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Sunday, July 17, 2011

The new MEZ line

On July 10, Israel announced that it will soon submit a claim to the United Nations demarcating its maritime boundary with Lebanon. The announcement came a day after a Lebanese newspaper published a front-page story suggesting that Israel was claiming offshore exploration rights in Lebanese waters. Israel has already discovered substantial reserves of offshore natural gas, setting the scene for fractious disputes over land and sea borders. Such disputes could even put Israeli offshore installations at risk of attack by Hizballah, a group that has access to Iranian missiles and is now part of the Lebanese government.

Read more HERE

Israel has threatened to use military force to take the full control of a newly-discovered gas field partly in Lebanese waters in the Mediterranean Sea. Israel's Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau made the remarks after Beirut announced that parts of the giant reserves actually belong to Lebanon and that it does not allow Tel Aviv to loot Lebanon's resources. "Israel is racing to make the case a fait accompli and was quick to present itself as an oil emirate, ignoring the fact that, according to the maps, the deposit extends into Lebanese waters," Lebanese parliament speaker Nabih Berri said, adding that "Lebanon must take immediate action to defend its financial, political, economic and sovereign rights". Lebanon has also called on gas drilling companies to respect its territorial integrity and warned them against working close to its economic zone. Israel, however, insists the entire gas field lies on its territory. The newly discovered field is estimated to contain 15 trillion cubic feet of gas -- worth some USD 40 billion -- and might enable Israel to export gas to other countries in the future.

''Israel bullying Lebanon over gas field'

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri
Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri says Israel only seeks to "frighten" the Lebanese nation, following a new threat by Tel Aviv over a newly-discovered gas field.
"Israel can do nothing but threaten and frighten the Lebanese," Ynet quoted Hariri as saying on Saturday.
His response came after Israeli Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau threatened to use military force to take full control of the gas field partly in Lebanese waters in the Mediterranean Sea.
"We will not hesitate to use our force and strength to protect not only the rule of law but the international maritime law," Landau said.
The newly discovered field is estimated to contain 15 trillion cubic feet of gas.
Reacting to Landau's remarks, Hariri said Israel was targeting Lebanese "stability," as Tel Aviv finds it "threatening."On Friday, Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri announced a plan to approve an oil law, which would assert Lebanon's gas rights in the Mediterranean.
"Israel is ignoring the fact that, according to the maps, this field is included within Lebanon's territorial waters," he said, adding that the best way to counter Israeli threats was to rush to approve the law.
The Lebanese government is expected to discuss the bill on Monday.
Lebanese Energy Minister Jubran Bassil had earlier said that the government would "not allow Israel or any company working for Israeli interests to take any amount of gas that falls in our zone."

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