The New Flare-Up between Israel and Lebanon Over Gas

(Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Jacques Neriah - The potential oil and gas fields off the Lebanese and Israeli coasts look set to become a source of conflict in the years ahead. The maritime border between Israel and Lebanon has never been delineated because the two states are still formally at war. The area has also become a potential theater of confrontation between Israel and Hizbullah. Hizbullah already boasts an amphibious warfare unit trained in underwater sabotage and coastal infiltration. Its ability to target shipping - and possibly offshore oil and gas platforms - was exposed in the war with Israel in 2006 when Hizbullah came close to sinking an Israeli missile boat with an Iranian version of the Chinese C-802 missile. Prime Minister Netanyahu has declared that the offshore gas fields were a "strategic objective that Israel's enemies will try to undermine" and vowed that "Israel will defend its resources." Any damage incurred due to Hizbullah's activities would generate retaliation aimed against the infrastructure of the Lebanese state.

2011-07-12 00:00:00

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