Prime Minister Yair Lapid called the maritime agreement with Lebanon a "great achievement for the State of Israel, for Israel’s security and for Israel’s economy"
At a press briefing Wednesday evening, Lapid said that "after months of complex negotiations which reached their peak in recent days, we have succeeded in reaching a diplomatic-economic agreement with Lebanon on a maritime boundary between our countries."
"We refused the final demands raised by the Lebanese government last week, and they were removed from the final wording. Today, the agreement was presented before the Security Cabinet and the Government, both of whom approved by a large majority the continuation of this process. I thank President Joe Biden and President Emmanuel Macron for their support, backing, and assistance," he said.
The Prime Minister declared that "this is a great achievement for the State of Israel, for Israel’s security and for Israel’s economy."
"This deal preserves the security of communities in the north as well as the freedom of action of the IDF and the Israeli Navy’s control of the area closest to the shoreline, on what is known as the Buoy Line. The security establishment made clear to the Security Cabinet and the Government that this agreement optimally meets our security needs. As the Chief of General Staff told the Government, it does not preserve our security, it enhances our security," he said,
According to Lapid: "This agreement staves off the possibility of a military clash with Hezbollah. Israel is not afraid of Hezbollah. The IDF is stronger than any terror organization, and if we went out to battle, we would deal them a heavy blow. That being said, if it is possible to prevent war, it is the job of a responsible government to do so."
"At every step of the way, we made it clear to the Lebanese — that with or without an agreement, Israel will not delay by even a single day, the production [of gas] from the Karish platform, and will not give in to any threat. The Karish field is in our sovereign territory, and an attack on it is an attack on the State of Israel. We will not hesitate for a second to use force to defend our gas field.
He reiterated that "this deal secures the energy security of the State of Israel and will bring in billions in revenue that every family in Israel will benefit from."
"Israel will receive approximately 17% of the revenues from the Lebanese gas field, the Qana-Sidon field, if and when they will open it. We built this agreement with the Americans so that money from this field will not reach Hezbollah.
"Now that negotiations have been concluded, the Government has approved placing the agreement on the table of the Knesset for 14 days, and this will already be done this evening. All classified intelligence materials that we cannot bring before the Knesset plenum, will be laid out before the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
He dismissed accusations that the agreement constitutes a surrender of Israeli territory and to the demands of the Hezbollah terrorist organization. "When the deal is brought before the public, everyone will be able to see for themselves what an historic achievement it is for Israel, and the extent to which the false and poisonous propaganda spread about it is disconnected from reality, done for political purposes, primarily by people who had not seen the deal and had no clue what was and was not in it."
"This evening, I sent an invitation for a briefing to Opposition Leader Netanyahu, so he can know about the agreement and its details. We will invite all the opposition party heads for a briefing and show them the details of the deal for the first time.
"This is an agreement signed off on by all the security bodies, that the United States and the international community are praising, that instead of war: brings the people of Israel billions in revenues and energy security for years to come.
"I want to thank Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Alternate Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, and Energy Minister Karine Elharrar and her team. I want to thank the head of the negotiating team, National Security Advisor Dr. Eyal Hulata, Director-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Alon Ushpiz, Military Secretary Maj.-Gen. Avi Gil, and all the staff of the Prime Minister’s Office.
"This is a good deal for the State of Israel. For Israel’s security. For Israel’s economy. For the citizens of Israel," Prime Minister Lapid concluded.