The Crisis In The Middle East

Israel and Lebanon reach an Agreement on Maritime Border

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Israeli region for mapping

Mains level : Not Much

israel

Israel has reached a US-brokered agreement with Lebanon to settle their long-disputed maritime border. This has been seen as a historic deal.

Israel-Lebanon Boundary Issue

  • The draft agreement aims to settle Israel and Lebanon’s competing claims over offshore gas fields in the region.
  • A major source of friction was the Karish gas field, which Israel insisted fell entirely within its waters and was not a subject of negotiation.
  • The issue is a little over a decade old, after the two countries declared overlapping boundaries in 2011 in the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Since both countries have been technically at war, the United Nations was asked to mediate.
  • The issue gained significance after Israel discovered two gas fields off its coast a decade ago, which experts had believed could help turn it into an energy exporter.

Key terms of the Agreement

  • The agreement seeks to resolve a territorial dispute in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, in an area that Lebanon wants to explore for natural gas.
  • The gas field in question is located on the maritime boundary between the two countries and this agreement would allow both countries to get royalties from the gas.
  • It also sets a border between the maritime waters of Lebanon and Israel for the first time.

Why is this agreement signed?

  • Averting terror threats: The agreement is expected to avert the immediate threat of conflict between Israel and Hezbollah militants in Lebanon, after fears of escalation if negotiations fell apart.
  • Energy exploitation: The agreement will create new sources of energy and income for both countries, particularly important for Lebanon, which is facing a crippling energy and financial crises.
  • Alternative energy for Europe: It could also have a potentially wider impact: it would likely provide Europe with a potential new source of gas amid energy shortages caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

What the agreement does not address?

Ans. Blue Line Issue

  • The agreement does not touch on the shared land border between Israel and Lebanon, which is still disputed, but where both countries are committed to a ceasefire.
  • This border is also called the Blue Line, a boundary that was drawn up by the UN after Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon in 2000.
  • This land border is currently patrolled by the United Nations forces.

 

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