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MARITIME BORDERS

Gebran Bassil weighs in on growing Lebanon-Israel maritime dispute

Gebran Bassil weighs in on growing Lebanon-Israel maritime dispute

A map showing Line 23, the southern extent of Lebanon’s official claim, and Line 29, which has been claimed at the negotiating table but not through any legal process. (Credit: Lebanese Army)

BEIRUT — Free Patriotic Movement head MP Gebran Bassil on Thursday weighed in on the increasing tensions between Lebanon and Israel over disputed maritime territory, saying that Tel Aviv cannot skirt the issue by saying it would only extract gas from undisputed areas “considering that it is [all] one field.”

Here’s what we know:

    • Over the weekend, Israel deployed a floating production, storage and offloading vessel to the disputed Karish offshore gas field, sparking furious reactions from Lebanon.

    • During the now-stalled indirect negotiations between Lebanon and Israel, the Lebanese delegation had staked out demands on territory as far south as Line 29, which exceeds part of the Karish field. However, President Michel Aoun has so far not signed a decree that would amend the Decree No. 6433 of 2011, affirming Beirut’s stake to Line 29 of the maritime borders instead of 23, which would give Lebanon an extra 1,430 square kilometers to the country’s maritime borders.

    • Marc Ayoub, an energy policy researcher at the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut, told L’Orient Today that it is technically possible that Israel can extract gas from the Karish field from the southern side of Line 29.

    • Bassil also appeared to offer a possible solution for the maritime border negotiations, saying that “now is the time to impose an equation of no gas from Karish means no gas from Qana.” The Qana gas field exceeds line 23 on the maritime borders which Lebanon officially considers to be the end of its maritime borders. However many including the newly elected 13 opposition MPs have called on Aoun to amend the Decree No.6433 and expand the claim down to Line 29, through part of the Karish field.

    • On Monday, MP Melhem Khalaf, speaking on behalf of the 13 opposition MPs, called on the executive authority to “instantaneously and without any stalling — we are talking within hours, not days or weeks — amend the Decree No. 6433 of 2011 and affirm Line 29 instead of 23,” adding that not doing so is “questionable.”  


BEIRUT — Free Patriotic Movement head MP Gebran Bassil on Thursday weighed in on the increasing tensions between Lebanon and Israel over disputed maritime territory, saying that Tel Aviv cannot skirt the issue by saying it would only extract gas from undisputed areas “considering that it is [all] one field.”Here’s what we know:    • Over the weekend, Israel deployed a...