Lebanon-Israel maritime border

What the new Lebanon Israel maritime border deal means for everyone

A decade after the US began mediation efforts, Lebanon and Israel have finally reached an agreement to define their maritime borders in what experts call a “historic” moment. But some observers are more cautious.

New Lebanon Israel maritime border deal means for everyone is the dispute dates back to 2012 when no agreement was reached on the location of the two countries’ shared maritime borders. Israel initially insisted on line 1 (see map), while Lebanon backed line 29.

Hoff, who was appointed the first U.S. mediator in the process, suggested a policy closer to Israel’s preferred options. Ultimately, however, his Line 23, closer to Lebanon’s priority borders, was agreed.

At the center of the dispute are two offshore natural gas fields, the undeveloped Cana gas field in Lebanese territorial waters and the Karish gas field in Israeli territory. Disputes against the resource escalated in July when Hezbollah, Lebanon’s Iran-backed militia, launched a drone strike on a field in Karish. He managed to shoot down all three drones before Israeli air defenses reached their targets. It is hoped that this week’s border agreement will prevent similar incidents.

Proceeds from gas produced from the Canaan oil field will be split between Lebanon and French energy company Total, with 17% of Total’s revenue going to Israel, according to details of the leaked deal. Israel will continue to retain exclusive rights to the Karish field.

The agreement resolves the issue of maritime borders, but does not affect the as yet unrecognized land border between the two countries, the so-called Blue Line, demarcated in 2000 and patrolled by the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon. .

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Pondering why a maritime border agreement could not be reached 10 years ago when the process began, Hof said the government of Najib Mikati at the time (now Acting Prime Minister of Lebanon) was already “steadily collapsing. I was starting,” he said.

U.S. officials also see the maritime deal brokered by Amos Hochstein, the Biden administration’s senior adviser on energy security, as a diplomatic victory that will ultimately improve the region’s overall security and stability.

In fact, she believes that Israel, which already has an ample energy supply, correctly perceives the security advantages offered by an agreement that favors Lebanon’s territorial claims over Israel’s economic self-interest. increase.

But Beirut officials may have had other concerns in mind. As Lebanon faces an economic catastrophe, the caretaker government wants to show that it will act in line with the demands of the international community for reforms in exchange for aid.

Since Lebanon’s economic collapse in 2019, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the devastating explosion at the port of Beirut in August 2020, the United States has continued to pressure the Lebanese government to crack down on a rampant culture of corruption.

US President Joe Biden called Lebanese President Aoun to congratulate Lebanon on the maritime agreement.

A maritime border agreement is definitely a big step forward. However, Hoff does not believe this will lead to normalizing relations between Israel and Lebanon in the near future. Instead, he sees the next few years as a test of Lebanese politics’ willingness to reform and the elite’s willingness to put the needs of its residents before their own.

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