Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) National President Morton A. Klein released the following statement:
The ZOA condemns the Israeli Supreme Court for shamefully flouting Israel’s Basic Law (Israel’s highest law of the land), by enabling left wing “caretaker” temporary prime minister Yair Lapid to push through a dangerous maritime border deal that totally capitulates to Iranian-terror proxy Hezbollah’s demands, just days before Israel’s national elections, without the required Knesset vote and national referendum. Israel is surrendering 100% of the territory in dispute and getting nothing in return. This a huge blow to Israel’s democracy, security, economy, and the rule of law.
The Biden administration pressured Israel to enter into this maritime surrender deal which gives Israel absolutely nothing; sets Israel’s maritime border at the line demanded by Iranian terror proxy Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon (line 23) and surrenders to Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon 330 square miles of Israel’s maritime territory and exclusive economic zone, which hold rich natural gas fields, including most of the Kana gas field. This will strengthen the Iranian terror regime and enrich the Hezbollah terror group with billions and billions of dollars; harm Israel’s security; deprive Israel’s people of needed resources; and harm Israel economically. This is not a peace deal; and will not bring any peace: Hezbollah/Lebanon specifically say this is not a normalization or peace deal, and are refusing to sign any documents directly with Israel. Instead, Israel is signing an agreement with the hostile-to-Israel Biden administration to surrender Israel’s maritime territory.
The deal will further harm Israel because moderate Arab nations – which want to work together with Israel to curb Iran – are now less likely to do peace deals with a weakened Israel that is capitulating to Iran-backed Hezbollah terrorists. This unlawful surrender of Israeli territory may also very well set a terrible precedent that left wing Israeli officials and judges may use to arrange other unlawful surrenders of Israeli territory, without legally required votes.
As ZOA explained after this disastrous maritime territory surrender deal was announced, Israel’s Basic Law: Referendum (2014), requires that any agreement that causes Israeli law, jurisdiction or administration to no longer apply to territory in which they currently apply, must be approved by either: a majority of the Knesset plus a national referendum, or two-thirds (80 members) of the Knesset. In addition, right wing caretaker interim prime ministers have been blocked from taking such major actions. Yet, left wing Lapid is pushing this horrendous deal through with none of these required Knesset and national votes. (See “Surrendering Israel’s Maritime Waters/Gas Fields, Under Biden’s Pressure, is Illegal and Gives Terrorist Hezbollah Billions,” ZOA, Oct. 12, 2022.) It is absurd and shameful that Israel’s Supreme Court summarily threw out four petitions that had demanded that Yair Lapid’s temporary government follow the law by holding the required votes.
Notably, the deal is not a valid treaty under U.S. law (the only other party to Israel’s agreement) because the deal did not receive the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate pursuant to the U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section 2, Clause 2.
Top experts – including the 12,000 former Israeli military officers of Habithonistim (the Protectors of Israel Movement) confirm the terrible harms caused by Israel’s maritime surrender agreement. (See, also Caroline Glick interview with combat pilot and Likud Member of Knesset Yoav Kisch; “Seven Myths about the “Historic” Israel-Lebanon Maritime Border Agreement,” by Michael Doran, Oct. 19, 2022; and numerous informative items tweeted by former U.S. Ambassador to Israel David M. Friedman.)
In order to restore the rule of law in Israel and prevent the huge harms created by the maritime surrender deal, ZOA urges Israel’s next government to immediately repudiate this unlawful agreement, and/or to immediately submit the deal to the required Knesset vote and national referendum.