Report: Officials Express Reservations over Opening Lebanese Embassy in Jerusalemإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Lebanese officials expressed reservation regarding a suggestion to open a Lebanese embassy in Jerusalem citing concerns the move could be misinterpreted, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Friday.
Speaker Nabih Berri said the move is “highly dangerous and indirectly serves Netanyahu's remarks when he said two days ago that states, besides the US, will open embassies in Jerusalem,” the daily quoted Berri as saying.
Early this month, US President Donald Trump took a decision where he recognized Jerusalem as capital of Israel and kicked off the process of moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Berri added: “Personally I believe that Palestine is one and Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine. There is no such thing as West or East Jerusalem. Therefore opening a Lebanese embassy in Jerusalem violates this principle.”
Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil announced Thursday that he has submitted a memo to the government to “establish a Lebanese embassy in Jerusalem, the capital of Palestine.”
In that regard, Prime Minister Saad Hariri said: “Lebanon agreed to the Arab Peace Initiative in 2002 and must remain in line with this matter.”
The Arab Peace Initiative is a proposal for an end to the Arab–Israeli conflict that was endorsed by the Arab League in 2002 at the Beirut Summit and re-endorsed at the 2007 Arab League summit and at the 2017 Arab League summit.
The initiative calls for normalizing relations between the Arab region and Israel, in exchange for a full withdrawal by Israel from the occupied territories (including East Jerusalem) and a "just settlement" of the Palestinian refugee problem based on UN Resolution 194.
In a long debate at the Cabinet's Thursday meeting, Minister of Women Affairs Jean Oghassapian also “asked for caution to avoid confusion and misinterpretation,” according to the daily.
For his part, Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil said although the intentions (of Bassil) are trustworthy but the subject requires “deep constitutional and political debate that the circumstances are not prepared for at this time. It is not so simple. It has a political, ideological, intellectual and cultural dimensions, and we oppose it.”
Khalil's stance got the nod from Ministers of: State for Parliament Affairs Ali Qanso, Industry Hussein Hajj Hassan, Youth and Sports Mohammed Fneish, Public Works and Transport Ghazi Zoaiter, Education Mawaran Hamadeh and Telecommunications Jamal al-Jarrah.
Later on Thursday, the Cabinet formed a ministerial panel led by Hariri to study Bassil's suggestion. But al-Joumhouria said forming the panel is a prelude to dismissing the proposal.