The leader of Hizbullah made a not-so-veiled threat against Israel over maritime borders and the right to extract oil and gas from the Mediterranean Sea, appearing to go so far as to threaten to start a war with its neighbor. “If you don’t give us the rights that our state is asking for … then we could flip the table on everyone,” Hassan Nasrallah said Wednesday in a televised address.
“If you want to get to a formula where this country is barred from taking advantage (of these fields), then no one will be allowed to extract gas or oil and no one will be able to sell gas or oil,” Nasrallah said. Earlier this month, Israel’s military said it intercepted the three drones launched by Hizbullah heading for the Karish gas field, lies in disputed territorial waters between Israel and Lebanon.
The attack, which Hizbullah took responsibility for, came about a month after a new drilling platform arrived at the Karish offshore gas field site in the Mediterranean Sea to produce gas for Israel. Nasrallah in his address threatened future attacks on “Karish and beyond Karish,” and noted that the terror organization has a large number of armed drones.
“If we continue in this manner, we are heading towards what’s worse than war,” he said. Israel and Lebanon have for years disputed their maritime borders, with Lebanon expanding that border discrepancy last year. Negotiations between Lebanon and Israel to determine their maritime borders commenced in October 2020, when the two sides held indirect US-mediated talks in southern Lebanon.
Following the arrival of the drilling platform to Karish, Lebanon offered a compromise in the dispute under which Lebanon’s maritime border would be reconfigured to exclude Karish and to include the entire Qana field. Lebanon had been demanding 860 square kilometers (330 square miles) of disputed territory, including part of the Qana field, and then demanded 1,430 square kilometers more, which included part of the Karish field. The new compromise offer would include all of Qana but none of Karish.