Israel prepares to annex resource-rich ocean territory bordering Lebanon

 

(JNS.org) Israel is anticipated to annex a large area of contested maritime territory on its border with Lebanon. 

The Rosh HaNikra grottoes, near Israel's ocean border with Lebanon. Credit: Flash90.

Lebanon has long quarreled with Israel over its shared ocean border, and both counties are now laying claim to the same resource-rich 800 square kilometer (309 square mile) maritime area.

Israel is set to propose a new bill in the Knesset that seeks to define the maritime economic border with Lebanon. It would demarcate the disputed maritime territory as falling under Israeli sovereignty, mainly for the purpose of harvesting natural gas and oil.

Israel’s Ministry of Environmental Protection stated the proposed bill “has many positive aspects regarding the environment, as it promises certainty of the application of environmental laws in the area. However, the ministry is not satisfied with the current arrangement which does not clarify what agency will be the one overseeing the impact on the environment.”

The Knesset bill comes after Lebanon recently disrupted the status quo through advertising tenders to explore for natural resources in the disputed territory. 

Prior Israeli initiatives to claim the large disputed ocean territory were halted, in part, due to mediation efforts led by the U.S. and the United Nations to resolve the disagreement between Lebanon and the Jewish state.

Posted on March 23, 2017 .