Oct. 14 (EUROPA PRESS) –
The US mediator in the talks between Israel and Lebanon on the delimitation of their maritime border has defended that the agreement reached guarantees Israel’s security and is beneficial for both countries, in the face of criticism from the Israeli opposition in the face of the signing of the pact.
The United States envoy for Energy, Amos Hochstein, has highlighted that “Israel has negotiated very hard on the security agreements near the coast and has obtained what it wanted”, in a series of interviews granted to the Israeli television networks Channel 12 and Channel 13.
Thus, he stressed that the agreement has been possible after “changing the equation” in the negotiations, since, although Israel and Lebanon had different objectives, they were not necessarily exclusive, as reported by the newspaper ‘The Times of Israel’ .
“What did Israel want? To have its share of the economic benefits, true, but it really wants security and stability in the Mediterranean Sea, given that Israel’s dependence on the Mediterranean is a result of its enormous success in developing this natural gas,” has explained.
Hochstein has acknowledged that “there is always very fiery rhetoric in political campaigns, especially when the elections are approaching”, referring to the criticism of the former prime minister and current opposition leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, ahead of the anticipated parliamentary elections on November 1 .
“I think that Israel’s main national security interests, both in this government and in previous ones, is that they wanted an agreement along these lines,” he argued, before emphasizing that Lebanon has made concessions to reach an agreement on the delimitation of border.
In this way, he specified that the agreement “gives Israel the ability to control” the space up to five kilometers out to sea “to have visibility.” “It’s a huge amount of security for Israel,” she extolled, before adding that there would also be no “missile threat” against the Karish camp, which remains under Israeli control.
“Israel gets stability and security,” Hochstein stressed, stating that Lebanon will control the Qana field. “Israel has not granted gas or resources. The field in question in the disputed waters has not been explored. We do not even know if there is gas there,” he said.
The deal calls for Israel to get 17 percent of the revenue generated from Qana’s exploitation, while Lebanon “gets some money to stop the decline, collapse and utter devastation of the Lebanese economy.” “It is the first step of hope”, he has said.
In this way, he has recognized that in the past there were more beneficial proposals for both countries, although he has explained that all of them reached dead ends that blocked the negotiations during the administrations of former US presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump.
Therefore, Hochstein has emphasized that the agreement “ends a period of conflict.” “Lebanon always said that it would not reach agreements with Israel and Israel has never been able, since the founding of the state, to reach an agreement with Lebanon on any issue and especially none on the borders,” he has settled.
NO PARLIAMENTARY DEBATE NEEDED
For his part, the president of the Lebanese Parliament, Nabih Berri, has affirmed that a parliamentary debate is not necessary to approve the agreement, which was already endorsed on Thursday by the country’s president, Michel Aoun, because “it is not a agreement with Israel.
Berri explained in statements given to the Saudi daily ‘Asharq al Awsat’ that the agreement will be handed over to parliamentarians for them to take note of, although he has rejected calls for a debate on the text with a view to its ratification.
Parliamentarian Melhem Khalaf called for an “emergency session” to address the issue and stressed that “it is not permissible to give up the country’s territory,” according to the Lebanese news portal Naharnet. However, the agreement contemplates that it will be official once the United States confirms that it has received the approval of Israel and Lebanon.
Israel and Lebanon — which are technically at war and do not maintain diplomatic relations — began a process of indirect talks in October 2020, mediated by the United States and held under the auspices of the United Nations at the headquarters of the international organization. in the Lebanese city of Naqura.
The negotiations revolve around an area of 860 square kilometers that, according to both countries, is located in their respective Exclusive Economic Zones, a matter of special importance after the discovery of gas reserves in this area that both Israel and Lebanon hope to be able to exploit. .