Maritime Agreement With Lebanon Is 1st With Enemy Country, Official Says
US mediator Amos Hochstein, left, and Israel's Prime MInister Yair Lapid meet in Tel Aviv on October 27, 2022 following the signing of the maritime border agreement between Israel and Lebanon. (Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)

Maritime Agreement With Lebanon Is 1st With Enemy Country, Official Says

The signing by Israel and Lebanon of the landmark agreement to define their maritime border in the gas-rich Eastern Mediterranean is “an historic day,” and the first time that Israel has signed an agreement with an enemy country, Lior Hayat, the head of Israel’s National Strategic Communications Directorate, told The Media Line on Thursday following the signing.

“This agreement brings a lot of achievements to Israel, on the strategic, security, and economic level. It also brings achievements to Lebanon, especially economic achievements that will make Lebanon’s economy more stable. Lebanon’s stability is of an interest to Israel; the stronger or more stable Lebanon will be, the less dependent they will be on Hizbullah and Iran,” Hayat told The Media Line.

He pointed out that the agreement is the first time that Israel has signed an agreement with an enemy country. “It is certainly a sign to other countries in the region that we can reach agreements even without signing a peace agreement,” he said.

Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun signed a letter approving the agreement from his presidential palace in Baabda and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid signed in his Jerusalem office. A handover ceremony involving lower-level officials took place later on Thursday at a United Nations base on the two countries’ shared land border. There was no interaction between the two countries’ delegations during the ceremony, according to reports.

Lapid met on Thursday evening in Tel Aviv at the Kirya Defense Department headquarters with US mediator Amos Hochstein. Lapid thanked Hochstein for “all the great work … in making the deal between us and Lebanon happen. It wouldn’t have been possible without you and without the support of President Biden who was there for us all the way. His commitment to Israel is deeply appreciated and your commitment to the whole process is deeply appreciated.”

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