What are the enemies of Lebanon and Israel talking about now?

Its heart is the gas-rich Karish field in the eastern Mediterranean, which Israel plans to develop.

USGS estimate in 2010 that the Levant Basin could contain up to 1.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 122 trillion cubic feet of gas. In comparison, this would make the basin’s gas reserves equal to about 7% of Russian reservesthe largest in the world.

Orna Mizrahi, a senior fellow at the Israel Institute for National Security Studies, told a press briefing on Sunday that the main issue hindering an agreement between the two sides is the “change in Lebanese position” on where the maritime border between the two sides lies. Israel and Lebanon are lying.

What is the current Lebanese-Israeli dispute about?

The crux of the dispute really lies in the maritime economic boundary between the two countries and how to calculate the boundary line that runs from Lebanon to the land border of Israel.

For years, the disputed territory spanned about 860 square kilometers, with Lebanon claiming its maritime boundary lay south of Israel’s claims. Beneath these border lines, the Karish field was within Israel’s claimed territory.

But recently, according to Mizrahi, Lebanon has revisited its original claim to the maritime border, moving it further south and adding about 1,400 square kilometers more than originally claimed. The additional area includes part of the Karish field where Israel is conducting exploration.

Why is this controversy flaring up now?

On June 5, when the London-based oil and gas exploration company Energean arrived to begin developing Karish on Israel’s behalf, Lebanon said the field should not be developed until maritime boundary negotiations were completed.

Why are these conversations important?

Struggling with a declining economy and a fragmented government, Lebanon desperately needs new sources of revenue from oil and gas exploration, while Israel seeks to position itself as a new supplier of natural gas to Europe as an alternative to Russia. The definition of the border would allow both sides to use the resources of the Mediterranean without legal obstacles or the threat of a possible military confrontation.

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

What is the current status of negotiations?

The US offered a compromise a solution that would create an S-shaped maritime economic border between the two countries. Under the proposal, all of Karish would go to Israel, and most of Qana, another field with commercial gas potential, would go to Lebanon.
This was stated by the American mediator Amos Hochstein in an interview. American TV channel Al-Hurra TV. that the proposal presented to him by the Lebanese officials would allow the talks to “move forward”.

Digest

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

The US imposed new sanctions on Iran on Thursday, according to the US Treasury Department. The new sanctions target Chinese and Emirati companies, as well as a network of Iranian firms that help export Iranian petrochemicals.

  • Background: The US has sanctioned a network of Iranian petrochemical producers as well as “front companies” in China, the UAE and Iran, saying they “facilitated the brokering” of Iranian petrochemical exports, the Treasury Department said in a statement. The network has also been involved in facilitating international transactions and evading sanctions, the statement said. Reuters was unable to contact Chinese and Emirati companies for comment.
  • Why is it important: The moves could increase pressure on Iran to restart the 2015 nuclear deal, which would limit Iran’s nuclear capability in exchange for the lifting of sanctions. As the deal drew to a close, negotiations had stalled since March, when the latest stumbling block was the US designation of the elite Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization.

Israeli Police Complete Investigation of Behavior During Shirin Abu Akle’s Funeral

Israeli police claim they have completed the investigation on police actions during the funeral procession of slain Al Jazeera correspondent Shirin Abu Akle in Jerusalem last month. Instead of releasing any details of the investigation or findings, the police issued a statement in which Israeli Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai acknowledged that Abu Akle’s funeral was a “complicated event”, adding that “it is impossible to remain indifferent to the harsh footage.” Israeli media widely reported that neither the policemen on duty nor their commanders would be punished for their actions.
  • Background: Television footage showed officers beating the mourners with clubs, causing the coffin to nearly fall. At the time, Israeli police said they were responding to objects and stones being thrown at the police. Shabtai said the police checked the behavior of the forces on the spot, but he seemed to blame the funeral attendees for the way events unfolded: “We need to carefully examine [the lessons from] incident, so that in the future delicate events such as these will not be disturbed by violent rioters and will be respected.”
  • Why is it important: Israeli police were heavily criticized after the procession, with the White House calling the images “disturbing” and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken saying he was “deeply concerned about images of Israeli police invading a funeral procession.”

The Way of Jamal Khashoggi sign unveiled in front of the Saudi Arabian embassy in Washington, DC.

Street sign honoring slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has been erected open outside the Saudi Embassy in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, and D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelsohn said “the district is creating a memorial in his honor that cannot be hidden or suppressed.”
  • Background: US intelligence reports found 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 denies.
  • Why is it important: The opening of the “Jamal Khashoggi Path” comes a month before Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia, where he is scheduled to meet with MBS. The trip has already drawn criticism from members of his party and human rights activists due to human rights violations in the kingdom and the murder of a journalist.

By region

Sultan al-Mutlaq al-Davis (right) of Kuwait's National Council for Culture, Arts and Literature stands next to the Egyptian Ambassador to Kuwait Usama Shaltout (left) during a handover ceremony for five artifacts at the Egyptian embassy in Kuwait June 16.
Egypt on Thursday returned five pharaonic artifacts smuggled out of the North African nation that were confiscated by Kuwaiti customs in 2019. State News Agency MENA.

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

Three artifacts date back to 1400 BC. Kuwait News Agency, adding that this is the second time that Kuwait has returned stolen artifacts to Egypt. In 2018, the Gulf state returned the wooden coffin lid to Egypt.

Theft and smuggling of antiquities has increased in Egypt since the 2011 uprising, when relics were stolen from museums, as well as through illegal excavations. The North African country is working hard to find and return stolen treasures.

Photo of the day

A visitor examines a 1644 handwritten copy of The Sacred Prayers of the Christian Soul.  Pierre Moreau (right) at an exhibition at the newly opened Mohammed bin Rashid Library (MBRL) in Dubai, June 16.