Lebanon-Israel Deal Stirs Controversy
OFFICIAL: LEBANON DEAL WILL SEE UNPRECEDENTED APPROVAL FOR ISRAEL’S MARITIME BORDER: The impending agreement on Israel’s maritime border with Lebanon is a victory for Israel’s security, a senior Israeli official argued Sunday evening, October 2.
“The security interests of Israel are anchored in the agreement,” said the official, pointing at the Israeli line of maritime buoys extending five kilometers (some three miles), into the Mediterranean from Rosh Hanikra. “The line of buoys is an important Israeli security line that was never approved by any outside actor,” said the official during a phone briefing with Israeli reporters . “This will allow Israel to treat it as its northern territorial border.” Israel deployed the floats after the May 2000 withdrawal from Lebanon. The boundary marked the limits of where Israel unilaterally operates with full freedom of action. The line will be the northern limit of Israeli waters for the first five kilometers from the coast, after which the border will follow the southern edge of the disputed area, known as Line 23. The agreement also serves the economic interests of the Lebanese, who will enjoy economic rights in the area bordered by Line 23 in the south. (TOI / VFI News)
‘MARITIME DEAL GIVES 100% TO LEBANON, 0% TO ISRAEL’: Former US ambassador to Israel David Friedman lambasted the emerging maritime border deal between Israel and Lebanon, claiming it marks a complete capitulation of Israel’s interests in favor of Lebanon’s.
In a series of tweets Monday morning, October 3, the former Trump administration official said that prior to Biden’s election, the White House nearly brokered a more equitable deal. “We spent years trying to broker a deal between Israel and Lebanon on the disputed maritime gas fields. Got very close with proposed splits of 55-60% for Lebanon and 45-40% for Israel. No one then imagined 100% to Lebanon and 0% to Israel. Would love to understand how we got here.” “I could be wrong, but I think Israel does get zero. My understanding is that Israel gets royalties only on drilling within its own sovereign territory — that’s beyond the scope of the maritime dispute with Lebanon. As to the disputed territory, I understand Lebanon gets it all.” On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid alluded to Israeli concessions, “Over the weekend, Israel and Lebanon received the American mediator’s proposal for an agreement on a maritime line between the two countries. We are discussing the final details, so it is not yet possible to praise a done deal; however, as we have demanded from the start, the proposal safeguards Israel’s full security-diplomatic interests, as well as our economic interests.” Lapid argued that ceding natural gas reserves to Lebanon would help the country become independent of Tehran, and ultimately curb the strength of groups like Hezbollah. Right-wing lawmakers blasted the planned concessions, however, with Opposition Leader Benjamin Netanyahu calling any deal during the government’s lame duck session “illegal.” (INN / VFI News)
ISRAEL APPROVES NIS 90 MILLION FOR ABSORBING IMMIGRANTS FROM RUSSIA, AMID UKRAINE WAR: The government on Sunday, October 2, approved a NIS 90 million (over $25 million) budget for absorbing Russian Jewish immigrants arriving in Israel, amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
The approved funds will go toward providing additional housing solutions for immigrants, employment assimilation, education, health services, and other basic requirements to aid those who arrive in haste and with little to no preparation. Israeli officials have also indicated their intention to bolster the number of flights between Moscow and Tel Aviv, as well as to find ways to facilitate the transfer of assets out of Russia. According to data from Ministry of Aliyah and Immigration Absorption, some 24,000 Jewish immigrants have moved to Israel since Russia launched the war in Ukraine on February 24, the most significant wave of immigration from there, since hundreds of thousands of people moved to the Jewish state as the Soviet Union collapsed over 30 years ago. The ministry believes many additional immigrants are due to arrive in the coming months, partly due to Russia’s “partial mobilization” of reservists, as its military faces setbacks in Ukraine. (TOI / VFI News)
IRAN’S REGIME KILLS ‘AT LEAST 92’ IN BRUTAL CRACKDOWN OF NATIONWIDE ANTI-GOVERNMENT PROTESTS: At least ’92 people’ have been killed in a brutal crackdown of anti-government protests, sparked by the death of a young woman who was reportedly tortured in custody by Iranian police for not wearing a hijab properly.
