Gantz: Israel ready to help Lebanon in the midst of economic crisis

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

“As an Israeli, as a Jew and as a human being, it hurts to see the images of hungry people on the streets of Lebanon,” Gantz wrote on Twitter. “Israel has offered aid to Lebanon in the past and even today we stand ready to act and encourage other countries to reach out to Lebanon so that it can once again prosper and emerge from its state of crisis. “.

Lebanon suffers from a worsening economic crisis, with violence and protests erupting in cities across the country as basic services collapse. Power cuts and gas shortages are now commonplace in the country.

More than half of the Lebanese population now lives in poverty. According to the World Bank, Lebanon’s financial crisis is likely to rank in the top 10, possibly even the top three, most severe crises in the world since the mid-1800s. A World Bank report released in early June warned that “increasingly difficult socio-economic conditions risked systemic national failures with regional and potentially global effects.”

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah has said in recent weeks that Lebanon’s gasoline crisis could be resolved within days if the country simply accepts Iranian oil shipments, which are under sanctions under international law.

The Hezbollah chief has 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 oil tankers close to Israeli shores.

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

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

In an interview with Al-Jadeed TV in October last year, Roukoz said that if border disputes with Israel and issues with Palestinian refugees were resolved, she “wouldn’t care if the Lebanese state made peace. with Israel, after the demarcation and the guarantee of resources. “

In August last year, in response to a question about Lebanon’s possibility of making peace with Israel, Aoun said, “It depends. We have problems with Israel, and we have to resolve them first. Aoun did not specify which issues should be addressed.

Over the past year, Lebanon and Israel have conducted negotiations under the mediation of the United States regarding the maritime border between the countries’ exclusive economic zones.

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