Lebanon and Israel have finally agreed on a US-brokered proposal over a disputed maritime border in a rare cooperative move since 1948 when Israel was established.
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said on Tuesday that "This is a historic achievement that will strengthen Israel's security, inject billions into Israel's economy, and ensure the stability of our northern border," referring to the significant compromise that would open the way for offshore energy exploration and easing a source of tensions between states with a history of war and hostility.
In Lebanon, President Michel Aoun said the terms of the final US proposal were satisfactory and he hoped the deal would be announced as soon as possible.
The agreement is meant to resolve a territorial dispute in the eastern Mediterranean Sea in an area where Lebanon aims to explore for natural gas. Israel is already producing natural gas at fields nearby. The deal establishes a mechanism for both countries to get royalties from TotalEnergies' exploration of the offshore gas field that straddles the boundary.
Last week, Lapid instructed negotiators to turn down Lebanon’s requested modifications, saying that any further negotiations would cease permanently if Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah movement threatens or attacks Israel's Karish gas rig.
Earlier in October, Lapid said that as per the arrangement gas would be produced by a company under a Lebanese license in the disputed Qana prospect, with Israel receiving a share of revenues.
“Such a field would weaken Lebanese dependency on Iran, restrain Hezbollah and bring regional stability," he said.