Al-Akhbar: The enemy is blowing up the demarcation negotiations with a...

Al-Akhbar: The enemy is blowing up the demarcation negotiations with a...
Al-Akhbar: The enemy is blowing up the demarcation negotiations with a...

Mayssam Rizk –

Before the start of negotiations to demarcate the southern maritime borders, in the middle of this month, the United States and the Israeli enemy began laying mines in front of Lebanon. The enemy raised from the level of his delegation to an explicit political level, and from the “heavy weight”, by including the political advisor to his prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, in the delegation, along with the official of the political system in the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As for Washington, it requested a “souvenir” photo of the first negotiating session that “brings all the parties together.” Dangerous measures, in form and substance, that require a dismissive Lebanese stance. Any complacency in this regard is collusion

In his book of notes issued weeks ago, former President Amin Gemayel narrates some of the details of the May 17 agreement between Lebanon and the Israeli enemy. Under the heading “The Coming Was Greater”, a paragraph is devoted to explaining the details of the day before the date of signing in 1983. Gemayel says: “We had not finished drafting the last clauses of the agreement and were preparing to sign it the next day, until a sudden coup occurred that changed the whole situation at the last moment. On May 16, the head of the US negotiating team, Maurice Draper, requested to meet with me urgently. He informed me that there is an attached side message, which the Israeli envoy asked the Americans to hand over to us, which is supposed to be an integral part of the agreement. Gemayel points out that the letter “stipulated three new conditions that are not included in the agreed text.” Regardless of those conditions, it is beneficial that Lebanon is on the threshold of indirect negotiations with the Israeli enemy over the delineation of maritime borders under the auspices of the United Nations, to return to precedents committed by the Americans and the Israelis to sign agreements. This return is obligatory, regardless of the fact that the May 17 project is a completely different path from the demarcation, but the enemy is the same, which requires attention to the traps that he can plant before the first session of the negotiation or during the entire process.

Since the announcement of the framework agreement that was reached as a basis for negotiation, many have objected to the origin of the negotiation. Some of those objecting to any negotiations with the enemy are afraid to open any door to the entry of “Israel” from “energy” after it was forced out of the wide door. Others, however, are nothing but bidders to Lebanese political forces. However, the fears of those opposed to any negotiations with the enemy are about to materialize. Tel Aviv hastened to seek to raise the level of negotiations, to political negotiations, while the Lebanese trend is to make them technical negotiations similar to the experience of the April 1996 Understanding Committee, and the negotiations to demarcate the Blue Line after the liberation of the South in 2000, and after the July 2006 war. It started by leaking information about the leadership of the Minister of Energy in Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, Yuval Steinitz, to the Israeli delegation that will negotiate at the headquarters of the International Emergency Forces in Naqoura, as a way to raise the level of representation and give the whole process a political character. This is the first trap that Lebanon has overcome, by refusing to have a minister in the enemy’s government attend negotiations. But it seems that Tel Aviv is insisting on that, by hinting yesterday that the minister himself can participate in the negotiations “whenever he notices that the Lebanese side is stalling”! What is worse than that, and which requires a decisive Lebanese position, is that the enemy presented his “abandonment” of the idea of ​​Steinitz’s participation in the negotiations as an important step, but he trapped the negotiating delegation with no less dangerous than the level of a minister. The delegation will be headed by the Director General of the Ministry of Energy. By transgressing, this level can be considered a technical one, and a parallel to the participation of the head of the Petroleum Administration in Lebanon. The enemy’s delegation includes the head of the strategic planning department in the occupation army, Brigadier General Oren Sitter. Here, too, it is possible to overlook this level as being equivalent to the level of the deputy chief of staff for operations in the Lebanese army, who will head the Lebanese delegation. But what Lebanon cannot accept is the inclusion of two personalities in the delegation, they are from the purely political level, that is, the political advisor to the head of the enemy government, Reuven Azar, and the head of the political system in the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Alon Bar. At this level, it seems clear that the enemy is insisting that the negotiations be political, not technical, just as his insistence that the negotiations be direct. There must be a firm Lebanese stance that prevents the transfer of talks, via the United Nations, into negotiations of a purely political nature that discuss matters of sovereignty. And it becomes understandable here also what the enemy tried to insert in the framework agreement, when he tried to add a phrase saying that the agreement on the borders of the exclusive economic sea area is based on the minutes of the negotiation sessions. The Lebanese side rejected this phrase, because it means that the government will approve in advance everything that goes on in the Naqoura sessions, so the phrase was omitted from the agreement.
The names of the delegation that Steinitz announced yesterday night, the enemy wants to score more than one goal at the same time:
1- Imposing a political level for negotiations.
2- Embarrassing the Lebanese side, after agreeing to the principle of indirect negotiation, and throwing the ball into its court, accusing it of obstructing the demarcation that would allow oil and gas exploration in a promising region.
3- Embarrassing President Michel Aoun by holding him responsible before the Americans in case he refused the level of representation of the enemy in the negotiations, after President Nabih Berri announced the framework agreement devoid of the political level.
4- Embarrassing President Aoun’s allies, the first of which is Hezbollah, which will be forced to take a position on this level of negotiation. It is not unlikely that the timing of the announcement of the political level of the hostile negotiating delegation is linked to the issuance of a position by the Al-Wafa bloc for the parliamentary resistance, yesterday, which affirmed that “determining the coordinates of national sovereignty is the responsibility of the Lebanese state, which is exclusively concerned with declaring that this land and these waters are Lebanese land and waters. . The bloc believes, contrary to all the talk that has been said here and there, that the negotiating framework on an exclusive issue related to our southern maritime borders and the restoration of our land, leading to the demarcation of our national sovereignty sites, has absolutely nothing to do with the context of reconciliation with the Zionist enemy usurper of Palestine nor the normalization policies that it has recently pursued. It is being pursued by Arab countries that have never believed in the option of resistance, and have never practiced it against the enemy of the nation. ”
In this context, it was remarkable that the enemy media and its officials, as well as American diplomats, insisted that Hezbollah might fail the negotiations.

