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Netanyahu slams Lebanon deal as a ‘historic surrender’ to Hezbollah, Iran

Carrie Keller-Lynn is a political and legal correspondent for The Times of Israel

Likud chief and opposition leader MK Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to the media in Tel Aviv, October 3, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Likud chief and opposition leader MK Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to the media in Tel Aviv, October 3, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu reaffirms his opposition to the maritime border agreement with Lebanon, calling it a “historic surrender” that sends money to Hezbollah and enables Iranian involvement in the Qana gas field.

In a recorded address, Netanyahu says that Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz “gave Hezbollah our territorial waters, our sovereign territory, our gas, and in the end they succumbed to another Hezbollah demand to allow Iran to drill gas off the coast of Israel. They are bringing Iran close to our northern border.”

The deal, pushed by Lapid and lambasted by his political enemies, relinquishes Israeli claims to the disputed Qana gas field in exchange for recognition of its longstanding buoy-demarcated coastal maritime border with Lebanon as well as yet-to-be-determined royalties from Qana.

Qana’s extractable hydrocarbon resources have yet to be determined, but the field is potentially worth billions of dollars. Netanyahu claims this money will flow into the coffers of the Hezbollah terror group.

“Gantz and Lapid are giving a huge grant to Hezbollah,” he says. “This money goes from Lebanon straight into [Hezbollah leader Hassan] Nasrallah’s hands.”

In addition to slamming the deal for its substance, Netanyahu criticizes its process, saying that Lapid’s caretaker government lacks the legitimacy to commit Israel to the deal.

“How do you even allow such an agreement to be signed by a transitional government a few days before the elections?” he says.

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