Objections to the negotiations on the Israeli-Lebanese maritime border agreement have also been raised on the Lebanese side. The Lebanese newspaper “Al Akhbar”, which is identified with Hezbollah, reported Lebanese objections to some of the clauses of the agreement proposed by the American mediator Amos Hochstein.
The Lebanese are opposed to the line of safety buoys, which would mark the northern line of Israeli control. In practice, this would be the maritime border that was set by Israel after its withdrawal from Lebanon in which it demonstrates its naval presence. Under the terms of the proposed agreement, this situation would continue without Lebanese objections and recognized by the United States.
The Lebanese are also opposed to the inclusion of the marking of the land border between Israel and Lebanon in the agreement. The border between Israel and Lebanon is currently only defined by armistice agreements and not by an agreed international border. The Lebanese also refuse to link the start of drilling by the French company TotalEnergies SE on the Lebanese side to an agreement on the compensation plan with Israel. This involves compensation for the small area left in Israeli economic waters that has gone unchallenged. The Director General of the Israeli Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources, Lior Schillat, is currently negotiating with TotalEnergies on the level of compensation.
Another clause of the agreement that Lebanon opposes is the agreement’s joint signing ceremony in Nakura, on the Israeli-Lebanese border. The inclusion of this clause in the proposal is surprising in light of Lebanon’s fundamental opposition to any direct contact with Israel and any semblance of normalization.
Following reports of Lebanon’s objection to the deal, a senior Israeli source said Prime Minister Yair Lapid would not compromise on Israel’s security and economic interests. “We are awaiting official comments from authorized officials on how to proceed,” the Israeli source said.
At the same time, it is still unclear how the deal will be approved on the Israeli side. Israel’s Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara initially opined that Prime Minister Yair Lapid could approve the deal on Israel’s behalf, even if he heads a transitional government, and the issue is not does not need to be discussed by the Knesset.
But after the details of the agreement were published by “Globes”, the attorney general reversed his previous written opinion. It is now believed she will ask the cabinet to vote on the deal after it has been discussed by the Knesset, which will not be required to ratify the deal. Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar and Defense Minister Benny Gantz support this position.
Earlier this week, the NGO Lavy asked the Supreme Court to prevent the Israeli-Lebanese maritime border agreement from being signed by a transitional government, and Judge David Mintz asked the government to provide its answer by October 27.
Published by Globes, Israel business news – en.globes.co.il – October 6, 2022.
© Copyright Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2022.