Lebanese citizens “have the right to oppose the occupation of Israel,” said the new head of the Lebanese government, Najib Mikati. He announces that he will “take away from Israel the territory that this country has taken from Syria – the Sheba farm.” It is about the strip between the Golan Heights and the Lebanese-Syrian border.
On Monday, Lebanon’s new government led by Mikati won a confidence vote in parliament. The new prime minister said in his speech that Lebanese citizens “have the right to oppose the occupation of Israel and respond to its attacks,” reported Israeli public broadcaster Kan, quoted by the Times of Israel.
A strip of land
Sheba farms are a small strip of land between the Golan Heights and the Lebanon-Syrian border. It was under Syrian control in the 1950s and was occupied by Israel after the Six-Day War in 1967. In 1981, the Jewish state annexed the farms, known in Hebrew as Har Dow. When Israel withdrew its forces from Lebanon in 2000, Hezbollah announced that it was not a complete withdrawal, as it had retained the Sheba farms.
This territory has been a source of recurring disputes and conflicts since then, especially since Syria’s claims are still pending, and its president, Bashar al-Assad, has refused to negotiate.
Neither Syria, nor Israel nor the United Nations recognize Har Dow as Lebanese territory, writes the Times of Israel.
Undertaking interrupted negotiations
Mikati said he intends to resume negotiations with Israel, mediated by the United States, over the territorial waters dispute.
These talks started in October last year, but were quickly interrupted and resumed in May; Lebanon made “much more aggressive claims” during the second round, reports the Times of Israel.
The website recalls that Mikati said last week that his government is willing to work with any country in the world except Israel.
The Jewish state does not maintain diplomatic relations with Lebanon, where the party and the armed organization Hezbollah have great influence, which denies Israel the right to exist. Israeli forces occupied southern Lebanon – about 10 percent. its territory – from 1982 to 2000.
An announcement of the fight against the crisis
In Monday’s speech, Mikati also announced that the main point of his agenda is to deal with the devastating economic crisis in the country.
The program aims to revive talks with the International Monetary Fund and initiate the reforms expected by donors before unlocking much-needed foreign aid for Lebanon.
Mikati, who was already prime minister in 2005 and from 2011-2013, has now been backed by most political parties, including the Iranian-backed Hezbollah and the main Shia party, Amal.
There has been no government in Lebanon since the catastrophic explosion at the port of Beirut on August 4, 2020. In recent months, the economic crisis in Lebanon has reached a tipping point – the country is paralyzing fuel and drug shortages, there is a risk of hospitals, bakeries and the Internet shutdown. Since October 2019, the Lebanese pound has lost 90%. its value against the dollar, which triggered hyperinflation and plunged more than half of the population into poverty.
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