Lebanese FM ripped for acknowledging Israel's right to exist

Lebanese foreign minister comes under intense criticism after he refused to deny Israel's right to exist.

Tzvi Lev,

Gebran Bassil
Gebran Bassil

Lebanon's Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil found himself in hot water after he said that Israel has a right to exist, Reuters reported.

Bassil said in a television interview with Al Mayadin on Tuesday that "I don’t deny Israel [has a] right to exist. We are not blind. We are a people who wants to live with others." Bassil added later that "We are not against Israel living in security".

Bassil's comments caused an uproar after clips of the interview were widely shared on social media. Bassil clarified in a statement on Thursday that he did not believe in recognizing Israel and said his words were taken out of context. "Israel is the enemy," he said.

Bassil had warned Israel in November that "it was destined to lose" any future war with Lebanon. Speaking to Russia Today during a visit to Moscow, Bassil said Lebanon has the capabilities to counter “any threat," but stressed it only wants peace and stability in the region.

He also warned that any potential aggressor state would suffer consequences, which could reach as far as Europe. "We should not be provoking Israel into a war simply because it is likely to lose it. We should restrain Israel from starting a war exactly because Lebanon is sure to win it," he told RT.

"Any country can take action against Hezbollah like the U.S. does, even though the leader of Hezbollah has said repeatedly: 'If you want to fight us, you can fight us, but leave Lebanon alone. We don’t want Lebanon to suffer because of us.' We think if they target us, they will punish all the people of Lebanon, and those who dare do this will also face consequences. There will be consequences for the whole region, for Europe,” he warned.

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