Israel and Lebanon agree maritime border
October 4, 2022 - A U.S.-brokered agreement delineating the maritime border between long-time foes Israel and Lebanon has been announced, opening the door to offshore energy exploration and bringing vital foreign investment into Lebanon.
As part of the deal, Israel will take full control of Karish gas field in exchange for exclusive Lebanese rights to neighbouring Qana field. French company TotalEnergie will operate the Qana field, giving a royalty share to Israel as recompense for its claims to parts of the field. Although this sort of agreement is commonplace, in that each country holds the rights to exploit resources in its own Exclusive Economic Zone and will therefore command a share in the development of cross-border reservoirs, determining the actual percentage due to Israel will be made more complex by the difficult situation between the two countries, who technically remain at war.
In 2021, the Lebanese government dominated by Hezbollah and its allies had changed their negotiating position on its territorial claim to take in an additional 1,400 square km including the Karish gas field, the so-called Line 29. Until 2020, Lebanon’s dispute with Israel focused on a more modest 860 square km bordered by Line 23, which now becomes the new border. However, wiith a November 1 election approaching in Israel, opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu has hinted he could scrap the deal.