Thursday, October 01, 2020

  • Thursday, October 01, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon

For many years, Lebanon has been refusing to negotiate with Israel over the maritime border between the two countries, leaving a swath of about 1000 square kilometers in dispute in the natural-gas rich Mediterranean.

Last year Lebanon made noises that it would allow the UN to help mediate the dispute, but that effort went nowhere. 

Now, it appears that Lebanon has finally agreed to indirect negotiations, under the auspices of the US and the UN:

Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri reportedly will announce the framework agreement representing the basis for the launch of indirect negotiations with Israel on demarcating the land and maritime borders, under the auspices of the United Nations and American mediation, al-Akhbar daily reported Thursday.

A high-ranking American delegation led by David Schenker will arrive in Beirut in mid October to start negotiations, it said.
The maritime border is fully within areas controlled by Hezbollah. This means that  the main obstacle to these negotiations, Iran, is becoming less relevant in Lebanon in the wake of the public anger at the Beirut explosion.

Allowing the US to lead the mediation efforts is what is truly stunning, though. It indicates not only a weakening of Iranian influence over Lebanon bit a tentative willingness to acknowledge the US role in creating a new Middle East as seen by the US-brokered Abraham Accords.

There are obvious advantages to Lebanon to end this dispute. Any natural gas fields found in Lebanon's waters would be a bonanza for Lebanon's wrecked economy. That has always been true, but up until now Lebanon's position seems to have been that anything that also benefits Israel must never be done even if it is good for Lebanon as well - classic win/lose thinking of the honor/shame psyche. In the new Middle East, such thinking is quickly going from mainstream to distasteful. 

Commenters on Naharnet are very cynical towards their Lebanese leaders:

phillipo 
Direct, indirect, what difference does it make. In the end some agreement on the sea borders will be reached and signatures of Lebanese and Israeli officials will appear on the same document.
So why can't this happen on a land border agreement?

thepatriot 
It is about time. The world is moving forward, our neighbors are moving forward, and we keep moving backwards, and towards darkness...
I pray that we demarcate those borders, and end up Ebola's [Hezbollah - EoZ] pathetic excuse of a "Resistance"..



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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون



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