Israel And Lebanon Reach Historic Agreement
Where would you expect to see such a sight as this? People sifting through trash cans for food. Possibly in some alleys of downtrodden neighborhoods? This scene is occurring daily in what many used to refer to as “an oasis of opulence,” Beirut, Lebanon. Unfortunately, this scene is now common in Lebanon. Last month’s World Food Program said, “An estimated 33 percent of Lebanese now lack minimum dietary provisions.”
Israel has long been a pariah state in the eyes of its Muslim neighbors. Israel does not even have diplomatic relations with Lebanon, its neighbor, but now new offshore oil and gas fields are bringing the two former arch-enemies into a new relationship with one another. There are land borders between countries that are easily defined, but maritime borders are a bit more complicated. Israel and Lebanon have agreed to a U.S.-brokered deal that allows both nations to have access to the gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean, which hopefully will ease what has been growing military tensions between the two nations. It will also really bring some much-needed income to Lebanon’s collapsing economy. Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said, “This is a historic achievement that will strengthen Israel’s security, inject billions into Israel’s economy, and ensure the stability of our northern border.” It appears to be a win-win for both countries.
However, there is one fly in the ointment: Hezbollah, the Iran-allied militant group that controls southern Lebanon. It has threatened to attack Israel’s new offshore gas facility that is readying for production. It has launched drones over the area as well as unmanned aircraft, all of which have been shot down by Israel. Europe is increasingly looking for alternative sources of fuel in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. A very cold winter may be in store for much of Europe and the Mediterranean area if tensions between these nations do not thaw soon.