US mediator made new proposal to Lebanese-Israeli maritime issue
The issue of maritime border demarcation between Lebanon and the Israeli occupation could be nearing its end, with the US mediator making a new proposal to the two parties.
The United States made an offer to the Israeli occupation and Lebanon to resolve the maritime border issue, Israeli media said on Monday. The proposal is reportedly linked to the path the Lebanese-Israeli maritime borders will follow.
"The US mediator in the maritime borders talks, Amos Hochstein, during his regional visit last week, made a settlement proposal regarding the outstanding issues between Israel and Lebanon regarding the demarcation of the borders along line 23 and the Qana field," Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.
The newspaper said that following the new US proposal, political and security figures in "Israel" seemed optimistic about reaching a final settlement to the dispute over the borders.
The settlement proposal, Haaretz said, asked to change and adjust line 23 toward Lebanon instead of near the coast in order to allow for a "bigger defensive area against possible threats from the sea, near the coastline."
The Israeli outlet clarified that the political leadership in "Tel Aviv" was ready to make concessions with regard to Qana and believed that the main achievement would be the stabilization of ties between the two parties in the sea, as well as preventing an escalation related to this issue in the future.
Lebanon and the Israeli occupation have been participating in indirect, US-mediated talks to draw a line between the two parties' maritime areas, which would determine who has ownership over which oil and gas resources.
Israeli media quoted earlier this month a senior Israeli official in the gas sector as saying that the maritime border demarcation agreement that is taking shape with Lebanon is a complete surrender by "Israel", noting that "Israel's" submission is a great victory for Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.
Last month, Sayyed Nasrallah threatened the Israeli occupation over its attempts to forcibly extract gas from the contested region, warning, "If Lebanon does not obtain the rights demanded by the Lebanese state, we are heading toward an escalation whether or not the nuclear agreement is signed."
An informed source told Al Mayadeen that Hochstein handed Lebanon on September 11 the coordinates of the line of maritime buoys.
The source explained that these coordinates constitute the "last point that is being negotiated", in preparation for sending his [Hochstein's] "full offer".
Hochstein had arrived in Lebanon to hold a lightning round of talks with senior officials, and after his meeting with President Michel Aoun, Deputy Speaker of Parliament Elias Bou Saab, and the Director-General of the Lebanese General Security, Major General Abbas Ibrahim, he spoke about "very good progress" in the negotiations.
The mediator said he believes that "it will be beneficial to all parties", expressing his optimism. He added that "more efforts must be done, and the United States is committed to resolving the outstanding issues to reach an agreement that is in the interest of the Lebanese people."
In conjunction with these statements, US President Joe Biden had stressed to the Israeli occupation Prime Minister, Yair Lapid, the importance of completing negotiations to demarcate the maritime borders with Lebanon in the coming weeks.
Sayyed Nasrallah reiterated his threats during a speech on Saturday, saying: "Lebanon is facing a golden opportunity that may reoccur by the possibility of extracting gas to address its crisis." He also stressed that oil and gas extraction from the Karish field could not be allowed before Lebanon obtains its full rights, a red line for the Lebanese Resistance group.
Axios quoted a White House official as saying that resolving the maritime issue between "Israel" and Lebanon is a major priority for the administration of US President Joe Biden.