Bahaa Hariri, the billionaire son of the late Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri (Rafik Hariri), told Axios that he believed Lebanon and Israel should resolve the border dispute and reach Peace agreement.
Why it matters: Israel is a hostile country under Lebanese law. This is a very unusual statement made by members of one of Lebanon’s most famous political dynasties. Baha’s brother Saad is currently trying to form a new government in Lebanon and is known for taking a hard line in Israel.
Big picture: A few weeks ago, under the normalization agreement signed by Israel with the UAE and Bahrain, Lebanon began direct dialogue with Israel for the first time in 30 years. They are trying to delimit the maritime boundary to resolve disputes over gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean.
What is he saying: Hariri said that the negotiations are a positive step, and he hopes that the negotiations will be related to the dynamic changes in the region regarding Israel.
- He said: “This is a positive thing for Lebanon, but we must ensure that it does not give Hezbollah any breathing space.”
- “There are problems between us and the Israelis, and we must solve these problems, but in the end, we need peace. I want my children to live in peace instead of war.
- Hariri speaks about Lebanon and Israel They should also resolve their land border disputes, mainly in the area known as the Shebaa farm, which is the main issue Hezbollah uses to engage in friction with Israel. He said: “The land border is like an open wound, providing Hezbollah with leeway.”
Game status: Lebanese public figures recently issued some positive statements to Israel.
- In an interview with French radio and television station BFMTV in August, President Michel Aoun, known as an ally of Hezbollah, did not rule out peace with Israel, but said that “we must first resolve the issue with Israel.”
- Aoun’s daughter, Claudine, is a major public figure in the country. In recent statements and interviews, she has repeatedly stated that if the two countries resolve the dispute, she will not oppose peace with Israel ideologically, and emphasized that she wants to visit Jerusalem.
flashback: Baha and Saad’s father, Rafik Hariri, is one of Lebanon’s most prominent politicians and business tycoons. A few months after resigning as prime minister, he was assassinated in 2005.
- In August last year, an international court ruled that members of Hezbollah were behind his murder.
- After the assassination, Saad became the political heir to Rafik, while his brother Bahaa focused on the business world.
- Bahaa Hariri, who lives outside Lebanon, runs an investment company with an estimated net worth of US$2 billion.
- After many years out of the public eye, he has begun to increase public visibility in recent months, in part because of his support for civil society groups that demand reforms in the country.
- He told Axios that his brother must not form a new government involving Hezbollah.
This is the second part of our exclusive interview. Read Part 1.