Category Archives: Lebanon


Israel and Lebanon: A Bridge Over Troubled Waters?

In the latest edition of Tel Aviv Notes, Stéphane Cohen and Nir Boms explain the late 2020 negotiations between Israel and Lebanon over the maritime border.

Amidst a deep political and economic crisis in Lebanon, accelerated by the Beirut port explosion in August last year, the end of 2020 witnessed a surprising round of talks regarding the demarcation of the Israeli-Lebanese maritime border. These bilateral negotiations – mediated by the U.S. and the U.N. – are the first non-security talks held between the two countries since the 1990s. Of course, Lebanon and Israel have no diplomatic relations and are technically in a state of war. The incentives for progress in the talks are strong as they could pave the way for lucrative oil and gas deals on both sides, though there still appear to be significant obstacles on the Lebanese side. Speaking with John Desrocher, the most recent U.S. mediator for the negotiations, in December 2020, Lebanese President Aoun was quoted as saying that Lebanon wants the talks to succeed because “this will strengthen stability in the South and allow us to invest in natural resources of oil and gas.”[1] Could a maritime border agreement between Israel and Lebanon be feasible, despite the otherwise toxic atmosphere between the two countries and the recent escalating threats of Hizballah? In a region full of surprises, this, too, might be a part of a changing reality.


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Israeli crowdfunding campaign to support victims of Beirut blast


Humanitarian aid intended to be sent to Lebanon. (photo credit: ISRAELI FLYING AID)

Humanitarian aid intended to be sent to Lebanon.(photo credit: ISRAELI FLYING AID)Advertisement

Israeli Flying Aid (IFA), a non-profit NGO specializing in delivering humanitarian aid to communities affected by natural disasters and conflict in countries who hold no formal relations with Israel, announced that it launched a crowdfunding campaign to provide aid to the Lebanese people in the wake of a massive explosion in Beirut that killed over 170 people and wounded thousands more, leaving another 90,000 or so with ruined homes.The campaign has two goals, according to IFA CEO Gal Lusky: The first being solidarity with the people of Lebanon and the second is to gather the means to provide aid to the victims.

“When a disaster of historical magnitude befalls our neighbors, we, the citizens of Israel must set aside the ongoing Israeli-Lebanese conflict, and rise above and beyond politics and diplomacy, reaching out to the Lebanese innocent victims  on the other side of the border,” said Lusky.

The chairman of the Syria Forum at the Moshe Dayan Research Center, Dr. Nir Boms, believes that this “humanistic” approach could create positive avenues between the two countries, and possibly down the line garner positive relationships between the two states.“ This recent disaster finds Lebanon in a critical time. Since 2019 the Lebanese have marched to the streets demanding a change and an end to a system that prioritize interests other than those of the Lebanese people,” said Boms. “The internal Lebanese discourse creates a unique opportunity to engage in a move of humanitarian diplomacy that will show a different face of Israel and that could open future tracks of dialogue between the two countries.”

Link to Crowdfunding site: “Human Warmth” – Israelis for Lebanese Citizens


The Fuel of a Revolution

Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets in Iran in recent weeks, after the government announced a tripling of the price of gasoline. Credit: Belga

Faced with crippling international sanctions, revenue shortfalls and budget deficits, the Islamic regime in Iran seems to have made a fatal miscalculation by suddenly tripling the price of gasoline, a move which appears to put an entire region in flames.

Frustrated by worsening economic conditions, soaring prices and devastating national currency devaluation, Iranians from across the country immediately took the streets to demand a reversal of the decision. But what seemed to have started as a peaceful civil demonstration – in where drivers turned off their vehicles in the middle roads and highways  –  quickly escalated to a full-fledged uprising in nearly 100 cities. But not just in Iran. In Iraq, protesters burned the Iranian consulate in the holy city of Najaf and in Lebanon hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets, demanding the resignation of a government dominated by pro-Iran factions.

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Lebanon, the battle for stability- Jerusalem Studio

Almost nine months after Lebanon has elected its Parliament, outgoing Prime Minister Sa’ad Hariri has managed to form a new cabinet over which he will continue to preside, despite the fact that he has lost almost a third of his supporters among Beirut’s Legislators.

-Jonathan Hessen, host.
-Amir Oren, analyst.
-Prof. Hillel Frisch, Senior Researcher Begin Sadat Center.
-Dr. Nir Boms – Research fellow, Moshe Dayan center at Tel Aviv University.