Draft agreement concedes Lebanese economic zone demands

Published date03 October 2022
Publication titleGlobes (Rishon LeZion, Israel)
The compensation mechanism has not yet been determined, and it will be discussed together with the developing companies. Israel has foregone its demands concerning its economic zone, and accepted the Lebanese demand for a border between the two countries' economic waters along what is known as Line 23. Israel's original stance was to agree to concede 60% of the disputed area. The maritime border between the two countries will be the line of buoys stretching from the shore five kilometers out to sea, in accordance with Israel's demand

The draft is a proposal by US mediator Amos Hochstein, and the diplomatic source said that it was acceptable to Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Minister of Defense Benny Gantz. It is worth noting that a similar arrangement, involving financial compensation in relation to a gas field in Israeli waters, is meant to settle the dispute between Israel and Cyprus over the Aphrodite/Yishai field. The source said that after the agreement was approved it would go to the relevant UN institution which would ratify it and thereby end the dispute over the Israel-Lebanon maritime border.

The source said that the agreement would be discussed in Israel's security cabinet on Thursday, but that it had not yet been decided which body should vote on it, the cabinet or the full government. He said that only after that would a positive response be conveyed to the US, adding that the US and France would be guarantors of the agreement, and that France, which owns 50% of Total, had an economic interest in it succeeding.

The direct achievement of the agreement, at least in the short term, is a calming of the atmosphere vis-à-vis Hezbollah, and a reduction in friction and in the chances of a military confrontation arising from the dispute, as Hezbollah has threatened.

Asked whether the draft agreement did not represent a surrender to Hezbollah and its leader Hassan Nasrallah, after their threats against Energean's production platform in the Israeli Karish gas field, the source said, "A window of opportunity has been created, partly because of the political situation in Lebanon, and we are trying to take advantage of it and end the dispute." On the question of how the agreement should be approved, he said that the National Security Council was working closely with Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara on all the legal aspects. He refused to comment on leader of the opposition Benjamin Netanyahu's statement that a future government headed by him would not...

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