The historic Israel-Lebanon deal is one of the major developments in the region. Israel and Lebanon do not have official diplomatic relations, and both of the countries remain technically at a sword’s point, but there has come a major breakthrough, and that is that Israel declared a “historic deal” with “Lebanon” aiming at resolving “a long-running maritime border dispute over the Mediterranean waters”. It is believed that this deal may pave the way for reduced tensions between the nations.
The Beginning of the Conflict
The conflict is almost a decade old; “the two countries declared overlapping boundaries in the Mediterranean Sea” in 2011. “Since both countries have been technically at war, the United Nations was asked to mediate. The issue gained significance after Israel discovered two gas fields off its coast a decade ago”. According to a BBC report, it is believed that it can turn Israel into an “energy exporter”. The US played the role of mediator, and a draft agreement was floated by US envoy Amos J. Hochstein. The “agreement aims to settle Israel and Lebanon’s competing claims over offshore gas fields in the region”.
Israel’s Statement about the Deal
According to a report by the Times of Israel, Eyal Hulata, the national security advisor of Israel and chief negotiator at table talks, said in his statement, “All our demands were met; the changes that we asked for were corrected. We protected Israel’s security interests, and we are on our way to a historic agreement”. This statement came soon after Lebanon’s representative, “Elias Bou Saab,” told us that the agreement had satisfied our earlier concerns.
Lebanon’s Statement about the Deal
“Saab told Reuters that the latest draft takes into consideration all of Lebanon’s requirements, and we believe that the other side should feel the same”. These statements show a win-win situation.
While Israel already produces natural gas at “nearby fields”, this agreement means that it will settle a long-standing “territorial conflict in the eastern Mediterranean Sea”, and “Lebanon” wants to inspect “natural gas”.
Through this deal, a maritime border has been established between Israel and Lebanon for the first time in history. The “field in question is located on the maritime boundary between the two countries, and this agreement would allow both countries to get royalties from the gas”.
Significance of the Israel-Lebanon Deal
According to a “New York Times Report”, this deal is likely to avert “the immediate threat of conflict between Israel and Hezbollah militants in Lebanon” if negotiations fall apart. The report states that it is hoped that this agreement will establish “new sources of energy and income for both countries” which are crucial, especially for “Lebanon”, which suffers from “crippling energy and financial crises”. It could further have a potentially broader effect: it will likely supply “Europe” with a “potential new source of gas” during the “energy” shortage created by “the Russian invasion of Ukraine”.