U.S. Senior Adviser for Energy Security Amos Hochstein arrived in Israel on Monday night for an unannounced visit following meetings in Lebanon, Israeli media reported on Tuesday.

The shuttle diplomacy comes just days after media cited Israeli officials as saying that the maritime border dispute between the two countries was “on the verge of a solution” and that Hochstein would present a draft compromise proposal enabling both countries to drill for gas in the contested Karish field.

Previous U.S.-mediated talks failed to produce an agreement, especially after Lebanon pushed its claim in the disputed maritime zone from a boundary known as “Line 23” further south to “Line 29,” adding around 1,400 square kilometers (540 square miles) to its claim, including part of Karish.

In Beirut, Hochstein met with caretaker Energy Minister Walid Fayyad and General Security Chief Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim, according to the Lebanese news agency Naharnet.

Lebanese television channel MTV reported that the American envoy told Fayyad that recent Hezbollah threats to launch military strikes on Israeli offshore gas rigs would “not aid the negotiations,” and instead cause Israel to become “more intransigent” due to the country’s elections in November.

Hezbollah on Sunday released a video depicting gas production vessels and their coordinates in the Karish field. It concludes with footage of a rocket with the Arabic and Hebrew words “within range.”

On July 25, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah threatened war if Israel begins extracting gas from its offshore Karish field without first resolving the maritime border dispute.

“If the extraction of oil and gas from Karish begins in September before Lebanon obtains its right, we would be heading to a ‘problem,’ and we’ll do anything to achieve our objective,” Nasrallah told the Hezbollah-affiliated Al-Mayadeen TV channel.

JNS

Support
Jewish News Syndicate


With geographic, political and social divides growing wider, high-quality reporting and informed analysis are more important than ever to keep people connected.

Our ability to cover the most important issues in Israel and throughout the Jewish world—without the standard media bias—depends on the support of committed readers.

If you appreciate the value of our news service and recognize how JNS stands out among the competition, please click on the link and make a one-time or monthly contribution.

We appreciate your support.