The Israel-Lebanon Gas Deal and U.S. Guarantees

(JNS) Alex Traiman - The Israel-Lebanon gas deal is said to include an American guarantee to protect Israeli interests should Lebanon and Hizbullah violate it. However, the U.S. openly acknowledges the agreement may be problematic down the road. In a background briefing by the White House on Tuesday, a senior administration official stated, "We expect that there may be other difficult moments as we implement this agreement moving forward." "No one can guarantee that opportunities for the future of Israel, for the security of Israel, and for the economic prosperity of Lebanon will still be there at a different time. And if there's any questions in the future of disagreement...the United States has assured both parties that it would use its best efforts through diplomatic means to see if it could help facilitate." But can Israel trust such guarantees. After the Israel-Lebanon War of 2006, the UNIFIL international force deployed in southern Lebanon following the Israeli withdrawal with a mandate "to ensure that its area of operations is not utilized for hostile activities of any kind." Yet despite UNIFIL's presence, Hizbullah has deployed over 150,000 missiles pointed at Israeli population centers, many of them long-range and precision-guided. Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman tweeted Wednesday that "All Israel is getting is a 'guarantee' from the U.S. What does that say, what is the nature of America's commitment, and why is that good for Israel or America? Remember, Bush's letter to Sharon was ripped up by HRC [Hillary Rodham Clinton] and the Budapest Memorandum was worthless." In 2004, then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon received a letter from President George W. Bush recognizing Israel's right to build in long-standing Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem and in "settlement blocs" crucial for Israel's security. Friedman also cited the "worthless" 1994 Budapest Memorandum, which committed "to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine." This guarantee, signed by the U.S., UK and Russia, persuaded the Ukrainian government in Kyiv to give up the world's third largest nuclear arsenal. The writer is CEO and Jerusalem Bureau Chief of JNS.

2022-10-18 00:00:00

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