Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Tuesday that there are "positive voices" in Lebanon with regard to a peace treaty with Israel.
Visiting a military exercise in northern Israel, Gantz said, "I hear positive voices from Lebanon, too, that are talking about possibly peace and relations with Israel, who are examining things together with us on the maritime border [negotiations]."
Haaretz podcast: Haredi hijack of 'Jewish parliament' foiled - for now. PLUS: Borat's Jewish Nobel?
He continued, "Lebanese civilians need to know that Hezbollah is a problem for them as well, [not just] for Israel. If Hezbollah acts against the State of Israel, then Lebanon will pay the price. I hope it doesn't come to that," he said.
Earlier this month, Lebanese and Israeli teams met at a United Nations base in southern Lebanon for talks on their disputed maritime border.
- Israel, Lebanon to resume U.S.-mediated talks over disputed maritime border
- Could Israel-Lebanon talks bring sides closer to resolving land border?
- No partner? When needed, Israel can talk to Hezbollah
Both delegations met under the auspices of the United Nations on the UNIFIL base in the town of Naqoura in southern Lebanon. If the talks go well, it will be possible to move toward a deal "within weeks or months," according to a senior Israeli Energy Ministry official.
These are the first official civilian diplomatic talks in 30 years between Israel and Lebanon, and their goal is to settle the dispute over natural gas exploration in the maritime area between the countries.
A senior official involved in the negotiations said earlier this month that "These are not peace talks and it is not normalization as with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. It is a very, very clear and specific goal; it is a technical, economic dispute."