KPF: Israel-Lebanon maritime talks require national referendum
PM Lapid held a Security Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, updating ministers on the status of the maritime talks
Right-wing Israeli nonprofit think tank Kohelet Policy Forum wrote on Wednesday that the country's law requires the government to hold a national referendum about any agreement reached with Lebanon regarding the maritime border.
Negotiations regarding the Israeli-Lebanon maritime border have been ongoing since late 2020, with the United States mediating. US energy envoy Amos Hochstein met with Lebanese leadership and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid earlier this week.
Lapid held a Security Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, updating ministers on the status of the talks. However, not many details were given regarding the conference.
Aharon Gerber and Ariel Ehrlich, two attorneys in the KFP's litigation department, expressed concern that the proposal might involve Israel conceding part of its economic waters.
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Basic Law: Referendum states that if "the government decided to sign an agreement by which the law, judiciary and administration of the State of Israel will no longer apply to a territory in which they apply – including an agreement including a future commitment and a conditional commitment... after approval from most of the Knesset – requires approval in a national referendum unless approved by 80 members of Knesset (Israeli parliament)."
“In order to prevent a constitutional problem,” Gerber and Ehrlich wrote to Lapid, “we ask to warn about the requirement in a Basic Law for every international agreement in which there is a change in the territory on which Israeli law and administration apply."
Israel's economic waters territory falls under Israeli law, they wrote.
“As such, the Government of Israel cannot sign an agreement that gives up territory without following the procedure in the Basic Law,” they wrote. “At the very least, it must conduct a thorough legal examination to reach a decision as to whether the Basic Law applies to concessions of territory in Israel’s economic waters.”