Israel prepares for Lebanon maritime border demarcation

The negotiations to set a maritime border between Israel and Lebanon are nearing an end, with some cautious optimism on the Israeli side, according to Israeli sources.

 Prime Minister Yair Lapid flies over the Karish gas rig. (photo credit: AMOS BEN-GERSHOM/GPO)
Prime Minister Yair Lapid flies over the Karish gas rig.
(photo credit: AMOS BEN-GERSHOM/GPO)

The Security Cabinet is expected to gather later this week to approve the maritime border demarcation agreement.

Israeli sources are saying that early drafts of the accords meet their expectations. According to the sources, the document was transmitted for legal consultation. 

"Israeli security interests are being fully kept," they added.

US ambassador to Lebanon, Dorothy Shea, met on Saturday with President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Najib Mikati, and handed the draft of the maritime border demarcation agreement.

The draft is expected to be examined by a Lebanese team of experts that will deliver their notes and recommendations to the government. 

Lebanese media reports that President Aoun spoke with Speaker of the Parlement Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Mikati, to consult with them about the recent proposal.

  Karish gas field, located in Israel territory and disputed by Lebanon.  (credit: ENERGEAN) Karish gas field, located in Israel territory and disputed by Lebanon. (credit: ENERGEAN)

Speaker of the Parliment Berri said in an interview with Asharq AL-awsat that "the draft is suitable to the Lebanese demand not to create an association between the approval of maritime borders to land borders."

Opposition to the demarcation agreement

Members of Knesset Yariv Levin of Likud and Orit Strook of Religious Zionism, who oppose the agreement, have said: "As Lapid gallops to the maritime border demarcation while bypassing and trampling the Knesset - it is appropriate that Justice Minister Sa'ar will use his veto to protect democracy and will prevent the hiding of the agreement prior to its approval in the government."

"We are concerned that the justice minister is avoiding for over a week to answer our petition," they added.

It is appropriate that Justice Minister Sa'ar will use his Veto to protect democracy and will prevent the hiding of the agreement prior to its approval in the government."

Yariv Levin and Orit Strook

Prime Minister Lapid has recently instructed to start producing natural gas even if the demarcation agreement will not be finalized.

The assessment is that if Lebanon will accept the agreement, the Israeli government will advance the legal process to approve the agreement.

The Israeli government already started to prepare for the legal resistance to the agreement.