Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid announced today (11 October) that Israel has reached a landmark agreement settling a long-standing maritime border dispute with its northern neighbor Lebanon.
The terms of the deal, which have not been made public, have yet to be approved by Israel’s security cabinet and its parliament, the Knesset.
Offshore exploration for natural gas and oil in a 332 square mile area of the Mediterranean Sea is at the heart of cross-border tensions.
If key issues such as property rights and future generation revenues are resolved, both countries could potentially contribute to alleviating the current situation of energy insecurity in Europe.
Because Israel and Lebanon do not have formal diplomatic relations, US envoy Amos Hochstein mediated talks between Lebanon and the Israeli negotiating team led by National Security Council chief Eyal Hulata, the Director General of the Ministry of Energy Lior Schillat and the Director General of the Ministry. of Foreign Affairs Alon Ushpiz.
Lapid thanked Hochstein and said the draft agreement met all of Israel’s security, economic and legal requirements.
Lapid tweeted: “This unprecedented agreement will strengthen Israel’s security, support our economy and provide cleaner, more affordable energy to countries around the world.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun said the proposed deal also satisfied Lebanon.
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 under discussion is fair and positive for both parties.