Aug 1, 2022 9:15 p.m
Hezbollah has released drone footage of Israeli ships in a disputed gas field in the Mediterranean shortly after a US energy expert landed in Beirut to discuss Israel-Lebanon sea border talks. Hezbollah in Lebanon had already threatened Israel with war if the country persisted in exploiting Lebanon’s claimed Karish gas field in the Mediterranean.
Lebanese Hezbollah on Sunday released drone footage of Israeli ships in a disputed gas field in the Mediterranean Sea, raising tensions amid the new round of US-brokered talks over Lebanon-Israel sea borders.
That on the Iran-backed TV station Al-Manar The video broadcast shows images of Israeli ships in the Karish gas field. The video contains an obvious threat as it ends with footage of a missile and the words “target is in range” in Arabic and Hebrew. The footage was leaked as US Energy Envoy Amos Hochstein landed in Beirut to mediate ongoing Lebanon-Israel maritime border talks. At the time, Hochstein was, among other things, the special representative for Nord Stream 2.
During his visit to the Lebanese capital, Hochstein met with the country’s energy minister, Walid Fayyad. A meeting with President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Najib Mikati was scheduled for Monday. In the run-up to the meeting, the Israeli news channel channel 12 claims without citing sources that Israel and Lebanon are exploring an agreement that would allow them to share control over drilling in the Qana field, similar to an agreement Israel had with Cyprus over the Aphrodite gas field. The maritime boundary dispute concerns two major gas fields located offshore: Karish and Qana.
In his meeting with Fayyad on Sunday, Hochstein reportedly told the Lebanese minister that the video was “neither constructive nor helpful” to Hezbollah as Israel finds itself in the middle of an election season that will further harden its positions, according to the Lebanese news agency MTV.
The Hezbollah resistance movement is again not ruling out a war with Israel over illegal gas exploration in sea areas claimed by Lebanon. “There is a 50 percent chance that the conflict can be resolved (diplomatically)”, but also the risk that the situation could progress towards war. Hezbollah’s stance on Israel depends on the outcome of ongoing indirect negotiations between Beirut and Tel Aviv over the disputed sea area, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said on Sunday.
At the beginning of June, a drilling ship belonging to the British company Energean reached the Karisch field. The ship plans to start extracting gas for Israel in September. Lebanon protested last month that a ship chartered by Israel entered the area of the disputed gas field. Hezbollah boss Hassan Nasrallah said in a television speech at the time that the first goal must be “to prevent the enemy” from producing oil and gas in the Karish gas field.
more on the subject – Before leaving for France: Israel’s Prime Minister threatens Lebanon with a direct confrontation