Photo Credit: Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO
Prime Minister Yair Lapid before departing to France. July 5, 2022

Prime Minister Yair Lapid took off on Tuesday for a diplomatic visit to Paris where he will meet with French President Emmanuel Macron, his first visit as the Israeli premier after taking office on Friday.

This is a short pre-planned visit, which was initially meant to be conducted by Naftali Bennett, who left office last week.

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Before departing, Lapid warned Lebanon of the consequences of Hezbollah’s repeated attacks on Israel.

The two leaders will also discuss Hezbollah’s drone attack over the weekend on Israel’s Karish gas rig in the north, which ended with the Navy’s interception of the three aircraft. France is considered a patron of Lebanon.

“Israel will not agree to this type of attack on its sovereignty and everyone who does so must know they are taking an unnecessary risk to their well-being. The Government of Lebanon needs to restrain Hezbollah in the face of such attacks, or we will be compelled to do so,” he warned.

Israel has yet to respond to the attack.

Lapid will reportedly present Macron materials proving that Hezbollah is endangering Lebanon’s stability, and will ask him to put pressure on Beirut to end the maritime border negotiations.

The attack comes as Israel and Lebanon are negotiating the maritime border between the two countries, as the common Israel-Lebanon maritime boundary is not agreed upon between the two countries. The issue has been under discussion for over a decade. The focus of both sides is the oil and gas discoveries in the territorial waters which are under dispute.

Lapid further stated that France “is a major strategic partner of Israel in many fields. But a large part of today’s visit is due to the fact that France is one of the E3 countries that are dealing with the nuclear deal with Iran. It’s important that our opinion against this dangerous agreement and against Iran’s organizing and nuclearization be heard at this time.”

The EU three refers to France, Germany, and Italy, the three large founding members of the European Union.

Europe, with the US on the sidelines, is currently negotiating Iran’s return to a nuclear deal, which Israel seeks to ensure will actually prevent the Islamic republic from developing nuclear weapons in the long term.

“It’s important that the international community knows that on the Iranian nuclear issue, Israeli society stands together – as one body, with one position, presenting a unified position to the international community,” he declared.

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Aryeh Savir is director of the International division of Tazpit News Agency.