Israel's Gantz Praises 'Positive Voices' from Lebanon


Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Tuesday welcomed "positive voices" from Lebanon open to "peace with Israel," ahead of the resumption of unprecedented maritime border talks between the two states.

Lebanon and Israel, still technically at war, held an initial round of negotiations on their disputed maritime border under U.N. and U.S. auspices on October 14.

The talks resuming Wednesday are a rare official interaction between countries with no diplomatic ties.

Both sides insist they are narrowly focused on resolving the maritime dispute to allow for oil and gas exploration and do not mark a step towards normalization.

During a tour of northern Israel, Gantz said: "I am hearing positive voices coming out of Lebanon, who are even talking about peace with Israel, who are working with us on things like determining maritime borders."

Gantz, also Israel's alternate prime minister, did not specify which Lebanese comments he was referring to.

But they came a day after Claudine Aoun, daughter of Lebanese President Michel Aoun, told Lebanon's al-Jadeed TV that peace with Israel would be conceivable if issues between the countries were resolved.

"We have the maritime border dispute, the issue of Palestinian refugees, and another topic which is more important which is the issue of natural resources: water, oil and natural gas which Lebanon is depending on to advance its economy," she said.

When asked directly if she would object to a peace treaty with Israel, she responded: "why would I object?"

"Are we supposed to stay in a state of war?... I don't have doctrinal differences with anyone... I have political differences."

Iran-backed Hizbullah, a major force in Lebanese politics, has criticized the composition of the Lebanese negotiating team.

Israel and Hizbullah last fought a war in 2006, but the sides still exchange sporadic cross-border fire.

Gantz's comments came with Israel deepening its Arab ties through a series of U.S.-brokered deals.

The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have established diplomatic relations with Israel, breaking decades of Arab League consensus against normalization with Israel until the Palestinian conflict is resolved.

Sudan has said it also intends to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel.

Comments 15
Missing arturo 27 October 2020, 21:09

Hezbollah would need to be overthrown and replaced by a democratic leader for peace to happen as Hezbollah has "doctrinal" issues with Israel.

Missing phillipo 27 October 2020, 23:00

Arturo, what you are actually saying is that Hizballah rules Lebanon, and as long as this situation continues there is no chance of even starting peace talks with Israel.

Missing 27 October 2020, 23:54

With or without Hezbollah and as long as there is some democracy in Lebanon, there will not be a peace treaty or normalization until a just and fair Israel- Palestine agreement.

Missing opinion101 28 October 2020, 03:18

Hezbollah doesn't care about Palestinians. They only care about what big mumma days back in their old country Iran. Hezbollah murder other Muslims when told to do so. Look at their involvement in Syria. Iraq. Yemen and Iran during the spring uprising. God knows how many other Muslims they've killed. But hey as long as the Palestinians are OK...

Thumb thepatriot 28 October 2020, 10:42

AHAHHA @Arabdemocrat...
Obviously you are not Lebanese!
We have paid with blood for the palestinian cause, and we have fought Palestinians who thought that we were an extention of their territory!
Palestinians can go to hell! They are the croot of all our problems...

Thumb thepatriot 28 October 2020, 10:43


Missing 29 October 2020, 08:03

يا باتريوت ... لبناني من اب لبناني و ام لبنانيه الأكثرية من الشعب اللبناني لن يقبل سلاما و لا تطبيعا مع إسرائيل بدون سلام عادل مع الفلسطينيين

Missing lebanonlibanfirst 28 October 2020, 00:03

Lebanon shouldn’t have to pay this price when you see the rich Gulf States all signing peace deals with Israel, not to mention Jordan, Palestine’s nearest neighbour. I’ sorry to say but the reality is that an agreement will never considered fair and just to the Palestinians.

Missing kazan 28 October 2020, 08:10

True injustice to the Palestinians, objective history books tell a lot of injustice throughout history; no doubt very sad; unfortunately selfishness and greed of mankind are stronger than compassion and honesty, for the affected people the pain and grief is a grieving process, over time the pain will be less, but the memory cannot be forgotten it takes generations. for our region we have no choice we have seen enough misery, it is a bitter pill, but we better accept

Missing phillipo 28 October 2020, 08:48

Why do you think that the Palestinians in Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and Jordan should be any different to all the descendents of other Moslems/Arabs refugees now spread around the world.Decendents of the many millions of Moslems who were displaced from India are now fully fledged citizens of Pakistan and Bangla Desh, tens of thousands of Syrian who fled the civil war in their country are now fully fledged citizens in the EU, not to mentions the tens of thousands of descendents of Palestinians who are now citizens of many South American countries.
So again, why should those descendents in the camps continue living in the 20th C. whilst their cousins spread around the world look forward to an enlightened 21st C.

Missing kazan 28 October 2020, 08:21

It will be an achievement when Lebanon will be at peace with itself

Thumb chrisrushlau 28 October 2020, 14:14

It is astonishing that AFP, one-third financed by the French government, thinks any readers of any of its customer-periodicals would welcome the return of their colonial taskmasters. The "deepening of Arab ties" cannot take place until Arabs slide out of the grasp of European-backed despots, and then let's see Israel make some peace treaties. I suspect none of today's commenters would like to see Macron riding through Beirut in a French tank. Much less Bennie Gantz. Old times never be forgotten, look away, Dixie land.

Missing kazan 28 October 2020, 16:22

Phillipo: we have different opinions,I talk about the Palestinians people who lived in Palestina now Israel, I am not talking about muslims(btw there are Christians Palestinians) nor about Arabs, the words brothers are empty words , Europeans are finally united under the EU but are no brothers , you mention other miseries Pakistan/India etc..does this justify injustice to the Palestinians? The palestinians leaders were the worst you can imagine, they made it easy to see all palestinians as terrorists.
Many young intellectual Europeans are aware that the Palestinians paid the price for the holocaust, and if you try to be honest to yourself you will agree. And you know that many intellectual Israelis share my opinion , let me say it better I started thinking this way reading comments of prominent Israelis on this topic. Bottom line I understand where you are coming from, please don't talk about enlightenment, start by yourself.

Missing phillipo 28 October 2020, 17:26

Kazan there are definitely points there that I agree with, but as you know, all this trouble could have been avoided if the Arab States had accepted the UN voted on 29th November to established an Arab and a Jewish state next to each other in the territory of the British Mandate.
Just look at what the Jews have made of their state and try to imagine that the Arabs / Palestinians could have reached exactly the same level.

Default-user-icon cocoman (Guest) 29 October 2020, 07:00

Is this platform a forum for israeli trolls? why are they allowed by the administrator??