Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Tuesday afternoon landed in Paris, where he is set to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron.

The trip comes on the backdrop of the resumption in Doha last month of indirect nuclear talks between the United States and Iran, and on the heels of Israel’s recent interception of three Hezbollah drones on their way to the Karish oil field off the coast of Haifa.

France in 1923 was formally mandated to administer Lebanon, and has since been a major player in that nation’s political and economic arenas. France is also one of six countries—along with Britain, Germany, Russia, China and the U.S.—that negotiated the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

“It’s important that our opinion against this dangerous agreement and against Iran’s organizing and nuclearization be heard at this time,” Lapid said ahead of boarding a plane at Ben-Gurion Airport. “It’s also important that the international community knows that on the Iranian nuclear issue, Israeli society stands together—as one body, with one position, presenting a unified position to the international community,” he added.

Regarding Hezbollah, local media quoted a senior source as saying that Lapid would tell Macron that the Iranian terror proxy “should not play with fire,” and that Jerusalem intends to continue engaging in U.S.-mediated indirect negotiations with Beirut, with a view to finalizing an agreement to delineate the countries’ respective maritime borders.

Lapid said that he would discuss the matter with Macron, stressing that, “There have been repeated attacks on Israeli gas rigs. Israel will not agree to these types of attacks on its sovereignty and everyone who does so must know they are taking an unnecessary risk to their well-being. The Government of Lebanon needs to restrain Hezbollah in the face of such attacks or we will be compelled to do so,” the prime minister said.

Tensions have been high since a gas production ship sent by the Energean company arrived at the Karish field in what is widely regarded as Israel’s exclusive economic zone. In response, Hezbollah deputy secretary-general Sheikh Naim Qassem reportedly affirmed: “When the Lebanese state says that the Israelis are assaulting our waters and our oil, then we are ready to do our part in terms of pressure, deterrence and use of appropriate means—including force.”

Lapid, who is making his first trip abroad since assuming the premiership, is expected to be in Paris for about six hours before returning to Israel.

JNS

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