- Policy Analysis
- Articles & Op-Eds
Israel Falls for Lebanon’s Treaty Bait-and-Switch
Also published in Wall Street Journal
The maritime border agreement is a mixed bag, demonstrating how far Israel will go to make peace with Arab states while doing little to decrease the prospects of an eventual war with Hezbollah.
I visited Beirut in 2020 while serving as assistant secretary of state for Near East affairs to restart the maritime border negotiations between Israel and Lebanon that had been stalled for nearly a decade. A Lebanese journalist expressed concern that Jerusalem would outnegotiate Beirut in the impending talks. “You are the Phoenicians,” I assured him—the venerated ancient merchant Mediterranean civilization that became modern-day Lebanon. “I am confident you will hold your own.” My quip turned out to be prescient. Two years later, Israel conceded the entirety of its claims to a 330-square-mile exclusive economic zone in return for a 3-mile internationally recognized buffer zone adjacent to the shoreline...