Hezbollah and the agreement on the maritime border between Israel and Lebanon

Hezbollah sees the draft agreement on the maritime border between Lebanon and Israel as its victory over Israel and the Western countries, as far as it is concerned, it caught the Israeli government in its weakness and blackmailed it to the end through a military threat. Hezbollah spokesmen are careful to say that they are not a party to the agreement in order to maintain the organization's freedom of action to violate the agreement in the future.

The political leaderships in Israel and Lebanon tend to agree to the compromise proposal of the American mediator Amos Hochstein regarding the maritime border between the two countries, which brings the agreement very close to signing after the United States forwarded to both parties a written version of the draft agreement.

Israel will not start producing gas from the “Karish” rig without signing the agreement and Lebanon also will not start drilling in the “Kana” gas field, the transitional government in Israel wants to go through the election process peacefully and Lebanon also wants to elect a new president since President Michel Aoun ends his term in about 3 weeks time , the political situation in both countries is tense.

In Israel the opposition is taking advantage of the government’s intention to sign the agreement for political confrontation before the elections in view of the fact that Israel gave up all the disputed territory in favor of Lebanon, a lot of American pressure to reach a compromise was exerted by the Biden administration on both sides.

In the wake of Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine and the confrontation of the Biden administration with President Putin, President Biden wants to ensure a greater supply of natural gas to the world.

Senior political sources in Jerusalem confirm that Israel was under time pressure due to the fact that Lebanese President Michel Aoun is ending his term at the end of the month and that it feared that “the window of opportunity was about to close” and yes, you have to hurry and reach an agreement.

Israel and Lebanon still have to give their comments to the American mediator on the draft agreement, in Lebanon they say that the answer will be delivered to the Americans within 48 hours, if Lebanon’s answer is positive, the Israeli security cabinet will convene to approve the agreement.

But the assessment is that both parties want to sign the agreement and both benefit from it, the question is who benefits more and who gave up more in the negotiations.

Lebanon received almost everything it demanded in the negotiations that lasted more than 10 years, it will be able to produce natural gas and its dependence on Iran will be significantly reduced in regards to energy supply.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid briefs the Israeli media that the agreement has many advantages, according to him, for the first time Israel’s security border line will be recognized and Israel’s security interests will be preserved as well as its economic interests.

Yair Lapid also claims that Israel will receive compensation from the Lebanese for the gas rights in the gas field located in Israeli territory and he rejected the claims that Israel surrendered to Hezbollah’s threats.

There are still legal problems that the Legal Adviser to the Government will be required to decide on, is it possible to approve the agreement during an election period? Will the agreement be approved by the cabinet or the government and will it be brought to the Knesset for approval or will it only be submitted to it.

The Supreme Court ordered the state to respond by October 27 to the petition of the “Lavi” organization, which claims that the transitional government does not have the authority to sign an international agreement without obtaining the approval of the Knesset.

Hezbollah’s position

Hezbollah is satisfied with the draft agreement on marking the maritime border between Lebanon and Israel and this already means that the agreement is not good for Israel, it succeeded through the terrorism of launching 4 drones at the “Karish” rig to put the Biden administration and the Lapid government under pressure while President Biden also feared that a military flare-up would harm the chances to reach the signing of the nuclear agreement with Iran.

Sources in Lebanon say that a significant portion of the revenue from Lebanon’s future gas production will go to Hezbollah and strengthen it, it will be able to purchase a lot of weapons with this money.

Mohammed Raed, the head of the Hezbollah faction in the Lebanese parliament, said on October 4: “We captured the enemy by the throat and we forced the enemy to recognize our rights, we made a lot of progress regarding the division of the maritime border, what we don’t manage to get in these days we will get in the next days, the enemy knows this and therefore he conducts himself in such a way that he will not give us the opportunity to hit him blow after blow”.

Hezbollah officials say that the organization took advantage of the pressure that the Lapid-Ganz government was under to begin producing gas from the “Karish” rig in order to blackmail Israel and obtain maximum concessions from it in the negotiations conducted by the Lebanese government.

Hezbollah was constantly behind the scenes and knew exactly what was going on in the negotiations.
Hassan Nasrallah says that the decision will be made by the heads of the Lebanese state, but it is clear to everyone that no decision regarding the maritime border between Lebanon and Israel can be made in Lebanon without his consent.

Even if the agreement on the maritime border between Lebanon and Israel is signed, it does not bind the Hezbollah organization, as far as it is concerned, it opposes any negotiations with Israel and it will not recognize the new border even if the agreement is signed.

Hezbollah maintains its freedom of action to act according to the rules of the game it determines and not according to international rules.

Hezbollah took the initiative, launched 4 unarmed drones towards the “karish” rig which were intercepted by the IDF but managed to change the negotiation equation in Lebanon’s favor, this is the achievement of Hezbollah which once again managed to position itself as a defender of Lebanon’s rights and its natural treasures .

Hezbollah claims that it entered the picture with full readiness for war against Israel in order to protect the rights of Lebanon, its determination is the one that subdued the Lapid government and the Biden administration and France.

Hezbollah’s involvement in the negotiations indirectly through its military power brought Lebanon the achievements in the negotiations.

Hezbollah claims that it has no right to negotiate on the marking of the border because it is the waters of the “State of Palestine”, which is not involved in the negotiations at all.

The guarantees that the US and the UN will give to the agreement are of no interest to Hezbollah, it will be able to violate the agreement at any time it wants due to its military power.


Yoni Ben Menachem Senior Middle East Analyst

About Yoni Ben Menachem

Yoni Ben Menachem is a Middle East senior analyst ,a journalist and
the former CEO of the Israel Broadcasting Authority(IBA). He has
decades of experience in written and video journalism. Ben
Menachem’s path in the media world began as a producer for
Japanese television in the Middle East. After that, he held many key
positions in the media The Israeli: CEO of the Israel Broadcasting
Authority, director of “Kol Israel” Radio, reporter on West Bank and
Gaza Strip affairs, political reporter and commentator, commentator
on Middle East affairs and editor-in-chief and presenter of the
program “Middle East Magazine”. 

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