Israel’s Cabinet approved the controversial maritime deal on Wednesday evening as well as Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s plan to bring the deal to the Knesset for a review but not a vote.
Lapid’s move was in opposition to the recommendation of Attorney-General Gali Baharav-Miara.
Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked voted against the deal, slamming Lapid’s decision not to bring it for a Knesset vote, espcially so close to elections. According to a Channel 12 News report, she said during the cabinet meeting: “If Netanyahu had brought the same agreement two weeks before elections and you were in the opposition, you would have burned down the country. You would have called him Erdogan and claimed it was the end of democracy.”
Shaked had asked her former longtime partner Naftali Bennett to use his right of veto to revoke the plan but he refused and supported the deal.
The Knesset will have two weeks to review the deal but it cannot vote against the deal even if its members oppose it.
Following the review, the deal will return to the Cabinet for a final ratification.
Later on Wednesday evening, Shaked wrote a detailed post explaining why she voted against the deal, slamming Lapid and Bennett and stating that “a severe thing happened here.” She called for the deal to be brought to the Knesset for a vote, saying that “if as Lapid says, this is a ‘historic agreement,’ then where there is a major and historic move, broad public support is needed and certainly not reliance on a transitional government that has lost public support.”
She continued by condemning Lapid, saying: “Lapid wanted to reach a political achievement and therefore gave in to Lebanon and Nasrallah. Only the Yesh Atid jingle was missing in the background.”
Former prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu also slammed the deal on Wednesday, calling it a “historic surrender” and bemoaning the fact that a transitional government is signing such a deal shortly before elections.
Former UN Ambassador Danny Danon responded to the announcement by stating: “Lapid’s surrender to the terrorist group Hezbollah will increase the blackmail against Israel. I’ve been speaking out for weeks about the dangerous agreement with Lebanon that Lapid is rushing into while he hides information from the public and avoids discussion in Israel’s government forums.”
“The agreement that was approved today by the cabinet is a total surrender to the threats of the terrorist group Hezbollah and its Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah.”
“The deal includes ceding significant strategic areas of the Qana gas reservoir worth hundreds of billions of dollars. This money will go to Hezbollah’s terrorist activities instead of to the citizens of Israel.”
“Lapid’s rush to sign such an agreement as Israel’s interim prime minister a month before elections is a move that will tie the hands of the next government and is a blatant violation of our democracy. Unfortunately, it will set a precedent for future negotiations on Israel’s maritime borders.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)