Resistance Is the Guarantee to Extraction, With or Without Netanyahu
Translated by Staff, Al-Akhbar Newspaper
The most pressing question after Benjamin Netanyahu forms his government, after he was assigned to do so yesterday, is about the fate of the maritime boundary delimitation agreement and the possibility of obstructing its implementation and preventing Lebanon from extracting its natural resources, after Netanyahu described the agreement, during the election campaign, as “a surrender to Hezbollah” and vowed to cancel it.
How could the agreement be cancelled legally? What are the factors that prevent such a decision? What are the expected consequences of such path?
First of all, the elections produced a balance of power in the Knesset in favor of Netanyahu, after his camp won 64 seats out of 120, which opens the way for him to form a right-wing government enjoying a parliamentary base. Thus, the scenarios that prevented the “Israeli” entity from the formation of a government in previous years and plunged it into the cycle of open elections are not expected to be repeated.
Legally speaking, the body that legislates any law is the same as the one that has the power to repeal it. Since the government has approved the agreement, it is the one who has the power to cancel it without the need for the approval of any other institution. However, the fact that the government has the authority does not mean that it has the courage, as there are several factors that prevent it from moving in this path.
In general, it can be estimated that what restrains the enemy from the option of canceling the agreement is what forced the political and security leaderships to agree to it, and even insist on it to the point of pushing the judicial and legal institutions to overcome the legal problems around it. The “Israeli” leadership, both political and military, did not hide that the factor that prompted the speeding up the agreement was avoiding the alternative of a war with Hezbollah. Thus, will Netanyahu take a step he knows in advance that will lead to a military confrontation that may develop into a major war with Hezbollah and possibly expand regionally? Bearing in mind the cost and feasibility, would he take such a step while facing escalating challenges in the West Bank and other priorities related to confronting the Iranian nuclear threat, as well as at the level of the unprecedented development of Iran's military and missile capabilities?
Moreover, does it make sense for Netanyahu to initiate a flagrantly hostile unilateral move? It is true that the “Israeli” entity does not pay much attention to this factor, but when it assesses that it will face unprecedented responses on its “domestic” front, the position of “Israeli” public opinion will have a great impact and the leadership must justify these costs to it, because the government will face questions of the type: Would this war not have been avoided if the “Israeli” entity had known its outcome? Are the consequences worth these losses? What if the war leads to the halting of gas exports or the destruction of gas facilities, which will certainly happen if a military confrontation develops?
All these scenarios were present among the security authorities, which were keen to reach an agreement to avoid them, after they realized Hezbollah’s determination to go to the end even if it led to a war, due to the firm conviction of its leadership that the alternative to war, which is the continuation of the siege, would be more dangerous than war itself.
What restrains the enemy from the option of canceling the agreement is what prompted the political and security leaderships to insist on it.
It’s noteworthy to “Israel” that the Lebanese Resistance will face any aggression in light of an unprecedented popular support [the presence of opposition voices in the American orbit does not detract from this, and their position on such issues is not taken into account], because they will wage a war for Lebanon's economic and financial future. This opposes the American plan that aims to portray the resistance as a burden on Lebanon, and not as a "Lebanon shield" in the face of “Israeli” ambitions.
Also, what contributes to making such a decision more problematic, for Netanyahu and his government, is that it contradicts the recommendations of the army and security services. Although the government can legally take an aggressive decision other than these recommendations, when the cost is too great and the feasibility is questionable, such a decision needs cover from the military for internal reasons. Usually, the positions of the security services, even if they differ, have a great influence in crystallizing the position of the “Israeli” public. So, what is the case when there is a consensus among them on the necessity of an agreement?
On the other hand, there is a “guarantee” of the US administration for the agreement. This certainly does not automatically mean a guarantee of its continuation, because the history of American guarantees is dishonorable. But the main factor behind this guarantee is also Washington's fear of a war it does not want in the region.
Therefore, it is clear that all the factors that are presented as constraints on the “Israeli” government’s decision to cancel the agreement are based primarily on the position of the resistance, its seriousness and determination, and the intelligence and military authorities’ realization that the alternative to the agreement is war with Hezbollah. The same applies to the position of the US administration and its fear of the repercussions of the military confrontation on energy security in the eastern Mediterranean. As for the international situation represented by the escalating need for gas due to the Ukrainian crisis, it is sufficient to refer to the announcement of the “Israeli” Ministry of Energy on the sidelines of the climate conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, that “‘Israel’ will need three or four years to provide large quantities that exceed their domestic needs for export,” and that “there is no immediate ability to supply gas in the short term,” which means that the main motive for reaching an agreement was not the gas that the “Israeli” entity would provide to Europe as a substitute for Russia [noting that it is a very modest proportion relative to Europe’s needs].
Based on the aforementioned, the equation established by Hezbollah Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on October 29, 2022 – [No one will be able to extract oil and gas, and continue to extract oil and gas and sell oil and gas if Lebanon is prevented from extracting its oil and gas. This is the title of the next stage] – becomes the guarantor of Lebanon's extraction and benefiting from its wealth. As for any other supposed effect, it would not have been achieved without the presence of the resistance factor and the fears of the repercussions of the choice the Resistance will pursue in response to any attempt to prevent Lebanon from extracting its natural resources.