Lebanon and Israel seal the maritime agreement that will allow them to exploit gas in the Mediterranean

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Lebanon and Israel seal the maritime agreement that will allow them to exploit gas in the Mediterranean

Historic agreement in the Mediterranean. Lebanon and Israel, two countries officially at war, have signed the pact to demarcate their maritime border after decades of negotiations mediated by the United States. In separate rooms and without the presence of the press, representatives of both states met in Naqoura, in southern Lebanon, to sign the agreement that begins “a new era”, as The Lebanese representative has announced. Although Hizbullahhas not participated directly in the negotiations, the Lebanese military has given its approval for this understanding to take place. 

“This is a political achievement, not every day an enemy State recognizes the State of Israel in a written agreement in front of the entire international community”, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid has celebrated., before a meeting of the Council of Ministers to officially ratify the agreement. Both in Jerusalem and in Baabda, the palace of the Lebanese president, the leaders have approved the pact that pursues the exploitation of gas in the Mediterranean. “I really believe and hope that this can be an economic turning point in Lebanon for a new era of investment and continued support to boost the economy,” he said. Amos Hochstein, the American mediator.

it has not been easy. In the middle of the Due to the increasing normalization of Arab countries to the State of Israel, Lebanon has wanted to move away from this idea that Lapid celebrated. The actors have not signed the same text, nor have the delegations met in the same room. “The agreement on the maritime border will take the form of two agreements, one between Lebanon and the United States and the other between Israel and the United States”, explained the spokesman for the UN Secretary General, Stéphane Dujarric. The signature arrives just five days before the fifth elections in Israelin the last three and a half years.

Diamonds in the sea

Lebanon has< strong> great expectations for the day after this agreement.The country obtains full exploration and exploitation rightsfrom the Qana field to the northeast, part of which is in Israeli territorial waters. But “Israel will be remunerated” by the company that exploits Qana “for its rights to any deposit,” according to the text. Even so, the tragic economic context of the country with three-thirds of its population below the poverty line, it makes them see diamonds in the sea. Political leaders have heralded the deal as the solution to Lebanon's economic and financial problems. 

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” declares the Director of public policies of the NGO. Kulluna Irada, Sibylle Rizk, in the Lebanese daily L’Orient-Le Jour. “There are many steps left to be taken before a natural gas discovery is made, and if such a discovery is made, it will be several years before I want Lebanon to get its share of the revenue,” he says. But the pact is positive for the security situation on both sides of the border. During the summer, both Israeli military establishments such as the Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah have warned of the possibility of an escalation due to disagreements in the negotiations. n Hezbollah

Therefore, Hezbollah has not hesitated to claim the success of this historic agreement. The group, born four decades ago tolead the “resistance” against Israel, has boasted that its threats to attack the Karish gas field offshore if Lebanon does not obtain its “economic rights” have deterred the “Zionist enemy”. Although Israel already seemed convinced of the need to sign such an agreement, Hasan Nasrallah's men try to justify it in this way. the least belligerent speech in the history of the militia against its historical rival. 

Finally, the marine deposit of Karish was it remains in Israeli waters. Without even waiting for the signing, the energy group Energean started the process. on Wednesday the production of natural gas there. The Israeli Government The day before, he had given the definitive approval to the company to start production in the field. Lebanon has asked the French company TotalEnergies to begin exploration work at the Qana deposit. But there are still years to see results. Meanwhile, the country is facing a power vacuum amid growing political tensions a few days after the end of the term of President Michel Aoun without finding a successor.