Lebanon Daily News Brief 10/05/2022

Wednesday, October 5, 2022



Government of Lebanon Submits Official Response to Maritime Border Proposal
According to Naharnet, “Lebanon has sent Washington remarks over the proposal presented by U.S. mediator Amos Hochstein for resolving the long-running maritime border dispute with Israel . . . Lebanon’s ‘response was presented to the American ambassador today,’ said Deputy Parliament Speaker Elias Bou Saab, who is tasked by President Michel Aoun to oversee the U.S.-mediated negotiations.” [Naharnet]

International Support Group for Lebanon Issues Statement 
According to Naharnet, “The International Support Group for Lebanon (ISG) on Wednesday emphasized ‘the importance of electing within the timeframe set by the Constitution, a new President who could unite the Lebanese people and work with all regional and international actors to overcome the economic and humanitarian crisis for the greater public good, most immediately by paving the way for comprehensive reforms and an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF)’.” [Naharnet]

Several Banks Stormed by Depositors
According to Reuters, “Outraged bank clients, at least two of them armed, stormed four commercial banks across Lebanon on Tuesday over withdrawal limits that have been imposed throughout the country amid a financial meltdown.” [Reuters]

ABL Blames Economic Crisis on the State and Central Bank, Calls for ‘Frank Dialogue’ Between Depositors and Banks 
According to Naharnet,
The Association of Banks in Lebanon on Tuesday blamed the state and the central bank for the country’s ‘extended systemic crisis,’ while calling on depositors to engage with it in dialogue, after five banks were stormed in less than 48 hours in a new wave of bank heists. Criticizing the state for ‘passing budgets, spending and wasting funds, and declaring a default,’ ABL said that the central bank is also responsible after it implemented the policies of the successive governments. Adding that banks ‘have borne and are still bearing repercussions that exceed any responsibility for them in this extended systemic crisis,’ ABL said that the banks are ‘willing to contribute to finding a legal and fair solution that should be sponsored by the state as soon as possible’.” [Naharnet]


“Here, You Can Only Expect Help From God”
Jean AbiNader

AbiNader writes, “When I first visited Lebanon in the early 70s, I came with my mother’s stories of tasty, larger-than-life produce born from the tradition of small-scale, farming that historically fed the nation. Like others, my family had moved from silk production, to tobacco, to fresh produce that always found its way to a ready market in neighboring Batroun. Based on these vivid memories, I had high expectations and was pleased to be fully rewarded by the vitality and scope of the Lebanese markets. Then came the civil war. With young people emigrating to the Gulf and West Africa, farming became an illusory pursuit – abandoned to the greenhouses that dotted the fields and hills as one traveled north and east from Beirut. Lebanese could buy whatever they wanted to consume thanks to the inflated currency and the supply chains that seemed to crisscross the region, bringing products to vendors on every corner. Since then, the decline of the agri-business sector has both changed the country-side as well as options for the future. As in other countries, young people have no interest in finding opportunities in agriculture despite the usual availability of all the productive and marketing inputs. In fact, the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies (LCPS) addressed the prospects for Lebanon’s agro-economy in several studies done in the last decade that indicated the competitiveness of Lebanese fruits and vegetables. Since then, with the onset of the pandemic and subsequent global supply-chain issues, additional studies point to the multiplicity of benefits from supporting an active agro-economy – not only for farmers, but also for the country.”

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L’Orient Today
Public Schools Enter New School Year In Shambles

Anne-Marie El Hage

El Hage writes, “Public school students, who constitute slightly less than a third of the country’s students, returned to classes on Oct. 3. The new school year began in total confusion and disarray. Over the past year, public school teachers have been on strike amid an acute social, political, and financial crisis, calling for a salary increase amid the sharp collapse of the national currency. Despite promises of salary readjustments for those on the payroll and an increase in the hourly wage for those on contract, along with an exceptional monthly allowance of $130, many points remain ambiguous. The Ministry of Education, which appears reluctant to make a statement, did not keep all its promises last year due to a lack of funds. Thousands of contractual teachers were left to fend for themselves, with no aid or transport allowances, and due salaries, which have already lost their value, were paid several months later.”

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the American Task Force on Lebanon, a non-profit, nonpartisan leadership organization of Lebanese-Americans.