Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid announced today (October 11) that Israel has reached an historic agreement settling a longtime maritime border dispute with its northern neighbor, Lebanon.
The terms of the agreement, which have not been made public, still must be approved by Israel’s Security Cabinet and by its parliament, the Knesset.
Offshore natural gas and oil exploration in a 332-square-mile area of the Mediterranean Sea lies at the heart of the cross-border tensions.
If key issues such as ownership rights and future production revenue are resolved, the two countries potentially could help alleviate Europe’s current energy insecurity situation.
Because Israel and Lebanon do not have official diplomatic relations, US envoy Amos Hochstein mediated the talks between Lebanon and the Israeli negotiating team led by National Security Council head Eyal Hulata, Director-General of the Energy Ministry Lior Schillat and Director-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Alon Ushpiz.
Lapid thanked Hochstein and said the draft agreement meets all of Israel’s security, economic and legal demands.
Lapid tweeted, “This unprecedented deal will strengthen Israel’s security, bolster our economy and deliver cleaner, more affordable energy to countries around the world.”
Lebanese President Michel Aoun stated that the proposed deal satisfied Lebanon as well.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz said of the proposed deal, “The State of Israel is interested in having a stable and prosperous Lebanese neighbor. The agreement in discussion is just and positive for both sides.”