J Street applauds the Israeli, Lebanese and US governments’ official signing today of agreements that resolve Israel’s long-running maritime dispute with Lebanon in the Mediterranean Sea. Once again, we congratulate Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s government and the Biden Administration for their successful diplomatic resolution of this difficult and complex issue.
The US-brokered agreement will provide a path forward for Israel and Lebanon to benefit from energy exploration in the natural gas-rich area, and hopefully neutralize one of the ongoing sources of tension between the two countries. Prime Minister Lapid and his government deserve great credit for persisting in the pursuit of diplomacy in Israel’s national interest, despite efforts by their political opposition to play spoiler. The Biden Administration and its envoy Amos Hochstein also deserve plaudits for tireless shuttle diplomacy that helped bridge major initial gaps and distrust between the parties.
This agreement is a great example of the kind of proactive, engaged diplomatic role that the United States can and should play in the region — putting forward its own concrete proposals to help build common ground toward resolution of complex matters even between parties that don’t currently engage in direct, bilateral negotiations with each other. We hope it can serve as an inspiration for future efforts to achieve critical diplomatic breakthroughs to sensitive and difficult challenges in the region, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.