Amos Hochstein

Lapid meets U.S. mediator in Israel-Lebanon border dispute

Officials share optimism expressed by Amos Hochstein after his meetings with Lebanese officials; U.S. seeks quick resolution amid concerns Iran-backed Hezbollah could attack drilling in the Med.

Itamar Eichner |
Published: 08.02.22, 15:27
U.S. envoy mediating between Israel and Lebanon on the maritime border dispute arrived in Israel late on Monday and met with Prime Minister Yair Lapid.
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  • His visit was extraordinary after Amos Hochstein usually returns to Washington after visiting Beirut.
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    עמוס הוכשטיין
    עמוס הוכשטיין
    Amos Hochstein
    (Photo: AFP )
    Israeli officials say his visit is indication of American resolve to end the border dispute quickly and avoid provocations by the Iran backed Hezbollah group.
    The Biden administration is seeking to bolster the Lebanese moderates in government and weaken Hezbollah's political sway. But time is of the essence.
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    חסן נסראללה
    חסן נסראללה
    Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah
    (Photo: AFP )
    The security cabinet is set to convene in Jerusalem on Wednesday to discuss the status of the talks following Hochstein's latest meetings with Lebanese officials and on the threats posed by Hezbollah in the north.
    Hochstein has already left for Washington after his brief and quiet visit, but officials understood that the talks were on a positive track and that an agreement could be finalized within weeks.
    After meetings in Beirut on Monday, Hochstein said he was optimistic. The sentiment seemed to be shared by Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati who gave the thumbs up as he left the meeting.
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    Lebanon Prime Minister Najib Mikati gives the thumbs up after meeting with U.S. mediator on maritime border dispute with Israel
    Lebanon Prime Minister Najib Mikati gives the thumbs up after meeting with U.S. mediator on maritime border dispute with Israel
    Lebanon Prime Minister Najib Mikati gives the thumbs up after meeting with U.S. mediator on maritime border dispute with Israel
    (Photo: EPA)
    But last week, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said he considers all natural gas fields in the Mediterranean Sea near the Lebanese coast, to be inside Lebanon's economic waters and that his organization would attack any drilling by Israel.
    "We will not hesitate," Nasrallah said.




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