BEIRUT (VINnews) — Will Lebanon be the next country to sign a peace treaty with Israel? According to Lebanese journalist Nadim Koteich, it is the most logical step and Lebanese interest to promote a peace deal with Israel. In an article published Tuesday and translated by Israeli journalist Shimrit Meir, Koteich claimed that the only thing preventing a peace treaty is “the hijacking of the sovereign right to decide by an ideological group which has no right to exist unless there is perpetual enmity between the two states.”

Koteich added that “the (Israeli) occupation ended in 2000 and could have ended many years early if Lebanon had aligned its interests better and not remained beholden to Syrian and Iranian interests. It is possible that the occupation would never have occurred if Lebanon had distanced itself from the conflict with Israel as it successfully did in 1967.

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“Israel’s asspirations on the maritime border regarding natural gas and oil are like any normal aspirations of two adjacent countries and they have solutions in international law and via private companies which have an interest in finding, drilling and extracting the gas and oil, as well as via the two governments of Lebanon and Israel.”

Regarding the issue of Palestinian citizenship in Lebanon, Koteich wrote that the Shiites had caused massive internal destruction in Lebanon and more Lebanese had fled the country than Palestinians fleeing Israel, especially in the wake of the Beirut explosion. Why would Palestinians want citizenship if even the Lebanese themselves are rejecting their own country?

Koteich concluded that “whoever wishes to frighten the Lebanese claiming that Israel wants to destroy Lebanon should stop and ask himself which war or Israeli attack destroyed Beirut within seconds like the explosion at the port.”

Koteich has made a number of outspoken statements in the past, calling Israel a “scientific, economic, cultural and military power” on Lebanese television and refusing to refer to Israel as “the enemy.”