US Brokered Maritime Agreement Gets Mixed Messages From Lebanese Ally Hezbollah
Lebanon–A video of Lebanese cabinet ministers throwing rocks at Israel has made quite a sensation, while the Lebanese government is trying to come to a level playing field with Israel, over their long stretched maritime dispute.
There is US brokered peace solution being worked between Lebanon and Israel. But Lebanese ally, Hezbollah seems to be giving mixed signals as of now. While Hezbollah is in favor of the US brokered process’ its leader Hassan Nasrallah has rejected the development calling them as ‘Zionist enemy.’
There is trouble within the Hezbollah leadership and the leader is saying that if Israel peace comes at the cost of Lebanese terms not being met, Hezbollah will attack. Actually, it has been confusing for the Lebanese government as Nasrallah has been carrying a tone of retaliation and war.
Technically at war since 1948 and with no diplomatic relations, Lebanon and Israel are at odds over an area of 860 sq km of the Mediterranean Sea believed to contain rich deposits of natural gas. They have been engaged in intermittent negotiations since October 2020 over the gas-rich waters they both claim to lie in their exclusive economic zones.
The US senior adviser for energy security, Amos Hochstein, has been visiting both sides to bring forth a compromise solution as proposed by US President Joe Biden’s administration. On proposal is an ‘S’ shaped maritime economic boundary between both countries.
Hezbollah has threatened to attack Israel if a deal acceptable to Lebanon was not reached by a clear deadline. In early July, it dispatched drones twice toward the Karish gas field — where Israel has a drilling site — three of which were shot down by the Israeli military.
While the leader talks war, it is highly unlikely Lebanon can fight with Israel. Sixteen years back, the war led to more Lebanese civilian lives lost and the country pushed to ruins. Recovery took too long.