5 ways the Israel-Lebanon maritime deal matters
The Israel-Lebanon maritime deal marks the next stage in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. It will increase cooperation between the two countries and further cement the importance of regional politics on the way to final status talks.
by Jadaliyya, June 24, 2011
The Israeli-Lebanese maritime agreement marks the next stage in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. It will increase cooperation between Israel and Lebanon and further cement the importance of regional politics on the way to final status talks. But the agreement has also been criticized by many within the Israeli Left and on the right.
The agreement was clinched on April 24 in the presence of representatives from the two countries and leaders from the Lebanese government. It was agreed on after intense negotiations between Israel, the PLO and Lebanon, as well as between the PLO and its main opponent, Hamas. This is the second time the two countries have signed an agreement relating to the sea.
While Israel has been reluctant to make any agreements with the PLO, it has been ready to cooperate with other countries. As a result of the Israel-Lebanon agreement, the two countries will cooperate in the area of navigation (both ships and cargo), energy, and ports. The agreement will open the way for the expansion of Israeli naval cooperation with Lebanon, and increase the scope of Israeli-Lebanese shipping. Israel will invest in the construction of an oil refinery at Sidon and increase its cargo capacity by one million tons per year. The agreement is expected to result in an increase in Israeli exports to Lebanon by more than 200,000 tons each year. The deal also includes a bilateral energy deal, for the supply of oil and natural gas from various sources.
The agreement raises questions of its implementation. Even if it is implemented by both parties, Israel will keep the option to withdraw from the area. The agreement also raises questions on the legal basis. While it is not legally binding, Israel will have to give formal notice that Lebanon will be withdrawing under international law. In addition, although Lebanon is bound to implement the agreement under international law, it is unclear whether it will do so.
The agreement will also have an effect on the Israeli-Lebanese relations in the short term. The agreement provides Israeli companies with an exclusive base in