Israeli security cabinet was set to convene on Thursday in order to study the Lebanese notes on US Energy Envoy Amos Hochstein’s maritime proposal, with concerned parties looking to the outcome of the Israeli cabinet session as decisive.
Al-Manar’s Editor of Hebrew affairs Hasan Hijazi said that Israeli Prime Minister has been recently under pressure in order not to appear as giving concessions to Lebanon and Hezbollah.
In remarks during Al-Manar’s afternoon news bulletin, Hijazi stressed that stances announced by Israeli officials have been highly based on electoral considerations.
“Lapid stressed that the decision on the maritime deal with Lebanon will take into consideration two main points: security and economy,” Hijazi said, noting that the Israeli PM is trying to appear as the stateman who is defending the interests of the Zionist entity.
Meanwhile on Thursday noon, Israeli media quoted a senior diplomatic source as saying that Lapid rejected the changes Lebanon requested on Hochstein’s proposal.
“Lapid assessed some of the demands to be new and significant, and instructed the negotiating team to reject them,” the Jerusalem Post quoted the Israeli source as saying.
The Israeli report contradicts with another one prepared by Walla news, which quoted an unidentified Western diplomat as saying that “Lebanon’s comments on the draft deal are constructive and do not include ‘poison pills’ that could prevent an agreement.”
Aoun and Mikati Remarks
In Lebanon, President Michel Aoun announced that Lebanon’s notes on the US proposal guarantee its rights in gas and oil drilling.
In remarks carried by Al-Manar, Aoun stressed that Lebanon’s modifications on Hochstein’s proposal “prevent misinterpretation of demarcation framework set by Lebanon.”
Earlier on Thursday caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati announced that the maritime settlement is about to be finalized, underlining importance of announcing a united Lebanese stance regarding the issue.
Israeli high-level security cabinet was set to convene Thursday to discuss the terms of the deal. According to concerned parties, the decision which the Israeli security cabinet will make today is crucial and will determine whether the two sides are going towards a deal or an escalation that will not destabilize Lebanon and the Zionist entity, but rather the entire region, Al-Akhbar newspaper reported.
The daily quoted sources as saying that despite pressure made on the Israeli PM Yair Lapid, Hochstein is still optimistic that a deal will be reached.
“Hochstein considers that amendments requested by Lebanon need to be discussed in details with the Israeli side. According to the US envoy, a new draft will be structured and sent to the two sides, before announcing an initial deal that will be followed with procedural steps related to signing the deal and sending it to the United Nations,” Al-Akhbar reported.
The paper knew that a team of lawyers prepared a study on the Lebanese notes and handed it over to Hochstein who contacted Lebanese officials in Beirut and discussed several points with them via video call. Another meeting will take place on Thursday, Al-Akhbar added.
The paper cited a well-known source as saying that “most of the Lebanese notes were almost accepted by the American side, but that the discussion now focuses on Qana gas field.”
Source: Al-Manar English Website