Settling the Maritime Border Dispute between Lebanon/Hizbullah and Israel

(JINSA) Ambassador Ron Dermer interviewed by Dr. Michael Makovsky - In recent years Israel has found significant gas fields in the Mediterranean. Some 70-80% of Israel's energy comes from natural gas. Israel is exporting gas to Jordan and Egypt, with the possible export of gas to Europe. There is a dispute between Israel and Lebanon over one gas field that has been going on for about 12 years. Israel submitted a maritime border line to the UN, using a line that the Lebanese had submitted in their disputes over maritime borders with Cyprus. Then the Lebanese changed their mind - they liked the line for Cyprus but not for Israel. So the Lebanese advanced a new line, and the Americans have been mediating this dispute for well over a decade to try to work out a compromise by proposing a 55-45% or 60-40% division of the disputed area between the proposed maritime lines of Israel and Lebanon. For many years, Hizbullah tried to prevent any agreement between Israel and Lebanon. All of a sudden, it was announced that a deal is in the offing. This comes after Hizbullah threats and Hizbullah sending drones to the gas fields, saying that if Israel starts to take gas from the Karish gas field in Israeli territory, they were sabre-rattling to try to stop that. So a lot of Israelis are asking, without knowing all the details, why is Israel capitulating to Hizbullah pressure? What happened? Suddenly the division of the disputed territory appears to be 100-0%. It's a good thing to have an agreement with Lebanon over gas. The question is, is Israel compromising its national interests in a rush to get an agreement or capitulating to threats from Hizbullah? That's a very bad lesson and other forces in the region see that. If the feeling is that Israel does not want to fight, we're going to have bigger problems.

2022-10-11 00:00:00

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