Sukkot Shalom: What can be learned from the historic agreement with Lebanon?
It is difficult to exaggerate the importance of the agreement being formed with Lebanon.
On the three vertices of the economic-political triangle on which the agreement stands and on one important lesson for the Israeli public that we should all learn
Sunday, October 02, 2022, 09:55 Updated: 10:24
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Shark rig of Angarian company.
What will the supporters of "gas in the ground" say now when the agreement not only affects the Israeli economy but also initiates a process of regional reconciliation? (Photo: official website, Energian company)
This is not a peace agreement.
There will be no ceremonies, speeches, the exchange of charters between the presidents and the ambassadors - and no "went skiing in Lebanon", as the forgotten song says.
Lebanon will still continue to be a nest of terror to the north of Israel.
But after saying all of this, one can admire an extremely important agreement - and not only from the economic point of view.
Nevertheless, without a few words not about business, it is impossible: beyond the fact that this agreement constitutes an explicit recognition of Israel's existence as a legitimate country with status in the region, it also constitutes an important bridge to the days that are yet to come and to the vision of the new Middle East, which sometimes seems to us like a horizon line , the march towards which is endless.
On video: Collapse of grain stores in Beirut (credit: documentation on social networks according to Article 27A of the Copyright Law)
Lebanon's economy is collapsing
And now for the money, which was the main motive behind the process.
If you will, this is the complete opposite of the scenario described in the capital markets as a "black swan" or "the perfect storm" - a scenario where everything that can go wrong - does go wrong.
Such is the Lebanese case this time, that if it had to be defined in a well-worn and no less true cliché, it would be "all the stars aligned":
the first star is, of course, the discovery of natural gas in commercial quantities.
But the second is the complete collapse of the Lebanese economy.
It is true that since the mid-seventies of the last century Lebanon has been collapsing in on itself in a process that the only surprising thing is that there is still something left to collapse - and still: in the last two years the Lebanese economy has simply ceased to exist, leaving masses without the minimal infrastructure that embodies in its existence the entity known as a state.
I don't know how many people in Beirut would like to read this image, but if anyone thought that desperation was Lebanon's permanent state of accumulation, the last few years have come and proved that it can always be worse.
Now she is a junkie who will do anything to survive one more day.
"In everything" by the way, there is always the option of war, especially when you have a dominant factor like Hezbollah.
Which only strengthens the importance of the agreement even more.
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And thanks to Putin
So we agreed on Lebanon's need.
Now let's talk a little about natural gas.
For a long time it seemed that someone had an interest in selling us natural gas as an intermediate product between coal or oil and renewable energy.
The amazing thing is to find out that it is true.
Perhaps this discovery would not have been possible had it not been for Vladimir Putin's decision to invade Ukraine: Europe and North America (especially after the change of power between Republicans and Democrats) were already captive to all kinds of pessimistic dreams about weaning off energy other than through green or renewable sources.
Putin came and forced her to deal with the "crisis" even before she had a replacement.
It's going to be a cold and possibly deadly winter in Europe, which realizes that with all due respect (and there is!) to the race to stop global warming, it's time to consider temporary energy sources: less polluting than oil or coal, less dangerous than nuclear, and available - until we all find out (spoiler: image for veterans) how Illuminate Ramat Gan with one light bulb.
What was happening in the global energy market was a wake-up call for Europe, which was immersed in the green dream.
True, it will take some time until the natural gas from the Harish reservoir reaches the stoves in northern and central Europe, but something in the thinking has changed: no matter what the political circumstances will be in a few years, the demand for natural gas will still be high, even among countries that have been characterized by environmental activism.
To say: a polluter, but less.
While Iran looks inward, to what is happening in its sphere, the alliance of the countries that fear its continued influence on the Middle East is tightening (photo: screenshot, Twitter)
The Iranian connection
So we have already located two vertices of the triangle that makes the deal possible: Lebanon's desperate economic situation and the Western recognition of the importance of natural gas.
