Israeli court gives Lebanon maritime deal a green light
JERUSALEM — Israel’s Supreme Court on Sunday rejected petitions that would have held up a landmark U.S.-brokered deal setting a maritime border with Lebanon.
Four groups, including an opposition lawmaker, had asked the court to force the government – which is looking to fast-track the deal ahead of a Nov. 1 election – to instead hold a full vote in parliament.
The court’s decision eliminates one of the last hurdles in Israel that could disrupt the deal.
While limited in scope, the maritime deal marks a significant compromise between neighbors with a history of war and hostility, opening the way for offshore energy exploration and easing a source of recent tensions.
The United States has praised the deal as a “historic breakthrough”.
There has been some opposition in Israel to how the government has handled the deal. Prime Minister Yair Lapid said his government’s approval was sufficient, while his opposition says it must be ratified by parliament, especially during an election run-up.
The agreement sets a border between Lebanese and Israeli waters for the first time and also establishes a mechanism for both countries to get royalties from TotalEnergies’ exploration of an offshore gas field that straddles the boundary.