On 14 October, Lebanese and Israeli officials began talks on their common maritime border, which has attracted attention in recent years after the discovery of large quantities of oil and gas in the eastern Mediterranean. The two countries have long disagreed on issues such as the country that owns the Shebaa farms, whether the Hizballah can keep weapons and whether Israeli military aircraft can fly over Lebanese airspace. After Israel signed a maritime agreement in 2010 setting the boundaries of its exclusive economic zone with Cyprus, Lebanon protested against the agreement and declared its own border, creating a controversial area of about 860 square kilometres. It took 10 years for the two countries to reach the negotiating table, but in September, the American mediators finally negotiated a « framework agreement » that governed the rest of the negotiations. If physical geography were the only relevant factor, the Lebanese city of Naqoura could hardly register in the country`s consciousness. Still a small fishing village at the beginning of the 20th century, its rocky beaches and rugged cliffs would have esteem, but otherwise little attention of those who rise and descend from the coast. A turn of fate gave the city an important role in the contemporary history of the Middle East: a French proposal, consolidated in June 1920 as part of an Anglo-British agreement of 1923, left the city as the southernmost Lebanese coastal city, a few steps from the northern border of the British mandate of Palestine. The domestic political situation has made it even more urgent. Lebanon`s catastrophic economic collapse has been accompanied by massive protests against a corrupt political elite and new sources of income are needed to cover one of the world`s largest public debts per capita. The August explosion in the port of Beirut, which killed several hundred people, injured thousands and possibly caused some $20 billion in economic damage, reinforced this need, while negotiations on the framework agreement had been ongoing until then. In addition, some suspect that the negotiations are, at least in part, an imperative for the time when representatives of the Trump administration in the Middle East imposed additional financial sanctions on individuals and entities close to Hizballah.
A biden administration, according to thought, might be less inclined to do so. The final agreement is a compromise between Mr. Sharon`s demands and he denounced it as insufficient. Nevertheless, it contains many elements of Israel`s original proposal. If the agreement results in the withdrawal of Israeli troops, negotiations are expected to begin within six months of the withdrawal of normalization of the movement of goods and people across the Israeli-Lebanese border. The agreement says nothing about the transition period, but Israeli officials are convinced that the border can remain relatively open as it is today, at least for trade. Sharon`s role in Accord v. The Security Agreements Committee oversees the implementation of the security provisions contained in this agreement and this schedule, as well as the timing and modalities, as well as all other aspects of withdrawals described in this agreement and annex. To this end, and with the agreement of the contracting parties, this will be the case: Mr. Fattal also stated that Israel and Lebanon had an obligation to address the obstacles that still existed on the horizon. Lebanon is not leaving the Arab world, he says, but is « a step towards a just and lasting peace, » as he noted in the May 1974 exit agreement between Syria and Israel. In the hope of consolidating these gains, Israel has conditioned its withdrawal of troops and the implementation of the rest of the agreement on the withdrawal of the O.L.P.