But none of this would have led to trade or peace agreements yet, if it weren't for one more factor - and this time it's a negative incentive: the Iranian connection.
Iran's imperialist ambitions have become an engine that brings together former enemies who have become embroiled in a much greater threat.
With all due respect to Trump or Netanyahu, there is no chance that the Abraham Agreement would have been forged if countries like the United Arab Emirates or Bahrain had not felt the Shiite sword on their necks.
The same is true for Egypt.
When this alliance includes parties like Greece and Cyprus (because of Erdogan, Tehran's ally, although it seems that even he may be recalculating a route at the moment), an axis is created that leads from the Gulf, through Egypt to the Mediterranean Sea, stops off the coast of Israel, zips to Lebanon and passes west to Greece through Cyprus.
This is the answer to the "axis of evil", which includes Iran of course, also through entities such as Hezbollah for example, Turkey (still), Qatar and even Libya.
The prize is not only control over the Middle East, but also over the Mediterranean Sea, the one with Arab and Muslim countries on its southern side and the European continent on its northern shore.
An excellent achievement by Netanyahu, which would not have been possible if not for Iran's imperialist ambitions (Photo: Creative Commons, AP)
The peace camp and its destruction
Remember those who rejoiced against the gas plan and shouted that it would have been better if it had stayed in the ground?
All those "capital + government = underworld" people?
Most of them are from the left end of the map, professional protestants that the (good in itself) commitment to critical thinking has made them bitter, automatic opponents of any agreement from which someone might make a profit (in this case, the target was Yitzhak Tshuva, but not only).
In honor of those million wrongdoers, one can ask on this day, when the gas storage in the "Shark" reservoir has become a significant bridge towards regional stability, do they still prefer the gas in the ground?
Where are all those "Yachimovitches" today, when it becomes clear that the gas deposits faithfully serve not only Israel's economy and its international status (and yes, also the interest of shrewd businessmen to earn as much as possible, because if it weren't for this interest, we might still be living in caves!) , but also the - sorry for the forgotten phrase - the peace process?
Prime Minister Yair Lapid.
The time has come to applaud the steps that strengthen Israel's position, without "bibists" against "RALBim" (photo: photo processing, Yossi Aloni, Maariv)
The credit to Lapid?
And there is also a lesson that should be learned regarding the agreement that is taking shape with Lebanon - and perhaps it is worth emphasizing it precisely when one eye is already looking towards the ballot box.
When Benjamin Netanyahu presented the "Abraham Agreement" to the people of Israel on the eve of elections, his political opponents rushed to shout that it was an "arms deal with a normalization annex".
It was an abominable lie.
In fact, it was the complete opposite (a normalization agreement with a weapons clause).
Despite the lie and paradoxically, it was precisely Netanyahu's opponents who cut off the coupon from normalization with the Gulf states, both at the political and business level.
Here I must share a personal anecdote: on one of the Saturdays I shared a return flight from Dubai with established Israeli businessmen whose agreement generated millions in revenue.
Some of them proudly told about the new contracts they obtained - and rushed home to participate in the Mochash demonstrations against Netanyahu, because in Israel as in Israel - it doesn't matter how rich, educated or eloquent you are, tribal loyalty is stronger than anything, and no - absolutely not only in battle"
The economic agreement with Lebanon is no less important, if not more (since it is the largest and closest base of those who seek our harm).
It is still not a peace agreement, but it puts the well-being of the residents of the region before the military-war interest, and at least from this point of view it is a huge intellectual achievement.
It is true that the talks towards him began even before Idan-Lapid, but at least at the moment he is portrayed as someone who wisely navigated towards their successful conclusion.
Therefore, perhaps the time has come that even in the most bitter rivalry in Israeli politics, each side will learn to abandon the position when it comes to a real and good achievement for the State of Israel: such was the Abraham Agreement, such is the current economic-political agreement.
Even if this is the only profit from the gas deals with Lebanon - it will be judged.