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Thursday, December 01, 2022

Israeli court rejects appeal for maritime agreement with Lebanon

JERUSALEM ( Associated Press) — Israel’s Supreme Court on Sunday rejected four challenges to a historic maritime agreement between Israel and Lebanon, which could remove a major obstacle to a deal that could strain ties between the two countries. may change.

The court did not initially publish the reasons for rejecting appeals submitted by an influential conservative political group and an ultra-nationalist Israeli politician. The ruling paves the way for obtaining final approval from the Israeli government for the deal, which is expected this week.

Lebanon and Israel claim an area of ​​about 860 square kilometers (330 sq mi) of the Mediterranean Sea. Rights to exploit underwater gas reserves are at stake. Lebanon hopes the prospects will help lift its country out of its unrelenting economic woes, while Israel hopes to tap gas reserves and ease tensions with its northern neighbour.

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Critics of the deal who appealed to the court questioned the authority of the current interim government to change Israel’s maritime boundary or make such important and strategic decisions without an electoral mandate.

“Israel has crossed a fundamental democratic line, with an outgoing government agreeing to hand over the country’s sovereign territory to an enemy state just days before the election,” said Eugene Kontorovich of the Kohlet Political Forum, a conservative think tank. who came to the meetings. courts. Israel is celebrating its fifth election in less than four years next week.

Israel and Lebanon have officially been at war since the formation of Israel in 1948. In 2006, Israel and the Shia armed group Hezbollah fought a month-long war that ended in a standoff in 2006, and tensions with the group remain high.

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Israel says the deal will bolster its security, help stabilize the northern border and bolster the economy with billions in revenue from the discovered gas.

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