Why enemies Lebanon and Israel are talking now


At its center is the gas-rich Karish field in the eastern Mediterranean, which Israel plans to exploit.

The US Geological Survey estimated in 2010 that the Levantine Basin could contain as many as 1.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 122 trillion cubic feet of gas. By comparison, that would equate the gas reserves of the basin to about 7% of Russia’s reserves, the world’s largest.

Orna Mizrahi, a senior research fellow at the Israeli Institute for National Security Studies, said in a briefing to reporters on Sunday that the main issue preventing an agreement between the two sides was a “change in Lebanese stance” about where the maritime border should be located. between Israel and Lebanon.

What is the current conflict between Lebanon and Israel about?

The crux of the dispute is actually about the maritime economic boundary between the two countries, and how to calculate the boundary line stretching from Lebanon and Israel’s land border.

For years, the disputed territory covered about 860 square kilometers, with Lebanon claiming its maritime border was south of Israel’s claim. Below those boundary lines, the Karish field was well within Israel’s claimed territory.

But recently Lebanon revised its original maritime border claim, moving it further south and adding about 1,400 square kilometers than originally claimed, according to Mizrahi. The additional area includes part of the Karish field where Israel is conducting reconnaissance.

Why is this dispute flaring up now?

On June 5, when London-based oil and gas exploration company Energean arrived to begin development of Karish on behalf of Israel, Lebanon argued that the field should not be developed until talks to demarcate the maritime border were completed.

Why are these conversations important?

Struggling with a crippling economy and fragmented government, Lebanon desperately needs new sources of revenue from oil and gas exploration, while Israel is eager to position itself as a new natural gas supplier to Europe as an alternative to Russia. Demarcating the border would allow both sides to exploit the resources of the Mediterranean without legal hurdles or the threat of a possible military confrontation.

“Lebanon, more than Israel today, needs this deal,” said Lebanese energy expert Laury Haytayan, adding that a deal would also provide security for Israel, allowing it to explore and drill without the “constant danger of potential escalation” with Lebanon. .

What is the current status of the conversations?

The US has proposed a compromise solution, which would create an S-shaped maritime economic border between the two countries. Under the proposal, all of Karish would go to Israel, while most of Qana, another field with potential for commercially viable gas, would go to Lebanon.
US mediator Amos Hochstein said in an interview with US-based Al-Hurra TV that a proposal presented to him by Lebanese officials will make the negotiations “progress”.

the summary

US hits Iran with new sanctions, targets Chinese, UAE companies

The US on Thursday issued new sanctions against Iran, the US Treasury Department said. The new sanctions targeted Chinese and UAE companies and a network of Iranian companies that help export Iranian petrochemicals.

  • Background: The US approved a network of Iranian petrochemical producers, as well as “front companies” in China, UAE and Iran, saying they “played an important role in brokering” Iran’s petrochemical exports, read a statement from the ministry of Finance. The network was also involved in facilitating international transactions and evading sanctions, the statement said. The Chinese and Emirati companies could not be reached by Reuters for comment.
  • Why it matters: The moves could increase pressure on Iran to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, which would curb Iran’s nuclear weapons capabilities in return for sanctions being lifted. As the deal neared completion, talks have stalled since March, when the US terror appointment of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards emerged as the latest sticking point.

Israeli police complete investigation into behavior at Shireen Abu Akleh funeral

Israeli police said they completed an investigation into the police conduct during the funeral procession of murdered Al Jazeera correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh in Jerusalem last month. Rather than release details about the investigation or findings, the police released a statement in which Israeli Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai acknowledged that Abu Akleh’s funeral had been a “complex event”, adding: “It is impossible to remain indifferent to the harsh images.” Israeli media has widely reported that no police officer on duty, or their commanders, will be punished for their actions.
  • Background: Television footage showed officers beating mourners with batons, causing the porters to nearly drop the coffin. At the time, Israeli police said they were responding to objects and rocks thrown at the police. Shabtai said police had been investigating the behavior of the troops on the ground, but he seemed to blame the undertakers for the way events unfolded: “We need to learn thoroughly [the lessons from] the incident so that in the future sensitive events such as these will not be disrupted by violent rioters and will be respected.”
  • Why it matters: Israeli police faced harsh criticism after the procession, with the White House calling the images “disturbing” and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying he was “deeply disturbed by the images of Israeli police entering the funeral procession “.

‘Jamal Khashoggi Way’ Sign Unveiled in Front of the Saudi Embassy in Washington, DC

A street sign honoring slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was unveiled Wednesday outside the Saudi embassy in Washington, DC, with DC Council chairman Phil Mendelson saying that “the district is creating a memorial in his honor that cannot be obscured or suppressed.”
  • BackgroundUS intelligence reports last year showed that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) “approved an operation in Turkey to capture or kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi,” which MBS has denied.
  • Why it matters: The reveal of “Jamal Khashoggi Way” comes a month before Biden visits Saudi Arabia, where he is to meet MBS. The trip has already drawn criticism from members of his party and human rights lawyers over the kingdom’s human rights record and the journalist’s murder.

Around the region

Egypt on Thursday recovered five pharaonic artifacts smuggled from the North African country and seized by Kuwaiti customs in 2019, state news agency MENA said.

The artifacts included statues of Egyptian pharaohs, including Amenhotep III and Amun-Ra, as well as the ancient Egyptian god Horus. Among them was also a stone mural.

Three of the artifacts date back to 1400 BC, the state-run Kuwait News Agency said, adding that this was the second time Kuwait had returned stolen artifacts to Egypt. In 2018, the Gulf nation sent a wooden coffin lid back to Egypt.

Theft and smuggling of antiquities increased in Egypt after the 2011 uprising, during which relics were stolen from museums and through illegal excavations. The North African country has made efforts to locate and recover its stolen treasures.

Photo of the day

A visitor views a 1644 manuscript copy of the "Holy Prayers of the Christian Soul"  by Pierre Moreau (R) on display at the recently opened Mohammed Bin Rashid Library (MBRL) in Dubai on June 16.

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