Former US ambassador to Israel David Friedman slammed the Israeli government for the reports on Sunday that it is accepting the US proposed maritime deal between Israel and Lebanon, saying that the deal is a complete surrender on Israel’s part.
“We spent years trying to broker a deal between Israel and Lebanon on the disputed maritime gas fields,” Friedman wrote on Twitter on Monday morning. “Got very close with proposed splits of 55-60% for Lebanon and 45-40% for Israel. No one then imagined 100% to Lebanon and 0% to Israel. Would love to understand how we got here.”
According to the deal, the disputed Qana/Sidon gas field, which straddles the Israeli/Lebanese economic zones will be developed entirely by Lebanon, with Israel receiving financial compensation for its part of the zone. What does Israel get for conceding the disputed area? A reduction of tension with Hezbollah – which many view as a capitulation to Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s threats.
The Israel-Lebanon maritime border deal in two pictures. pic.twitter.com/Jx0fZejc7x
— Mike (@Doranimated) October 2, 2022
According to Eugene Kontorovich, the Director of International Law at the Jerusalem-based Kohelet Policy Forum, the deal is not only a capitulation to Hezbollah, but the signing of the deal during an interim government is a violation of Israel’s constitutional norms.
“The proposed natural gas agreement between Israel and Lebanon represents a total capitulation to Hezbollah and a transfer of sovereign Israeli territory to an Iranian puppet state,” he stated. “As the people of Iran fight for their freedom, Israel is surrendering to Tehran via Beirut without even receiving acknowledgment of its existence in return, let alone peace.”
“After being proposed and rejected a decade ago, the deal is being rammed through, just weeks before the Israeli elections – in violation of Israeli constitutional law – because the Biden administration and Hezbollah understand the desperation and weakness of the Lapid-Bennett government.”
Former Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz also slammed the deal. “When I started the negotiations two and a half years ago, I received a lot of opinions and also read articles on how similar disputes were resolved in different parts of the world,” he said in an interview with Radio 103 FM. “It always ends in a compromise, it never ends when one side gets 100 percent of the disputed area and the other side 0.”
“I supported the attempts to reach an agreement with Lebanon, even at the price of a compromise, but a compromise – not surrender. There is no financial compensation here at all, nothing is shared. The entire disputed area goes to Lebanon. You don’t get any compensation, what they say is compensation is a type of deception. You don’t get anything for the concession you made, you get the gas in your area.”
“How do they justify it? That we’ll be able to pump gas from Karish – that means that Nasrallah who threatened to fire missiles at Karish didn’t do so. It means surrendering to blackmail.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)