May 16, 2022

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An American negotiator has reportedly told Lebanon and Israel that if they are unable to agree to a compromise over disputed maritime territory, he will stop his involvement in the discussions TOI reports.

Washington’s envoy Amos Hochstein, who was in Israel this week, recommended to top Israeli officials that they should seal the deal prior to the March 2022 parliamentary election in Lebanon.

Hochstein also visited Lebanon in October as continuing his efforts to restart the stalled negotiations.

Lebanon has no diplomatic relations with Israel and is technically in a state of war with each other. Each one claims roughly 860 square kilometers (330 square miles) of the Mediterranean Sea as being part of their exclusive economic zones.

“Hochstein told us he is not going to present a proposal that both sides like, but the opposite — that both won’t like. But if three to four months from now he sees the parties are not willing to take the deal, he would drop the whole thing and won’t deal with this anymore,” a senior Israeli official told Axios.

Hochstein was hoping to persuade both sides to make significant compromises, officials said, adding that both nations sought to resolve the dispute despite tensions between them.

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah warned Jerusalem against unilaterally exploring natural gas last month in the disputed maritime zone prior to any deal between Israel and Lebanon being reached.