Mahsa Amini, 22, died in custody on September 16 after she was detained in Tehran by Iranian morality police who believed she was wearing her hijab too loosely. As protests stretched into a third week, the Iran Human Rights (IHR) group said at least 92 people had been killed. Clashes between protesters and security forces have rocked cities across the country for 16 nights in a row, after they first flared in western regions home to Amini and Iran’s Kurdish minority. It comes as a further 41 people died in clashes on Friday, September 30, in Iran’s far southeast, an area bordering Afghanistan and Pakistan, according to IHR. Those protests were sparked by accusations that a police chief in the region had raped a teenage girl (15 years old) of the Baluch Sunni minority. IHR has accused the security forces of the mainly Shiite country of ‘bloodily repressing’ the Zahedan protest that erupted after Friday prayers over these accusations. Solidarity rallies with Iranian women – who have defiantly burnt the hijabs they have been obliged to wear since the 1979 Islamic revolution – have also been held worldwide, with demonstrations in more than 150 cities. (DM / VFI News)
IRAN’S SUPREME LEADER BLAMES ISRAEL, US IN FIRST PUBLIC COMMENT ON PROTESTS: Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei responded publicly on Monday, October 3, to the biggest protests in Iran in years, breaking weeks of silence to condemn what he called “rioting”, and accuse the US and Israel of planning the protests.
Khamenei said he was “heartbroken” by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of Iran’s morality police, which set off the nationwide protests, calling her death a “sad incident.” However, he sharply condemned the protests as a foreign plot to destabilize Iran, echoing authorities’ previous comments. “This rioting was planned,” he told a cadre of police students in Tehran. “These riots and insecurities were designed by America and the Zionist regime, and their employees.” He described scenes of protesters ripping off their state-mandated headscarves and setting fire to mosques, banks and police cars as “not normal” and “unnatural.” His comments come as nationwide protests sparked by Amini’s death entered the third week despite the government’s efforts to crack down. (TOI / VFI News)
BOOKING.COM WILL REMOVE WARNING ON ISRAELI LISTINGS: Following a discreet exchange held by Israel’s Foreign Ministry and Tourism Minister with the management of Booking.com, the site has removed the threat of discrimination against Israeli-owned businesses in Judea and Samaria.
Last month, media reported a decision by Booking.com to begin marking almost all Jewish-owned accommodations in Judea and Samaria with a travel warning. Under the decision, the application would warn users who plan to go to tourism businesses in Judea and Samaria that “a visit to the area may be accompanied by an increased risk to safety and human rights or other risks to the local community and guests.” The decision came under fire from both government and opposition sources, and on Saturday, October 1, it was reversed. Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid praised the reversal, saying, “We thank Booking for changing its decision. The State of Israel today has achieved an important achievement in the fight against delegitimization.” (INN / VFI News)
LAPID SENDS ‘THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS’ TO FLORIDA, AS HURRICANE AIMS AT CAROLINAS: Prime Minister Yair Lapid extended his support to the people of Florida on Friday, September 30, after Hurricane Ian left a trail of destruction as it passed through the southern US state, and began to make its way to South Carolina.
“The thoughts and prayers of all Israelis are with the people of Florida, and all those who remain in the path of this devastating storm,” Lapid tweeted. “Sending strength to my friends President Joe Biden and Governor Ron De Santis, and all those involved in responding to this tragedy.” At least six people have been killed in Florida since Category 4 hurricane came ashore on Florida’s Gulf Coast Wednesday, flooding cities, blowing down power lines, cutting electricity to millions and dumping catastrophic amounts of rain on the state before moving back offshore. Climate change added at least 10% more rain to Hurricane Ian, according to a study prepared immediately after the storm, said its co-author, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab climate scientist Michael Wehner. Biden has said it could be the deadliest hurricane in Florida’s history. Tens of thousands of Israelis are thought to live in Florida, which is also home to one of the largest Jewish communities in the US. (TOI / VFI News)
ISRAELI NANOTECH MAY BE ABLE TO REDUCE SIDE-EFFECTS OF CHEMOTHERAPY, SCIENTISTS SAY: Scientists say that new Israeli technology could dramatically reduce the side effects of cancer treatments, including chemotherapy, by making precision dosing possible for drugs that are currently administered to the whole body.
The invention could also revive numerous treatments that are today considered unsafe, and enable doctors to increase doses of some existing medicines, the team from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology suggests in a newly peer-reviewed research. The main focus of the study – and the sole topic of the Technion team’s animal study – is inhibitors, which are drugs that block the growth factors that trigger cancer cells. But a small number of chemotherapies was included in the lab testing and showed promise, the team said, indicating that the technology may also one day be used to reduce chemotherapy side effects. Precision medicines are considered a promising way to treat cancer, but a major challenge is the technology required to deliver medicine to cancerous cells without taking it to other parts of the body. Particles called nano-carriers — also a key ingredient of most coronavirus vaccines — do the job well. But each nano-carrier is compatible with a limited range of drugs, and only a few dozen are available, meaning the vast majority of drugs can’t be given as precision medicine. “The new nano-carrier actually enabled us to successfully treat mice with a medicine that normally can’t be used due to its intense side effects,” Prof. Yosi Shamay, head of the lab that conducted the research, told Israeli media. (TOI / VFI News)
The suggestions, opinions and scripture references made by VFI writers and editors are based on the best information received.
Blessings from Jerusalem,
Barry Segal with the Editorial Staff