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Israel and Lebanon reach unprecedented gas supply deal, media reports say

The agreement was reportedly initialled this weekend and provides for the delivery of natural gas from Israel via Jordan and Syria
Oil platform in the Leviathan natural gas field in the Mediterranean Sea off the Israeli coast

AP/MARC ISRAEL SELLEM  -   Oil platform in the Leviathan natural gas field in the Mediterranean Sea off the Israeli coast

Israel and Lebanon reached an unprecedented agreement, mediated by the United States, for the supply of gas by the Jewish state, according to Israeli media.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the matter for the moment.

The agreement, according to Israeli Channel 12, was signed this weekend and provides for the delivery of natural gas from Israel via Jordan and Syria.

Vista aérea de la plataforma de cimentación del campo de gas natural Leviatán en el mar Mediterráneo, a unos 130 kilómetros (81 millas) al oeste de la costa de la ciudad israelí de Haifa
AP/MARC ISRAEL SELLEM - Aerial view of the foundation platform of the Leviathan natural gas field in the Mediterranean Sea, about 130 kilometres (81 miles) west of the coast of the Israeli city of Haifa.

Amos Hochstein, the US State Department's energy security adviser, is said to have been in charge of the deal. He is also a negotiator in the indirect dialogue that Israel and Lebanon began in October 2020 to try to demarcate their maritime borders, which has so far not borne fruit.

The Israeli channel's report also noted that Russian President Vladimir Putin was also involved in the management of this agreement, which would have as one of its objectives to offer Lebanon an alternative source of energy to the one it receives from Iran.

On the other hand, the information on this agreement comes in the context of a deep energy crisis in the Arab country, which according to a report published this week by the NGO Human Rights Watch has faced widespread power outages of up to 23 hours a day in 2021 due to the lack of fuel, making it difficult for hospitals and schools to function.

Edificios sin luz durante un apagón parcial en Beirut, Líbano
REUTERS/ISSAM ABDALLAH - Buildings without power during a partial blackout in Beirut, Lebanon

Israel and Lebanon, which do not have diplomatic relations and have fought several wars, share a tense border where violent episodes occur relatively frequently.