US president Joe Biden this week congratulated Israeli prime minister Yair Lapid and Lebanese president Michel Aoun on a deal to establish the first mutually agreed boundary between the two countries, ending a decades-long maritime dispute.
“You’re making history”, Biden told Lapid, according to a readout from the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office, which added that Lapid had managed to secure a series of economic and security guarantees from the US in parallel with the agreement.
In a statement, Biden said that the maritime deal “will provide for the development of energy fields for the benefit of both countries, setting the stage for a more stable and prosperous region, and harnessing vital new energy resources for the world”.
Biden added that the agreement “protects Israel’s security and economic interests critical to promoting its regional integration” and appealed to both countries to “uphold their commitments and work towards implementation”, given political uncertainty in both countries.
The deal was even cautiously welcomed by Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, who attempted to take credit by noting the terror group’s strategy of threatening Israel and launching drones.
Israel and Lebanon share a 50-mile land border, which remains in dispute and is patrolled by a UN force following a number of conflicts, and the two countries technically remain at war.