Photo Credit: IDF
IDF patrols the Karish offshore gas field. July 2, 2022

Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati said Wednesday that Lebanon is not worried about the possibility that Israel’s electoral victor, Benjamin Netanyahu, might roll back the recently signed maritime border agreement between the two countries.

Netanyahu, currently serving as Opposition Leader but likely to once again lead Israel following this week’s elections, vowed to “neutralize” the agreement if he returns to the prime minister’s office.


The maritime border deal, signed last Thursday, drew a border between Israel’s and Lebanon’s exclusive economic zones (EEZ) based on a boundary known as Line 23. It also awarded a disputed area of around 840 square kilometers (324 square miles) to Lebanon, and recognized Israel’s claim to the Karish natural gas field, where the Energean energy firm began extracting natural gas last week.

The deal also awarded royalties from the sale of gas from the Qana gas field that fall within Israeli maritime territory. Lebanon’s claim to Qana was recognized as well.

Israel’s caretaker Prime Minister Yair Lapid signed the deal last month in an “indirect ceremony” during which Lebanese officials signed a partner document separate from that signed by the Jewish State.

Mikati told Reuters in a phone interview that guarantees by the United States – which also signed a partner document – would protect the agreement.

US President Joe Biden drafted a letter this past weekend, guaranteeing America’s commitment to Israel’s security and economic rights in the new agreement.

The letter was not published, however, “because contrary to political agreements, it is not customary to disclose such documents,” a US official said.

The letter reiterated the US commitment to Israel’s ability to defend itself and supported Israel’s rights to royalties from sales of natural gas extracted from the portion of the Qana offshore field that lies within Israel’s territory.

Biden also promised to prevent Lebanon’s Iranian proxy, Hezbollah, from deriving any financial benefit from the gas field, and officially recognized the five-kilometer buoy line stretching from Rosh Hanikra into the sea as a permanent status quo line.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.