BEIRUT: Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil's recent comments on Israel's right to exist have drawn criticism from a number of Lebanese officials and sparked controversy on social media. Bassil's office released a statement Thursday defending his remarks after a number of officials called for his resignation.
In a snippet taken from a televised interview broadcast on Al-Mayadeen on December 26 and circulating on different social media channels, Bassil seemed to acknowledge, at first glance, the right of Israel to exist, after saying that "we are not against Israel living in security."
Bassil went on to clarify his comments, saying that his wish "is for everyone to live in peace and to recognize each other", adding that "the issue is not ideological."
According to Bassil's office, the snippet has been taken out of context "in order to distort the minister's image and his position, which has always been that Israel is an aggressor who conducts state terrorism."
"Israel has always been considered an enemy of Lebanon as it continues to violate the rights of Palestinians, Lebanon and the rest of the Arab world, and that position hasn't changed," the statement went on to say.
Bassil's statement comes after a number of Lebanese officials called for him to step down.
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