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Why the enemies of Lebanon and Israel are talking now

At its heart is the gas-rich Karish field in the eastern Mediterranean, which Israel intends to start exploiting.

The US Geological Survey estimated in 2010 that the Levantine Basin could contain up to 1.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 122 trillion cubic feet of gas. For comparison, that would make the basin’s gas reserves equal to around 7% of Russia’s reserves, the largest in the world.

Orna Mizrahi, senior researcher at the Israel Institute for National Security Studies, said in a briefing to reporters on Sunday that the main issue preventing an agreement between the two sides was a “change of Lebanese position” on the location of the maritime border between Israel and Lebanon lie.

What is the current Lebanese-Israeli dispute about?

The crux of the dispute is in fact over the maritime economic border between the two countries and how to calculate the border line that stretches from Lebanon to the land border of Israel.

For years, the area in dispute covered around 860 square kilometers, with Lebanon claiming its maritime border was south of Israel’s claim. Below these border lines, the Karish field lay well within the area claimed by Israel.

But recently, Lebanon revised its original maritime boundary claim, moving it further south and adding around 1,400 km2 more to what was originally claimed, according to Mizrahi. The additional area includes part of the Karish field where Israel is carrying out explorations.

Why is this dispute erupting now?

On June 5, when London-based oil and gas exploration company Energean arrived to begin development of Karish on behalf of Israel, Lebanon argued that the field should not be developed until it would not have concluded the talks to delimit the maritime border.

Why are these discussions important?

Struggling with a crippling economy and a fragmented government, Lebanon desperately needs new sources of revenue from oil and gas exploration, while Israel is keen to position itself as a new supplier of natural gas to Europe as alternative to Russia. The delimitation of the border would allow both parties to exploit the resources of the Mediterranean without legal obstacles or threats of a possible military confrontation.

“Lebanon, more than Israel today, needs this deal,” said Lebanese energy expert Laury Haytayan, adding that a deal would also ensure Israel’s security, allowing it to explore and drill without “the constant danger of potential escalation” with Lebanon.

What is the current status of the talks?

The United States has offered a compromise solution, which would create an S-shaped maritime economic border between the two countries. Under the proposal, all of Karish would go to Israel, while most of Qana, another field that has commercially viable gas potential, would go to Lebanon.
US mediator Amos Hochstein said in an interview with US Al-Hurra television that a proposal Lebanese officials have presented to him will allow negotiations “to move forward”.

The summary

US hits Iran with new sanctions, targets Chinese and UAE companies

The United States issued new Iran-related sanctions on Thursday, according to the US Treasury Department. The new sanctions targeted Chinese and UAE companies and a network of Iranian companies that help export Iranian petrochemicals.

  • Background: The United States sanctioned a network of Iranian petrochemical producers, as well as “front companies” in China, the United Arab Emirates and Iran, saying they were “instrumental in brokering” the export of petrochemicals Iranians, read a statement from the Treasury. The network is also committed to facilitating international transactions and the evasion of sanctions, the statement added. The Chinese and Emirati companies could not be reached by Reuters for comment.
  • Why is this important: The moves could increase pressure on Iran to reinvigorate the 2015 nuclear deal, which would limit Iran’s nuclear capabilities in exchange for the lifting of sanctions. While the deal was close to being reached, talks have stalled since March, when the US terrorist designation of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards emerged as the latest point of contention. stumbling block.

Israel Police conclude investigation into conduct at Shireen Abu Akleh’s funeral

Israel Police said they had concluded an investigation into police actions during the funeral procession of slain Al Jazeera correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh in Jerusalem last month. Instead of releasing details of the investigation or findings, police released a statement in which Israel Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai acknowledged that Abu Akleh’s funeral was a “complex event”, adding that it “is impossible to remain indifferent to harsh images”. Israeli media have widely reported that no serving police officers, or their commanders, will be penalized for their actions.
  • Background: Television footage had shown officers beating mourners with batons, nearly knocking the pallbearers off their feet. At the time, Israeli police said they responded to objects and stones thrown at police. Shabtai said police looked into the conduct of forces on the ground, but he appeared to blame funeral attendees for the way events unfolded: “We have to learn thoroughly [the lessons from] the incident, so that in future sensitive events like these are not disrupted by violent rioters, and are respected.”
  • why is it importantIsrael Police came under heavy criticism after the motorcade, with the White House calling the footage ‘disturbing’ and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying he was ‘deeply disturbed by footage of the Israeli police interfering in the funeral procession.

‘Jamal Khashoggi Way’ sign unveiled in front of Saudi Embassy in Washington

A sign honoring slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was unveiled outside the Saudi Embassy in Washington, DC on Wednesday, with DC Council Speaker Phil Mendelson saying “the district is creating a memorial in his honor which cannot be concealed or repressed”.
  • Background: US intelligence reports revealed last year that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) “approved an operation in Turkey to capture or kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi”, which MBS has denied.
  • why is it important: The unveiling of ‘Jamal Khashoggi Way’ comes a month before Biden is due to travel to Saudi Arabia, where he is supposed to meet MBS. The trip has already drawn criticism from his party members and human rights advocates over the kingdom’s human rights record and the journalist’s murder.

Around the region

Egypt on Thursday recovered five pharaonic artifacts smuggled out of the North African country that had been seized by Kuwaiti customs in 2019, state news agency MENA reported.

The artifacts were statues of Egyptian pharaohs, including Amenhotep III and Amun-Ra, as well as the ancient Egyptian god Horus. Among them was also a stone mural.

Three of the artifacts date back to 1400 BC. AD, the official Kuwait News Agency said, adding that it was the second time that Kuwait had returned stolen artifacts to Egypt. In 2018, the Gulf nation returned a wooden coffin lid to Egypt.

Antiquities theft and smuggling increased in Egypt after the 2011 uprising, which saw relics stolen from museums as well as from illegal excavations. The North African country has continued its efforts to locate and recover its stolen treasures.

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Why the enemies of Lebanon and Israel are talking now


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