Lebanon rejects the participation of an Israeli minister in border negotiations

Israel's insistence on the issue may set off negotiations even before they begin

Jerusalem24 – The Lebanese Al-Akhbar newspaper reported this Monday morning that the Lebanese side strongly opposes Israel’s attempt to impose the participation of ministerial elements in the negotiations on the maritime and land borders.

Lebanese political sources told the newspaper that Lebanon strongly refuses to allow Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz to participate in the negotiations, and that Israel’s insistence on the issue may set off negotiations even before they begin.

The Lebanese delegation will be headed by a brigadier general in the army, and will include officers and experts specializing in international law and borders. It will hold its first meeting in the middle of this month, in the presence of the American envoy, David Schenker, who will arrive in Lebanon on October 12.

The details of the “shape” of the negotiations have yet to be resolved between Lebanon and the United Nations. As for the maps, the sources say that the army has all the maps that it started preparing since 2006, in which the demarcation started from point (1) south towards the north, and it turned out later that it was a wrong demarcation and deprived Lebanon of about 860 square kilometers of water in the economic zone. Which was was amended later to make point (23) the starting point for the demarcation to the South, which legally returned the area of 860 square kilometers to Lebanese sovereignty, as well as the exclusive economic zone decree that was issued in 2011 and deposit it with the United Nations.

The most important thing in these maps is the separating point of the land border in Naqoura, which is the point B1, which will have a great influence in drawing the direction of the maritime boundary line, and thus the exclusive economic zone. This point in Naqoura was where the Israeli army was stationed, even though it was located on Lebanese territory. The Lebanese army entered it in 2018, and revealed the mark installed since the armistice agreement. And retrieving this simple distance on land means retrieving about 17 km at the end point of the exclusive economic zone in the sea.

Israel had previously tried to make amendments to it by pushing the borders to about fifty meters north, citing security arguments, but Lebanon refused, because the amendment, even for one meter to the North, inevitably means Lebanon losing tens of kilometers in the sea.

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