Objections to the negotiations on the Israel-Lebanon maritime border agreement have also been raised on the Lebanese side. Lebanese newspaper “Al Akhbar,” which is identified with Hezbollah, has reported Lebanese objections to some of the clauses in the agreement proposed by US mediator Amos Hochstein.
The Lebanese are opposed to the line of buoys as marking the northern line of Israeli control. In practice, this would be the maritime border which 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 US.
The Lebanese are also opposed to including the marking out of the land border between Israel and Lebanon in the agreement. The border between Israel and Lebanon has so far been defined by armistice agreements and not by an agreed international border. The Lebanese are also refusing to link the start of drilling by 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 have not been in dispute. Israeli Ministry of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources director general Lior Schillat is currently negotiating with TotalEnergies on the level of compensation.
Another clause in the agreement that Lebanon objects to is the joint signing ceremony for the agreement at Nakura on the Israel-Lebanon border. The inclusion of this clause in the proposal is puzzling in light of Lebanon’s fundamental opposition to any direct contact with Israel, and to any semblance of normalization.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Yair Lapid has instructed Israel’s negotiating team to reject all Lebanon’s objections to the agreement. Lapid is already under fire from the political opposition led by Likud MK Benjamin Netanyahu, which claims he has conceded too much to Lebanon in the agreement.
At the same time it remains unclear how the agreement will be approved on the Israeli side. Israel’s Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara initially gave an opinion that Prime Minister Yair Lapid could approve the agreement on behalf of Israel, even though he heads a transition government, and that the matter need not be discussed by the Knesset.
But following publication of the details of the agreement by “Globes,” the Attorney General backtracked on her previous written opinion. It is now believed that she will require the cabinet to vote on the agreement after it has been discussed by the Knesset, which will not be required to ratify the agreement. Minister of Justice Gideon Sa’ar and Minister of Defense Benny Gantz support this position.
Attorney General backflips on approval of Lebanon agreement
Draft agreement concedes Lebanese economic zone demands
Earlier this week, the Lavy NGO petitioned the Supreme Court to prevent the signing of the Israel-Lebanon maritime border agreement by a transition government, and Justice David Mintz has instructed the government to provide its response by October 27.
Published by Globes, Israel business news – en.globes.co.il – on October 6, 2022.
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2022.