Lebanon officially received the final draft of the demarcation agreement to be distributed to the three presidents at eight o’clock this morning, after the American mediator Amos Hochstein informed them of the resolution of the last knot that had arisen with regard to the Qana field, and resolved the confusion between the words “status quo” and”fait accompli” with regard to the line of buoys according to the Lebanese formula.
A copy of the draft has been sent to Israel, according to the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar, where Israeli prime minister Yair Lapid is supposed to call a ministerial meeting to approve it.
The past twenty-four hours have witnessed the emergence of the” Qana knot “and an exchange of formulations on phrases related to determining the time phase between exploration, exploration and extraction on the one hand, and Israel’s agreement with total so that business in Lebanon is not linked to prior Israeli approval, while the French side is committed to paying” settlement/compensation “to Israel after exploration and estimating the size of the stock, provided that Lebanon remains the owner of all the potential reservoir/ field on its northern and southern sides.
The French also renewed the pledge that total, for its part and apart from Lebanon’s revenues, will address what Israel considers its” right “to the field from the company’s revenues and not from Lebanon’s revenues.
The French side informed Lebanon shortly after midnight yesterday that” total ” is committed to starting exploration and exploration work immediately after the announcement of the agreement, and that it will provide ships, excavators and equipment for this purpose by early next year.
Until just before midnight yesterday, messages were being exchanged between Beirut, Washington and Tel Aviv. In the United States, Hochstein, along with an American legal and technical team, was communicating in Beirut with Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Elias Bou Saab, who was assigned by President Michel Aoun to follow up the file, and on the Israeli side with national security adviser Eyal haluta, along with a team representing the security establishment and the Ministry of energy in the occupation entity.
Israel had worried Western capitals last Thursday by not accepting the Lebanese remarks, and there was a negative atmosphere in the media and officials, but the low-profile contacts between the French and American sides were clear: what was going on related to Lapid’s obsession with the Israeli elections.
The new draft
The deliberations indicated that Hochstein had prepared a draft based on the observations he had received from both sides, so that it would not be subject to amendment or veto. It turned out that the problem was actually reduced to the dispute over the status of the “buoy line”. According to the leaks, Lebanon is insisting on adopting point 20 at sea as the starting point for demarcating the line, which precedes the borders of the Lebanese “Block 10”, while Point 31, which was mentioned in the Israeli – American proposal, will be retained. The said point is ahead of Point 18, which represents the starting point of line 23, by a distance of kilometers, which means that the area behind point 20 will be closer to a conflict zone, and the “line of buoys”, which represents the Israeli “Line 1”, will remain the same, provided that its status will be put forward as soon as indirect negotiations on the land border are going on. Until then, Lebanon will simply include its plan in the paper, sign it by itself and then put it in the custody of the United States, while the enemy will have the same step, which means that the papers will not necessarily be deposited with the UN, but will be informed in some way about reaching an “understanding”.
Most likely, this mechanism will create controversy, because the enemy will keep the coordinates that he deposited with the International Foundation regarding Line No. 1, and no modification will be made, while Lebanon will keep line 23 previously deposited with the International Foundation itself without any modification, and there is no need to deposit any new coordinates as long as the case was transferred to a date to be determined later.