Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan on Monday called on the U.N. Security Council to condemn Hezbollah for launching drones towards Israel’s Karish offshore natural gas field on July 2, warning such action could trigger wider escalation.

“These UAVs were launched by Hezbollah from Lebanese territory to the Karish natural gas field, a critical civilian energy facility, in a deliberate attempt to threaten Israel and gather intelligence. This is a dangerous, hostile act, and serves as yet another provocation by Hezbollah that must be strongly condemned by the international community,” Erdan asserted in a letter to the Brazilian Ambassador Ronaldo Costa Filho, who currently chairs the Security Council.

The letter explains that the drones were sent to Lebanon by Tehran, which “demonstrates yet again the dangerous involvement and influence of Iran in Lebanon, and exposes Iran’s malign intentions in the region.”

The United States is currently mediating a maritime border dispute between Lebanon and Israel. The Karish gas field lies in the disputed area, which covers some 330 square miles, but the Karish rig sits completely in Israel’s waters, some 80 miles off the coast of Haifa.

According to Israeli business daily Globes, Lebanese President Michel Aoun has agreed in talks with U.S. mediator Amos Hochstein to drop Lebanon’s claim to the Karish field, in exchange for Israel accepting Lebanon’s demands with regard to the Sidon-Qana field, which also straddles the maritime border. However, Aoun refrained from putting this offer in writing, out of concern that it would be leaked to Hezbollah, according to the report.

The Shi’ite terror group views the maritime dispute as a way to divert criticism amid Lebanon’s current economic crisis, while at the same time presenting itself as the defender of Lebanese rights, the report stated.

In his letter, Erdan wrote that Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has made explicit threats against Israel, saying that the terrorist group “has the capacity to prevent Israel from beginning to extract natural gas from the Karish field, thus clearly spelling out its hostile intentions.” The drone incident, he continued, “serves as evidence for the imminence and severity of these threats.”

Hezbollah’s actions, he said, are a blatant violation of Security Council resolutions 1559 and 1701, which call for a full cessation of hostilities between the Iranian proxy and Israel.

“Numerous public statements made by the international community in response, including by Lebanese officials, referred to Hezbollah’s actions as unacceptable and dangerous,” Erdan noted, adding that “the Karish gas reservoir is an essential component to Israel’s ability to export natural gas.”

The Israeli Navy affords the country’s offshore gas rigs special defense measures. Last month, as a new natural gas processing rig was embedded in Karish, prompting threats from Hezbollah, Navy vessels, including submarines, were deployed to the area to protect it.

Kan 11 News noted at the time that the naval version of the Iron Dome missile defense system was also slated to be deployed in the area.

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.


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