Wednesday, November 30th | 6 Kislev 5783

October 2, 2022 12:26 pm

Regional Security: Israel Embraces US-Mediated Draft Deal on Maritime Boundary With Lebanon

avatar by Sharon Wrobel

London-based Energean’s drill ship begins drilling at the Karish natural gas field offshore Israel in the east Mediterranean May 9, 2022. REUTERS/Ari Rabinovitch

Israel’s Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Sunday expressed his support for the US-brokered draft deal on the demarcation of its maritime boundary dispute with Lebanon for fostering regional security.

“We are discussing the final details, so it is not yet possible to praise a done deal; however, as we have demanded from the start, the proposal safeguards Israel’s full security-diplomatic interests, as well as our economic interests,” Lapid stated.

Lapid confirmed that Israel and Lebanon over the weekend received the proposal mediated by US envoy Amos Hochstein for an agreement on the maritime demarcation line, which would allow both sides to explore offshore gas reserves.

“For over a decade, Israel has been trying to reach this deal,” Lapid said. “The security of the north [near the Lebanese border] will be strengthened.”

Related coverage

November 30, 2022 3:01 pm

Algemeiner Unveils 9th Annual ‘J100’ List at Gala Featuring Enes Kanter Freedom, Sebastian Kurz and Pat Boone

The Algemeiner unveiled its 9th annual “J100” list of the top 100 people “positively influencing Jewish life” on Tuesday night,...

The seemingly positive feedback comes as London-based exploration and production company Energean Plc, which holds the rights to Israel’s offshore Karish field, is expected to start extracting gas from the disputed site. Lebanon has been insisting that the Karish field is in disputed waters, while Israel maintains that it is firmly within its exclusive recognized economic zone.

The ongoing dispute has in recent months fueled tensions. The head of Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorist organization Hassan Nasrallah has escalated threats to attack Israeli targets in the Karish gas field unless an agreement delineating the Israel-Lebanon maritime boundary is reached.

“The Karish field will operate and produce natural gas,” said Lapid. “Money will flow into the state’s coffers and our energy independence will be secured.”

Although details of the proposed agreement have not been released, Lapid said that Israel would not “oppose the development of an additional Lebanese gas field,” and in exchange Israel would receive a share of revenues.

“Such a field will weaken Lebanon’s dependence on Iran, restrain Hezbollah and promote regional stability,” Lapid said.

According to Amos Yadlin, head of the Institute for National Security Studies and a former Israeli military intelligence chief, this suggests that the draft proposal also provides Lebanon with rights to drill at the disputed Qana field, even though its southern part is located in Israeli territory.

In a televised speech on Saturday, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah hailed the US-mediated draft proposal as a “very important step,” which “will open very promising prospects” for the Lebanese dire economy, adding that the coming days will be “crucial.”

Overall, the emerging agreement appears to be serving the interests of both countries, Yadlin said, “especially in the face of a very undesirable alternative — a large-scale and destructive military conflict for both sides.”

“Israel can extract gas from the Karish site without interruption — an important addition to its energy independence, especially in a world where natural gas prices are on the rise,” he said. “Lebanon has the possibility to advance gas exploration and production, to improve its economic situation and perhaps get out of its current state of bankruptcy.”

Lapid said that the received proposal is currently under legal review before being submitted to a vote for government approval.

Share this Story: Share On Facebook Share On Twitter

Let your voice be heard!

Join the Algemeiner

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.