Libya's Haftar seeks normal Israel ties, stirs uproar
The so-called foreign minister of East Libya-based Haftar forces has sparked uproar by suggesting normalizing relations with Israel, according to media reports.
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Israeli newspaper Maariv said it made an interview with Abdelhadi Lahweij in Paris, during which he said he hopes Libya could establish normal ties with Israel if the Palestinian issue was solved.
"We are a member state of the Arab League and are committed to its decisions, as well as those of the UN," Lahweij told the Hebrew-language newspaper.
"We support the rights of the people, including all of the rights of the Palestinian people. But we support regional peace, oppose terrorism, and fight it in Libya as well."
But the local Alwasat news website cited a statement of the so-called Foreign Ministry of Haftar denying the Lahweij's remarks.
The statement described the remarks as a "desperate attempt" by the UN-recognized government in Tripoli to turn the Libyan public opinion against East Libya-based Haftar forces.
In the Arab world, Israel enjoys normal diplomatic relations only with Egypt and Jordan.
In April, forces aligned with East Libya-based military commander Khalifa Haftar launched a military campaign to capture Tripoli from the UN-recognized Government of National Accord but has so far failed to make advances beyond the borders of the capital.
According to UN data, over 1,000 people have been killed since the start of the operation and more than 5,000 injured.
Since the ouster of late leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: one in eastern Libya supported mainly by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates and another in Tripoli, which enjoys UN and international recognition.