Gas and Maritime Boundaries Conflict between Occupation and Lebanon

Jun 19, 2022 01:54 pm

Mohammed Awni Abu Oun
The conflict between the Israeli occupation and Lebanon has resurfaced, but in a different form and new technique. This time, it is bent towards the sea domain, away from the land one, to be named as "maritime boundaries and gas fields along the southern boundary of the Lebanese waters".

The conflict started last Sunday, when a Greek ship for the British Energean Company arrived in Karish gas field, located among the disputed areas between the Lebanese waters and the waters controlled by the Israeli occupation, whose scope is estimated by 2290 km2. This caused several political consequences and mutual positions between the occupation and Lebanon, as the Israeli occupation insists on the Karish field to be within the economic waters controlled by it, and that the disputed areas do not exceed 860 km2. 

For Lebanon, we find that its internal political position has reflected on its standing towards this case. President Michel Aoun refused to approve the new scheme of the disputed area nor did he consider the government's directions or the international experts' opinions. 

The Lebanese position today ranges between two speeches: political and military. The political commissions and bodies in Lebanon call for reactivating the negotiation path, under an American sponsorship to demarcate the borders without impartiality and in a way that guarantees the advisability of the division of the sea domain, while Hezbollah waves to use force and attack any mining ship in the disputed area. 

Through Lebanon's swinging of using the military option, Lebanon benefited as the Israeli occupation slightly declined through Benny Gantz's statement that the mining ship will not extract gas currently, yet plans to do it in the third quarter of the current year, which starts next month. Thus, the occupation took a step back to maneuver, yet, at the same time, insists on implementing its plans later rather than not cancelling it.

This sea crisis comes within a critical period at all levels. If we want to talk about it regarding its regional scope, it comes in a time when Lebanon is living one of its worst times, if not the worst at all. The Lebanon arena is living an unprecedented state of political fragmentation, which is overshadowing the negotiations of the establishment of the new government and the economic collapse that led to an increase in the rates of inflation, unemployment, and recession in the Lebanese market. 

For Israel, it is politically disturbed by resignations and conduct of new parliamentarian elections. This state leads PM Naftali Bennett to search for any achievements and breakthroughs to provide for the electorate or the ruling coalition, especially amid his government's failure to achieve unique achievements politically, security or militarily.

The Israeli occupation today sees Lebanon as a vulnerable country that can be affected and exploited to sign a water division agreement that benefits it. Therefore, it is eager to reach an agreement with Lebanon urgently; yet this ambition coincides with the Lebanon resistance's positions which parallel with the military institute in Lebanon, confirming that the Israeli attitude might ignite war in the region, and that the agreement should be fair. 

The crisis' impact does not stop at its regional scope, but extends to a wider global scope, particularly amid the United States' pursuit to achieve its strategies goals in the region in light of its conflict with Russia. Thus, the United States does not observe everything looked at by Lebanon and Israel, but seeks to continue the role of the old mediators to achieve their goals of besieging Russia and finding alternate energy sources for the nations that depend on Russia's energy sources.  

This crisis with its two regional and international dimensions might cause a state of military confrontation between the Israeli occupation on one side, and Lebanon and its supporting countries on the other side. Also, the crisis might roll down to filter regional and international matters that ignite by gas flaring in Karish field, and no one knows if this fire, if happened, will end or will be the start for a bigger explosion.