Laying mines in negotiation is not limited to the enemy. The United States of America has its share as well. This was evident in the fact that the United Nations, at the request of the US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, David Schenker, who is arriving in Lebanon on October 12th, decided that the opening session, according to “Al-Akhbar” information, would witness a memorial photo that includes “the four parties together.” The representative of the UN Secretary-General in Lebanon and the commander of UNIFIL, the American delegation headed by Schenker, and on the one hand the Lebanese delegation, and on the other side the Israeli delegation. This “memorial” photo that is to be published in the media, Lebanon has never seen anything like it in the meetings of the April 1996 Understanding Committee, nor all the meetings that were held in Naqoura between the Lebanese army, UNIFIL and the enemy army, since 2007, periodically. This image is precisely what the Americans are asking for, in order to achieve two goals: confirming the idea of ​​”direct negotiations between Lebanon and Israel.” And US President Donald granted a new “star” that he added to the “stars” that he obtained from the agreements of normalization and the alliance between “Israel” and both the UAE and the Bahraini regime. This matter, which some may see as a formality, is something that Lebanon should prevent from happening as well.
Information was discussed that the Lebanese delegation will include, along with the military and experts, a diplomatic figure, noting that the internal Lebanese agreement stipulated “technical negotiations” and “neither peace talks nor normalization”, as Schenker himself admitted, and “not a step to establish diplomatic relations.” In the words of former US ambassador Jeffrey Feltman. Here, a question arises as to what imposes on Lebanon the inclusion of a diplomat in his delegation, if the information is correct. Diplomacy is one of the means that expresses the extent to which relations between two parties have deteriorated or developed. And the choice of a military man to head the Lebanese delegation means that the issue of borders is still included, even in its negotiating part, “within the framework of the war.” The inclusion of a diplomatic personality in the delegation cannot be considered innocently, unless the diplomat is retired and is participating in his capacity as an advisor or an expert.
Among the mines that Lebanon could face and which the Lebanese negotiating side must not neglect are the minutes of the meetings that will be prepared by the representatives of the United States and the United Nations, and will be signed by them and submitted to “Israel” and Lebanon for signature at the end of each meeting. Who can guarantee that the two sides literally transmit what the Lebanese side says or requests, or records its reservations on it?
The beginning of negotiations is a serious battle, in which the team of the United States of America and “Israel” will seek a great victory in it. This victory is recorded by the points that start from the form before the content. Any complacency in form means collusion with the enemy and the dishonest mediator.

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