Hezbollah Ready to 'Decisively Confront' Israel Over Offshore Oil, Gas Deposits
The movement’s representatives have described Lieberman’s statements as “a new aggression” and that Hezbollah stands ready to “decisively confront any assault on our [Lebanese] oil and gas rights.”
Earlier Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said during his appearance at an international security conference in Tel Aviv that the eastern Mediterranean gas field that has been put up for tender by Lebanon, and is expected to be developed by an international consortium of energy companies, belongs to Israel.
“They [Lebanon] are announcing a tender on the gas field, including Block 9, which is ours by any definition,” Lieberman said, adding that the companies bidding for said tender are, in his opinion, “making a grave error — because this is contrary to all of the rules and all protocol in cases like this.”
High-ranking Lebanese officials took a dim view of Israel’s stance, with Prime Minister Sa’ad al-Hariri noting that these comments were one of several “threatening messages” from Israel in recent days, and Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil saying that he already brought this matter to the attention of the UN.
In December 2017, the Lebanese government approved a bid by a consortium of France’s Total, Italy’s Eni and Russia’s Novatek for the right to explore two of the five blocks put up for tender in the country’s first oil and gas offshore licensing round. One of these blocks however – Block 9 – borders Israeli waters in an area where Lebanon and Israel have an unresolved border dispute.
In 2006 Israelis armed forces invaded Lebanon in retaliation for a cross-border raid by Hezbollah which resulted in several Israeli soldiers being killed and two being abducted. The ensuing conflict lasted 34 days and ended with a UN-brokered ceasefire, only after claiming the lives of about 1,200 Lebanese and some 160 Israelis.
Avigdor Lieberman said he considers Lebanese army indistinguishable from Hezbollah and stated that both forces would be fair game in any future war.