some of the invaders’ territory.

“You have no claim based on what you took when we invaded you to grab your territory.” Seems weak.

I do wonder what claims and concessions on Ukraine territory and resources will be sufficient to justly settle with the Russian invaders.

    JohnSmith100 in reply to BierceAmbrose. | October 13, 2022 at 6:51 pm

    How many Israelis lost their lives in the 6 day war? Some of the gas or petroleum should be processed into weapon grade material and returned to them whenever they get out of line.

BierceAmbrose | October 13, 2022 at 2:44 pm

I, myself, have annexed, oh, look it’s just a little chunk where the gas fields are, for The Duchy of Grand Fenwick, of which I am head.

I have no gripe with the division between Israel, and Lebanon, of their 25% cut of production in my territory, for production and security services. Security ought to be easy since my “partners” include the largest security threat to our — I mean my — territory and production.

All they have to do is stay home, n not blow stuff up. I’m willing to pay them for some protection from those disruptions. This is how we do things, now, right?

Such a mistake

Horrible

Steven Brizel | October 13, 2022 at 3:17 pm

This was a terrible deal-you don’t give away precious natural resources to your sworn enemy

    The deal is meaningless. The Cabinet approval makes it his government’s policy but to be binding on any subsequent government it has to be approved by their parliament, the Knesset. There’s no chance of that happening before the coming election.

    Whether anyone in Dementia Joe’s administration understands how a parliamentary system works, is questionable.

This deal is illegal. A caretaker government has no authority to make such a deal, and it is not binding on the next government. And that’s even before considering the explicit law that requires a referendum before giving away any sovereign Israeli territory.

The question is whether the next government will be able to do anything about it. Legally, of course it will; but physically and politically, and without starting a new war.

If it turns into anouther war, then there is cause to kick the s out of them again. I do not think anything short of death will cure Arab hatred.

I confess that I’m perplexed as to why Lapid agreed to this deal. Is he attempting to ingratiate himself with Biden and the Dumb-o-crats, by signing an agreement, and, thus (in his mind) heading off criticism — criticism that we all know the Dumb-o-crats will sling at Israelis, anyway, no matter what they do.

Was Lapid under some pressure to sign? I can’t see why Israel would agree to such a generous giveaway to Hezb’allah.

I studied Law of the Sea extensively, and was the Law Review Editor for my University’s annual Law of the Seas issue, a very popular best seller among law reviews. For the life of me, I do not understand Lebanon’s claim of a slanted boundary line into Israeli waters without so much as an intervening surface rock to justify the same.

    Barry in reply to puhiawa. | October 14, 2022 at 1:04 pm

    puhiawa, apparently your education left out the number one rule – when the marxists pick a side, that side can define boundaries in any way they desire.

    Now your education is complete 🙂