Being featured in an interview published by Axios, Bahaa Hariri has come under fire by online commentators who found out that the older brother of their designated Prime Minister has been interviewed by an Israeli journalist residing in Tel Aviv; Barak Ravid.
As Ravid shared the link to the interview with his Twitter followers, Lebanese users quickly noted that Hariri didn't seem to mind being interviewed by the diplomatic correspondent of the Israeli Walla News, who is also a contributor to Axios.
Many comments disapproved of the mere fact that Hariri spoke to the Israeli journalist, despite the 1943 Lebanese Criminal Code and the 1955 Lebanese Anti-Israeli Boycott Law, in which Lebanese nationals are "prohibited from any interactions with nationals of enemy states," including Israel which continues to occupy Lebanese territories in Shebaa Farms.
Some tweets wondered why such laws don't apply to Hariri, questioning whether or not this hints at an approaching normalization in ties between Lebanon and Israel, who have been engaging in negotiations over borders for the last few weeks.
Bahaa Hariri had an interview with an Israeli journalist which is completely forbidden under the 1943 Lebanese Criminal Code and the 1955 Lebanese Anti-Israeli Boycott Law which prohibit “any interaction with nationals of enemy states” pic.twitter.com/LKMzatiPyd— Omar Tamo (@OmarTamo19) November 9, 2020
فأنا ضد أي شكل من أشكال #التطبيع و لو عن حسن نية)! اليوم يتحفنا #بهاء_الحريري بمقابلة مع صحافي إسرائيلي، و غدًا سيستقبل بحفاوة و قد يصبح رئيس للوزراء! السؤال هنا ما هذا القانون الذي لا يُطبق على الجميع، ألسنا كلنا تحت سقفه! لتلغى مادة التربية المدنية التي لم نر منها شيئا يطبق!— فَرَحْ (@thewanderer789) November 10, 2020
Translation: "I'm against all forms of normalization even well-intended ones. Today, Bahaa Hariri is interviewed by an Israeli journalist and he may be welcomed soon as next PM. The question is how come laws are not applied to everyone? Shouldn't we all abide by them?..."
Meanwhile, Lebanese commentators argued that Bahaa's main remarks during the interview (in English) have warned of the next government that is being formed in his country, saying that his brother "must not form a government with Hezbollah."
Despite residing in Geneva, Switzerland, the businessman whose wealth is estimated by $2B according to Forbes, Bahaa has been increasingly making political statements regarding the situation in his country, especially after the Beirut Blast last August, after which he appeared in a number of TV interviews.
Translation: "Maybe next time do the interview in Tel Aviv not remotely..."
Bahaa Hariri was interviewed by an Israeli journalist for Axios.— Aya(t) (@Aya_Isk) November 9, 2020
“I love my brother& care about him, but political differences between us are stark. To me it is clear anyone who forms a gvt under control of Hezbollah is not doing the right thing." #لبنانhttps://t.co/4f9eLhLeJq
Being the elder of Rafik Hariri's children, Bahaa was expected to become the leader of the Sunni Lebanese bloc in the Lebanese political scene following the assassination of his father in February 2004, before he expressed his disinterest in politics, which allowed his younger brother Saad to lead several Lebanese governments since then.
However, Bahaa's growing interest in politics comes to show his dissatisfaction with the government's performance, concern over what has been referred to as the failure of the Lebanese state and what he called "dishonorable and corrupt politicians," in addition to the involvement of Hezbollah in the government.
Congrarulations to the future President of the United States of America. We wish you all the best. pic.twitter.com/yjIWeYCPqW— Bahaa Rafik Hariri (@bahaa_hariri_) November 8, 2020
Moreover, Bahaa has just tweeted his congratulations to the US President-elect Joe Biden this week, posting a photo taken earlier with him.
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