Israel’s Full Cabinet Approves US-Brokered Maritime Deal With Lebanon
Israel’s full Cabinet voted to approve the US-brokered maritime agreement with Lebanon, hours after the Security Cabinet votes to support it. All of the Cabinet members voted Wednesday in support of the deal, with the exception of Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, who voted against the agreement and Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel, who abstained. Shaked had abstained from the vote on the deal in the Security Cabinet meeting.
The proposed agreement will now go to lawmakers, who will have 14 days to review the agreement before a final vote to ratify it. In parallel, the deal will be presented in the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, during classified meetings. The agreement was presented to lawmakers in the Knesset plenum on Wednesday night, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.
“This is a great achievement for the State of Israel, for Israel’s security, and for Israel’s economy,” Prime Minister Yair Lapid said, according to a statement. “We refused the latest demands of the Lebanese government that were made last week, and they were removed from the final text. The agreement was presented today before the Cabinet and before the government, and both approved by a large majority the continuation of the process. I thank US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron for their support, backing and assistance.”
Opposition leaders have called for the agreement to be tabled while an interim government is running the country. Lapid said he would invite Opposition Leader Binyamin Netanyahu for a security briefing of the agreement.
The agreement comes after years of delicate negotiations under the auspices of the US and potentially clears the way for both countries to begin new gas exploration in that area.