Lebanon and Israel have reached a historic peace deal, with the United States playing a key role in the negotiations. The agreement will see the two countries normalizing relations and working together on a range of issues, including trade and security.
The deal is a significant breakthrough for the region, and comes after years of tension and conflict. It is also a major success for the Trump administration, which has been working to broker peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors.
Israel and Lebanon announced Tuesday a historic deal that will resolve a long-running maritime dispute in the Mediterranean. This is being viewed as a significant diplomatic breakthrough. Israel and Lebanon don’t have diplomatic relations, and technically the two countries are at war. Analysts believe this agreement may ease tensions between the countries.
What is the deal about?
The US special envoy Amos J Hochstein (coordinator for international energy affairs) presented the draft agreement. He is also the coordinator for international energy affairs at the US Department of State and heads the bureau of energy resources (ENR). It aims to settle Israel’s claims regarding the offshore gas fields.
According to The Times of Israel, Eyal Hulata was Israel’s national security advisor and lead negotiator during the talks on Tuesday morning. He stated in a statement that “all our demands were met” and that the changes we requested were made. We have secured Israel’s security interests, and we are now on the way to a historic deal.
This statement was made shortly after Elias Bou Saab, the representative of Lebanon, had stated that the agreement had addressed all the country’s concerns. Saab said that the new draft “takes into account all of Lebanon’s requirements and that we believe the other side should feel exactly the same.”
This issue has been going on for a little more than a decade since the two countries in question declared in 2011 that they would not recognize each other’s borders in the Mediterranean Sea. The United Nations was requested to mediate, as both countries are technically at war. The issue became more important after Israel discovered two gas reserves off its coast a decade back. Experts believed that this could make it an energy exporter.
What does the agreement do?
Although Israel produces natural gas in nearby fields, this agreement resolves a territorial dispute at the eastern Mediterranean sea. This is an area Lebanon is keen to explore for natural gases.
The gas field is situated on the maritime border between the two countries. This agreement would allow both countries royalty payments from the gas. It also establishes a new border between Israel and Lebanon’s maritime waters for the first time.
The agreement will also prevent the immediate threat from conflict between Israel’s Hezbollah militants, in Lebanon. This is after concerns of an escalation of negotiations. According to the report, analysts believe that the agreement will provide new income and energy sources for both countries. This is especially important for Lebanon which is currently facing crippling financial and energy crises.It could have an even greater impact than that: it could provide Europe with a new source of natural gas to counter the energy shortages caused in part by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
What the agreement doesn’t address?
Although the agreement does not address the border shared between Israel and Lebanon which is still in dispute, both countries have committed to a ceasefire. This boundary is also known as the Blue Line. It was established by the UN in 2000 after Israel retreated from southern Lebanon.
The United Nations forces are currently on the ground patrolling this land border. According to Reuters, the process of settling the dispute over the land border between Israel and Lebanon is more complex and does not include the energy component. Any settlement of the land border dispute would require a wider peace agreement that is unlikely to be reached anytime soon.