October 27, 2022

Demarcation, Normalization, and Access to Jerusalem for Lebanon’s Christians

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by Habib Malik, Senior Research Fellow

Did Lebanon just normalize relations with Israel?

If so, it would constitute a strange way of being inducted into the Abraham Accords. But then, much about Lebanon belongs to the realm of the peculiar.

Lebanese officials of course have been rushing to deny that any such normalization took place through the agreement to demarcate the maritime economic zones of the two adjacent countries. But the agreement essentially says: Here is the line separating our zones, and what is on this side is ours, while what is on that side is yours. This is a more-than-implicit declaration of recognition by each side not only of the other’s existence, but of their legitimacy as a country.

For two neighboring states with no diplomatic relations and a decades-old technical state of war between them, this is quite a significant development. Moreover, Lebanon accepted to sign off on the notion that what is “on the other side of the line” is Israel’s, not occupied Palestine’s, as the official terminology has called it for decades…