Lapid signs maritime agreement with Lebanon
Lapid signs maritime agreement with LebanonAmos Ben-Gershom (GPO)

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Thursday held a special Cabinet meeting to approve the maritime agreement between Israel and Lebanon.

Speaking at the start of the meeting, Lapid said, "I am pleased to open this special cabinet meeting in order to approve this historic agreement on a maritime boundary with Lebanon. This is a tremendous achievement for the State of Israel, and for the Government of Israel."

"This agreement strengthens Israel’s security and our freedom of action against Hezbollah and the threats to our north. There is rare consensus in the security establishment regarding the necessity of this agreement. Defense Minister Benny Gantz (National Unity), the IDF, the Mossad, the ISA (Shabak), and the NSC: Everyone has signed off on this agreement and its contribution to Israel’s security and our operational needs.

"This is a diplomatic achievement. It is not every day that an enemy country recognizes the State of Israel, in a written agreement, in view of the international community. It is not every day the United States and France stand behind us and provide security and economic guarantees for an agreement.

"This is also an economic achievement. Yesterday, gas production began from the Karish Platform. Israel will receive 17% of the profits from the Qana-Sidon Field, the Lebanese field. This money will go into Israel’s economy and will be used for health and welfare, education and security. I commend Energy Minister Karine Elharrar (Yesh Atid) and her staff who managed this aspect of the agreement.

"Fifteen days ago, the government placed this agreement on the table of the Knesset. The Knesset conducted a thorough review and oversight process, primarily at the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, including confidential portions which were presented to the Intelligence Subcommittee.

"I thank the Chairman of the Committee, Ram Ben-Barak, who led deep, comprehensive, and impartial discussions. As is known, the process we have held was brought before the Supreme Court with various claims. The Supreme Court unanimously determined that the government conducted a fair, worthy, and lawful process. The responsibility is ours, and so is the authority: in the hands of the government. Thank you to everyone involved in this effort: Alternate Prime Minister Naftali Bennett; National Security Advisor Eyal Hulata - the true architect of this agreement; Foreign Ministry Director-General Alon Ushpiz; Energy Ministry Director-General Lior Schillat; Government Secretary Shalom Shlomo; Military Secretary Maj.-Gen. Avi Gil; Chief of Staff Dani Vesely; former Director-General of the Energy Ministry Udi Adiri; and the team at the Attorney General’s Office who accompanied this entire process.

"The State of Israel won today. In security, economically, diplomatically, and in energy. Great work everyone."

Lapid will soon hold a signing ceremony alongside the Israeli negotiating team.