Claudine Aoun Roukoz causes an uproar in Lebanon by saying she has no objection to peace with Israel.
By Yakir Benzion, United With Israel
The daughter of Lebanese President Michel Aoun stunned viewers during a television interview when she said she had no objections to signing a peace treaty with Israel and then tweeting again on Monday that she stood by her remarks.
In an interview Sunday on Lebanon’s Al-Jadeed TV, Claudine Aoun Roukoz was grilled by the interviewer about her previous statements in which she indicated she would support peace with Israel once Lebanon’s border disputes were resolved.
The feisty head of the National Commission for Lebanese Women said she had no ideological beef with Israel, just political ones which, if solved, would not prevent her from seeking to reach peace.
“I live in a country that has freedom of expression, I think. I can express my opinion: It does not make sense either – what, we will live in a war forever? Not only a war with Israel, also a war between us?” she said, referring to the internal Lebanese disputes mostly spurred by the Iran-backed Hezbollah terror group, which her father currently supports.
Asked directly if she supports peace with Israel, Aoun Roukoz answered that “first we need to resolve all the problems,” citing the border issues, Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, and what she called the “most important thing” – offshore gas and oil fields currently being negotiated with Israel under American mediation.
Pushed by the interviewer as to whether she had any objection to signing a peace agreement with Israel, she replied: “Why should I have any objection?”
When the interviewer fired back that Israel was the “enemy” of Lebanon, Aoun Roukoz retorted that she has “no ideological conflict with anybody … my conflicts are political, not ideological.”
“Has Germany remained France’s enemy once World War II was over,” she asked rhetorically.
Lebanon has harsh laws dealing with Israel, and any Lebanese person who even meets with an Israeli could face a jail sentence. However, Lebanon stayed out of Israel’s 1967 Six Day War and the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Israel intervened militarily in Lebanon after Palestinian terrorists and the Iran-backed Hezbollah used Lebanon as a base for attacking Israel.
Aoun Roukoz made her comments despite the fact that her father is one of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s closest government allies. The American-brokered talks on the maritime border are taking place under the quiet approval of Hezbollah, which sees a potential cash cow and has its eye on controlling Lebanon’s energy ministry.
Notwithstanding the criticism after the interview, the next day Aoun Roukoz tweeted:
“The demarcation of the borders, the resolution of the Palestinian refugee file, and the protection of the natural resources that we depend on for the advancement of our economy are among the basic steps that must take place, to talk about peace with Israel. I defend my country’s interests first and for its sovereignty and independence.”