Israel and Lebanon Sign Landmark Maritime Deal
Israel and Lebanon signed a deal on October 27 that resolves a maritime border dispute, opening the door for mutual offshore oil drilling in the Mediterranean Sea. The two nations are still in a state of war and have no diplomatic relations. While this signals an important moment in Israeli-Lebanese relations, it displays the deepening French influence in the affairs of Lebanon.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun signed the agreement and Israel followed suit shortly after. The chief negotiator was the United States special envoy Amos Hochstein, who praised the two sides for their goodwill. A ceremony will take place at a United Nations base in Lebanon to commemorate the new agreement.
The Times of Israel wrote: “The agreement, which Lebanon hopes can help lift it out of its crippling economic crisis, is intended to end a long-running dispute over some 860 square kilometers (330 square miles) of the Mediterranean Sea, covering Israel’s Karish and Lebanon’s Qana gas fields.” Lebanon agrees to recognize a maritime boundary Israel established in 2000 3.1 miles off the coast of Rosh Hanikra. The border will then follow the southern border of a disputed area known as Line 23. Lebanon will have the right to drill north of that boundary at the Qana field and Israel south of that boundary at the Karish field. Israel will also receive revenues from any operations that develop on the Qana field.
The Lebanese government is struggling to crawl the country out of a crippling economic crisis that has been brought about by years of fighting a proxy war for Iran, civil unrest, financial mismanagement and the Syrian civil war. The economic crisis came to a head on Aug. 4, 2020, when a massive explosion destroyed most of the port facilities of Beirut, the capital of Lebanon.
This blast shocked the country and sparked a display of anger toward the government’s policies that placed Iran’s agenda above the welfare of the country. Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has drawn special attention to how these events could help fulfill Bible prophecy in Lebanon. In the October 2020 Trumpet, Mr. Flurry wrote in “Why We Told You to Watch Lebanon”: “Six years ago, Saudi Arabia announced that it would give $3 billion to Lebanon’s army so it could buy French weapons. I wrote an article for this magazine titled ‘Why You Need to Watch Lebanon.’ Lebanon was—and is—dominated by Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy terrorist group. But I explained the prophecy in Psalm 83 that foretells Lebanon’s future. It shows that Hezbollah will forfeit much of its power and that Iran will lose its grip over Lebanon—that the nation will instead ally with Saudi Arabia and other moderate Arab states, along with German-led Europe.”
Saudi Arabia and France backed off this arms deal due to their miscalculation of Iranian influence in the region. The deal signaled that change was in the wind. The Beirut explosion seemed to remove most barriers to this change, as Mr. Flurry continued: “Following the explosion, the streets of the capital are burning with anger against Hezbollah and the Lebanese government. France and Europe are watching and appear to be ready to support the people in throwing off Iranian influence.”
This new maritime agreement, brokered in part by France, could play a role in this shift. Psalm 83 prophesies Lebanon will be in a European alliance that includes Saudi Arabia. You can read more about this in our article “A Mysterious Prophecy.”
Lebanon has a unique history that has forged a strong connection to Europe. Following the First World War, Lebanon and Syria were made French protectorates due to the breakup of the Ottoman Empire. But the link is even stronger than that, as EuroNews explained, writing: “Historically, French influence in Lebanon stemmed from close ties with Maronites, who are Eastern Catholics. French influence among Maronites ‘is linked to the fact that France then “eldest daughter of the Church” exercised from the 17th century a duty to protect Middle Eastern Christians attached to Rome, that is to say, Catholics,’ historian Sylvia Chiffoleau with France’s Center for National Scientific Research told Euronews.” France used military forces multiple times since 1860 to protect the Maronite Catholics during Lebanese conflicts. Lebanon has a heavy Christian population to this day.
Due to this French presence, most of Lebanon’s educational institutions are French, and most leaders and elites are French trained. This link has remained since Lebanese independence in 1943. Many French governments have sent French troops into Lebanon for peacekeeping missions. After the Beirut explosion, French President Emmanuel Macron visited Lebanon twice to pledge support to help the country recover.
Mr. Flurry wrote in “Why You Need to Watch Lebanon”: “Looking at Lebanon’s demographics, you can see why Europe would intervene there even though it refused to act in the Syrian conflict. … Because of its high population of Christian Arabs, Lebanon has become a linchpin for the Psalm 83 alliance.”
This European interference in a former Iranian proxy will help hasten the fulfillment of another prophecy in Daniel 11: “And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over” (verse 40). Iran is this prophesied king of the south, and a European power, led by Germany, is the king of the north. Mr. Flurry wrote:
Events today are building toward this epic clash! The Saudi-France deal is one example. We cannot underestimate what Europe’s involvement in this deal portends. Europe coming into the Middle East is going to infuriate Iran. And it is such European intrusion that will cause Iran to push at the king of the north. Iran is going to strike back with a lot of power!
Germany will respond to Iran with a whirlwind attack that will completely defeat the nation and its allies. Immediately following Iran’s defeat, the Psalm 83 alliance will become fully realized.
This maritime deal is a step toward Lebanon looking favorably on Europe as a principle ally. It gives Europe a powerful reason to get more involved in Lebanon—it can become an energy supplier. A stable, non-terrorist Lebanon could also help fuel continue flowing from Israel. Keep watching for Europe to take a more influential role in the affairs of Lebanon, the linchpin of Psalm 83, and for Iran to push against Europe.
To learn more, please read Mr. Flurry’s article “Why We Told You to Watch Lebanon.”