Israel looking to delay border deal with Lebanon until after November elections
Tel Aviv is also reportedly looking to push back the extraction of gas from Karish
By News Desk - August 08 2022

An Israeli Sa’ar Class 4.5 missile boat guards the Energean floating production, storage and offloading vessel at the disputed Karish gas field, 2 July, 2022. (Photo credit: Israeli army)

Arabic media reports revealed on 8 August that the US sent a message to Lebanon via Kuwaiti diplomatic channels, saying that a deal to demarcate their maritime border with Israel will not be possible until after Knesset elections in November.

In their communication, Kuwait also told Lebanon that the US is willing to “provide guarantees” that they will receive “all of their demands” in the maritime dispute.

Tel Aviv has reportedly also held discussions to delay the extraction of gas from the disputed Karish gas field, likely due to officials shifting their focus to bombing the Gaza Strip.

However, the report by Al Akhbar highlights that Hezbollah did not welcome the proposal, and that they would not wait longer than announced, reiterating that the resistance is ready to take military action.

The US mediator in the negotiations, Amos Hochstein, returned to Israel on Monday to receive a response to Lebanon’s latest maritime proposal, a week after leaving the region.

Hochstein arrived in Israel on 8 August according to Al-Ahed, to complete his meetings with Israeli officials after failing to reach a conclusion during his visit on 3 August.

Hochstein left last week, as the Israeli premiership was midway through planning for the offensive on Gaza.

According to Al Jazeera TV, the Israeli proposal delivered by Hochstein on 31 July would grant Lebanon the area north of Line 23, including the unproven Qana gas field, while giving Israel full control of the Karish field.

Additionally, the Israeli proposal demanded that Lebanon accept to alter the dimensions of several maritime blocs, giving Israel parts of the southwest blocks near Cyprus.

The demand, however, was rejected by Lebanon, as they refuse to compromise further after forfeiting Karish.

In light of these developments, Lebanon is waiting for the written Israeli response in order to be able to resume the US-mediated negotiations at the UN headquarters in Naqoura, South Lebanon.

On 7 August, Lapid welcomed opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu to his office, marking the end of Netanyahu’s year-long boycott of meeting with the coalition government that unseated him last June.

However, Lapid and Netanyahu will face off again in the November elections. Polls indicate that the elections might unseat Lapid in favor of the Netanyahu’s Likud party, leading to a shift in policy, according to local Israeli media.

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