Gas rig (illustrative)
Gas rig (illustrative)Flash 90

In a press briefing on Wednesday, National Security Council (NSC) chairman Dr. Eyal Hulata made an important revelation about the maritime border agreement with Lebanon. Dr. Hulata admitted that Israel is to concede nearly 10 square kilometers (about 5 nautical square miles) of her territorial waters in the deal, this is in spite of the reports that the deal only included a concession of economic waters.

"The difference between the two lines in the territorial waters is minimal, only a few dozen meters. The whole difference in territorial waters that Israel conceded is less than 10 square kilometers. The agreement specifies that it ends the Lebanese claim on the maritime border, and that's what's important."

According to a report in Israel Hayom, the concession of territorial waters would have significant consequences regarding the ratification of the deal. According to Israeli law, any deal that would relinquish Israeli legal sovereignty in an area would have to be brought to a national referendum, after it was voted on by a majority of the Knesset, unless 80 MKs approve it. The law was originally drafted concerning land concessions since the drafters did not think such a deal would be made at sea. Therefore the law would be subject to judicial interpretation as to whether or not it applies to this case.

The National Security Council chairman also addressed the American guarantees announced in Israel for the maritime border agreement with Lebanon and the fact that no American official has mentioned these guarantees so far, admitting that there is currently no closed and signed document on the issue.

"The letter of guarantees is an issue that we will address after we finish drafting it with the Americans. They offered to accompany the agreement with their own guarantees that would guarantee these things. I will address it after we agree on these things with the Americans," Hulata said.