Jerusalem signed a secret deal to indirectly deliver gas to the economically-stricken neighboring Arab Republic, according to local media.
By Erin Viner
Both the United States and Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to the report greenlighted the initiative, according to Israel’s Channel 12 television news channel.
According to the report, Israel will pump natural gas from its offshore Leviathan reserve to Jordan.
Washington has long been involved in trying to resolve the dispute between Israel and Lebanon, which are in a formal state of war, over maritime borders in the Mediterranean Sea. Talks mediated by the US were relaunched in October 2020r at a United Nations peacekeeper base in southern Lebanon, in the culmination of three years of diplomacy.
So far attempts to reach agreement ended at an impasse, obstructing Beirut’s access to lucrative hydrocarbon exploration in the potentially gas-rich area.
Israel already pumps gas from enormous offshore reserves, while cash-strapped Lebanon has yet to discover any commercial gas reservoirs in its own waters.
Despite being in the worst economic crisis since its 1975-1990 civil war that is threatening national stability, Lebanese political leaders have failed to bridge their differences to address the crisis.
The Israeli deal to help Lebanon was mediated by US Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs Amos Hochstein and signed this past weekend, reported Channel 12; in a likely effort to provide an alternative to previous arrangements by the Hezbollah terror group to acquire oil from Iran.
Moscow’s approval was likely needed as the Israeli gas may be transferred via its ally Syria.
The plan would nevertheless necessitate several years for the repair and extension of a gas line from Syria to Lebanon.
Other projects to supply power to Lebanon include last year’s agreement involving supply of Egyptian gas and Jordanian electricity to Lebanon through Syria.