Lebanese Journalist Calls for Peace With Israel

Lebanese Shiite journalist and media personality Nadim Koteich recently claimed that Hezbollah is holding Lebanon hostage, preventing it from making a peace agreement with Israel. In his article for the popular London-based Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper, Koteich said the country hinders its own progress, and the Hezbollah terrorist group uses a conflict-first strategy to hinder Lebanon from making agreements with the Jewish nation on areas such as the demarcation of the maritime border, which would allow it to drill for gas, according to Israel Hayom

“What prevents Lebanon from being part of the changes that have taken place in the Eastern Mediterranean in the area of gas?” Koteich asked. “Very simply, what prevents this is the culture of perpetuating the conflict with Israel.” He has identified Hezbollah as an obstacle to peace and made this call for Lebanon to agree to normalization with Israel in the past. Over the last 18 months, he has been joined by a number of Lebanese politicians and journalists in expressing these beliefs.

I hope Lebanon is listening to Koteich because he makes some excellent points. There’s much for Lebanon to gain from agreements with Israel—Koteich mentioned the areas of medicine, education, and natural resources specifically. Additionally, making peace with a neighbor with whom you share a border would be an added benefit in the area of security. He identified the problem well: Hezbollah’s dangerous mix of violence, terrorism, and powerful grip on the pulse of Lebanon means they might as well be running the nation. Major decisions, especially those concerning its hated enemy Israel, are filtered through Hezbollah’s unofficial jurisdiction. Until they are ousted, the Lebanese people are effectively prisoners of Hezbollah, a proxy of Iran. We pray the terrorist grip would be loosened on Israel’s neighbor.