- Israel concluded a historic agreement with neighboring country Lebanon.
- The agreement is regarding their shared maritime border.
- The deal was brokered by the US.
Israel’s prime minister said Tuesday that the country has reached a historic agreement with neighboring Lebanon over their shared maritime border. It’s a rare agreement between two countries that are bitter enemies. But the deal still faces some obstacles, including some expected legal challenges in Israel. There was no immediate confirmation by Lebanon that a deal had been reached.
Connecting the Dots
At stake are rights over exploiting undersea natural gas reserves in areas of the eastern Mediterranean that the two countries which do not have diplomatic relations claim. Premier Yair Lapid called the deal a historic achievement that will strengthen Israel’s security, inject billions into Israel’s economy, and ensure the stability of our northern border. The agreement is expected to enable additional natural gas production in the Mediterranean. Lebanon hopes gas exploration will help lift its country out of its spiraling economic crisis. Senior US energy envoy Amos Hochstein, who Washington has appointed a year ago to mediate talks, delivered a modified proposal of the maritime border deal to lead Lebanese negotiator, Deputy Speaker Elias Bou Saab late Monday night, according to local media and officials.
Lebanon and Israel have been officially at war since Israel’s creation in 1948 and both countries claim some 860 square kilometers of the Mediterranean Sea. Bou Saab delivered a draft proposal to President Michel Aoun, caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati, and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri last Thursday. He told the press that the proposal was in its final form. The final draft of the agreement will be brought before Israel’s caretaker government for approval this week, less than weeks before the country goes to the polls for the fifth time in under four years.
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