Gantz: Israel is ready to help Lebanon during the economic crisis

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Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Sunday offered to help Lebanon as Israel’s neighbor continues to suffer from a worsening economic crisis.

“As an Israeli, as a Jew and as a person, my heart aches when I see the pictures of people starving on the streets of Lebanon,” Gantz wrote on Twitter. “Israel has offered help to Lebanon in the past and today we are ready to act and encourage other countries to lend a helping hand to Lebanon so that it flourishes again and comes out of its crisis.”

Lebanon is suffering from a deepening economic crisis, with violence and protests erupting in cities across the country as basic services collapse. Power outages and gas shortages are now the order of the day in the country.

Over half of the Lebanese population now lives in poverty. According to the World Bank, the financial crisis in Lebanon is likely to be in the top 10, possibly even in the top 3 of the most serious crises in the world since the mid-19th century. A World Bank report in early June warned that “worsening socio-economic conditions risk systemic national failures with regional and potentially global repercussions”.

Hezbollah boss Hassan Nasrallah has declared in recent weeks that the gasoline crisis in Lebanon could be resolved within a few days if the country only accepted Iranian oil supplies that are sanctioned under international law.

The Hezbollah leader said that Hezbollah will eventually negotiate directly with the Iranian government and import Iranian oil through the port of Beirut if the Lebanese government does not “begin to take responsibility”. Such a move could bring Iranian fuel tankers near the Israeli coast.

This is not the first time Israel has offered aid to Lebanon in times of crisis.

After a massive explosion that devastated Beirut last August, killing dozens and injuring thousands, then Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved humanitarian and medical aid to Lebanon and instructed the National Security Council to assign then-UN envoy Nickolay Mladenov to find out how Israel could help.
Gantz and other Israeli officials also repeated Israel’s offer of help at the time.
Both Lebanese President Michel Aoun and Aoun’s daughter Claudine Aoun Roukoz have expressed openness to some form of peace with Israel in the past.

In an interview with Al-Jadeed TV in October last year, Roukoz said that she would not mind if border disputes with Israel and problems with Palestinian refugees were resolved, “that the Lebanese state will make peace with Israel after the demarcation and guarantee” . of resources. “

In August last year, Aoun replied to a question about whether Lebanon would consider making peace with Israel: “That depends. We have problems with Israel and we have to solve them first.” Aoun did not specify what problems needed to be resolved.

Last year Lebanon and Israel negotiated the sea border between the countries’ exclusive economic zones, brokered by the US.





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