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MORNING BRIEF

Damaged water supply, September maritime negotiations, attacks on LGBTQ+ rights and civil marriage: Everything you need to know to start your Monday

Here’s what happened this weekend and what to expect today, Monday, July 4, and in the coming week.

Damaged water supply, September maritime negotiations, attacks on LGBTQ+ rights and civil marriage: Everything you need to know to start your Monday

A man walking with empty water cans on a street in Beirut. (Credit: AFP)

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Hundreds of thousands of residents of the greater Beirut area are in for continued water woes. On Saturday the Beirut Mount Lebanon Water Establishment said repairs to the city’s damaged supply network will take “around two weeks” to finish. Repairs on a main pumping line, the 1200 line, were promised by June 28, but the water establishment has now determined it must replace “a large part of the 1200 line.” The affected areas include Hadath, Moseitbeh, Zoqaq al-Blat , Hamra, Ain al-Mreisseh, Bashoura, and Basta. The water establishment pledged to maneuver to bring water to those neighborhoods in the meantime. Opposition MPs Waddah Sadek (Beirut II), Ibrahim Mneimneh (Beirut II), and Melhem Khalaf (Beirut II) posted a video from the side of the broken pipe, claiming no maintenance has been performed on it in 12 years and lambasting the performance of the water establishment and the Ministry of Energy and Water.

Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib predicted an agreement on the maritime border with Israel in the next three months, in comments made to LBCI television channel on Sunday. “I expect that we will reach an agreement on the demarcation of the maritime border with Israel in September,” Bou Habib said. “The information received from the United States and the United Nations shows progress in the negotiations,” he added. Meanwhile the new interim Prime Minister of Israel, Yair Lapid, assailed Hezbollah at his cabinet’s first meeting on Sunday, saying, "Hezbollah continues on the path of terrorism and undermines Lebanon's ability to reach an agreement on the maritime border." On Saturday, Hezbollah had sent three unarmed drones in the direction of the disputed Karish gas field, which were shot down by the Israeli army. Lapid’s interim government will serve until a new Israeli government is formed following November elections. If the maritime border issue is not resolved before President Michel Aoun’s term ends in October, both countries could be sending new leaders into negotiations this fall.

The country’s state of heightened hostility towards LGBTQ+ people continued over the weekend, with dozens protesting against the community in Tripoli on Saturday. The protesters denounced civil marriage, homosexuality, and a unified personal status law that would take personal status issues out of the hands of religious authorities. The protest came at the tail end of a week of escalations that began with caretaker Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi instructing security forces to prevent LGBTQ-friendly events from being held, and a series of anti-LGBTQ statements from religious authorities across the sectarian landscape. In recent days vigilantes destroyed a rainb0w-flag billboard in Beirut’s Achrafieh neighborhood and a protest in support of LGBTQ rights was forced into indefinite postponement by a barrage of death threats.

The European Union Election Observation Mission will present its final report on Lebanon’s 2022 elections this afternoon. It foreshadowed its key takeaways in a preliminary statement immediately following the election, which said that the elections were overshadowed by widespread vote buying and clientelism that distorted the level playing field, although the mission's chief observer nevertheless said the elections were "valid." The mission also noted instances of intimidation, campaign obstruction, and online misinformation. The campaign finance legal framework is inadequate and the media failed to provide equal visibility to different parties, the mission said.

In case you missed it, here’s our must-read story from this weekend: “How St. George and the dragon live on in this Mar Mikhael mosque.”


Want to get the Morning Brief by email? Click here to sign up.Hundreds of thousands of residents of the greater Beirut area are in for continued water woes. On Saturday the Beirut Mount Lebanon Water Establishment said repairs to the city’s damaged supply network will take “around two weeks” to finish. Repairs on a main pumping line, the 1200 line, were promised by June 28, but the water...