Lebanese PM assures maritime agreement protection, even if Netanyahu wins elections
According to mediator and US energy envoy Amos Hochstein, the agreement will be upheld regardless of the outcome of the Israeli elections
By News Desk - November 02 2022

(Photo Credit: AP)

Lebanon’s caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati said on 2 November that the US guaranteed it would protect the maritime border agreement between Tel Aviv and Beirut, even if Israel’s former far-right prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu wins a majority in the elections.

Mikati told Reuters during a phone conversation that he was “not afraid” of the fate of the maritime deal, further reiterating that the US would be responsible for its smooth implementation.  

Netanyahu recently threatened that if he wins the elections, he would “neutralize” the maritime agreement implemented last week, following years of indirect US-brokered talks between the two enemy states to determine a compromise on its sea borders.

The mediator for the talks, US energy envoy Amos Hochstein, disclosed to reporters that the agreement would be upheld despite the new elections in Israel and the transition to a new president in Lebanon.

Ballots in the Knesset elections were tallied on the same day, with the results as of now indicating that Netanyahu and his bloc of right-wing extremists are on the verge of victory.

Around 86 percent of the votes have been accounted for, with several blocs supporting Netanyahu, predicted to win 65 of the 120-seat Knesset.

According to Hebrew news channels, Netanyahu called the leaders of his party to congratulate them a day prior after exit polls showed a slight majority in the Knesset elections with 62 out of 120 seats.

The Religious Zionist party, allied with Netanyahu’s Likud party, is also predicted to receive between 14 and 15 seats in the Knesset, doubling representatives from the last election.

The movement is known for increasingly leaning to the extreme right with racist, anti-Arab, and homophobic positions.

Also, the former prime minister assured that far-right lawmaker Itamar Ben Gvir is a likely candidate for police minister in the event that he reclaims the premiership. 

“I don’t disqualify him” for the post of public security minister, but “there are a lot of candidates,” he said according to The Times of Israel.

Ben Gvir was seen in a video released on the evening of 13 October, wielding a pistol in the occupied east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah and urging settlers and police to shoot at Palestinians who throw stones at the occupation forces.

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