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Israel and Lebanon in conflict over gas extraction disputes

Umamah Bakharia | ub@radioislam.co.za

7min read
26 September 2022 | 11:30 am CAT

The conflict between Lebanon and Israel is escalating after Israel announced that it is expected to begin preliminary work on Tuesday to extract gas from an untapped gas field in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.

Speaking to Radio Islam International on the new escalating conflict, an analyst focussing on Lebanon, David Wood, says this would be a ‘remarkable deal’ because the border between the two countries is controversial.

“There are signs that Israel and Lebanon from both countries could wage a deal over maritime order within the coming weeks,” he says.

The two countries had a history of conflict when Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982 during the latter’s civil war and the 2006 Lebanon War.

Wood attributes the deal between Israel and Lebanon to the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis in the European Union (EU). “Countries need the Mediterranean, including Israel and Lebanon, [trying] to exploit their off filed gas reserves,” says Wood.

The contract, which has been in the works for 10 years, started gaining momentum after Israel began preparing to exploit gas from the Kardish field – which Lebanon has claimed is a reputed gas field. Since then, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah called a “red line” defending Lebanon.

“So far, it hasn’t spilt over into any serious confrontation,” he says.

After his last visit to Beirut in September, US mediator Amos Hochstein said progress was made but that “more work needs to be done” in the coming weeks to reach an agreement.

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