Former U.S. Ambassador David Friedman: U.S. Security Guarantees in Gas Deal Could Create "Friction"

(Israel Hayom) Ariel Kahana - Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman discussed Israeli concessions in the Israel-Lebanon maritime deal in an interview with Israel Hayom. "Do you want to be perceived as potentially overpaying, giving added value to a terrorist group to protect yourself with regard to your sovereign territory? You can make a pretty strong argument that that sends a very dangerous message." "We were generally in agreement with Israel that this was going to be a very fair compromise for Israel, to give Lebanon 60% of the disputed territory and Israel would get 40%. Israel was prepared to do that, we thought that was extremely fair." He said he assumed the new Israeli concessions that resulted in the entire area being handed over to Lebanon were due to American pressure. "Our experience was that the 60-40 split would have been acceptable to the Lebanese government but was not acceptable to the Hizbullah proxies, and that is why the deal didn't get done [during the Trump years]....If the whole idea here is to show that Lebanon has its own identity independent of Hizbullah, this proves just the opposite, it proves Hizbullah was a major negotiating party and was the party that was successful in obtaining the added concessions." "I really could not understand the idea of what the American guarantee is to Israel....What exactly is America's commitment in the event that a future Lebanon walks away from this agreement, what is America going to do? Are they going to defend Israel if Lebanon attacks [the] Karish [gas field]? History tells us it [the guarantee] doesn't mean very much, and more importantly, why is Israel looking for American guarantees on things like this? The whole point of the Israeli national security strategy is that it defends itself by itself, and never seeks to have America fight its battles....[If] Israel is going to start making demands to the U.S. that the U.S. may or may not be willing to do, you create friction between two allies."

2022-10-18 00:00:00

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