Israel rejects compromise proposal with Lebanon over economic zones
Fri Nov 8, 2013 1:43AM
Israel has rejected a US proposal to resolve its dispute with Lebanon over a strategic region in the Mediterranean Sea.Israel has snubbed a US proposal to resolve the “dispute” over maritime lines with Lebanon specifying each side’s exclusive economic zone. The proposal refers to a disputed Bloc 9 in the Mediterranean which Israel claims sovereignty over. The area covers some 850 square kilometers and is said to possess an estimated 0.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves. As the Israeli regime taps into the European market making significant strides through the Cypriot gateway, it continues to obstruct progress in Lebanon’s oil and gas sector. Though Lebanon refuses the demarcation of its maritime lines in accordance with Israeli norms claiming that Bloc 9 falls under its Exclusive Economic Zone; the country seems to be falling behind due to its political stalemate. Lebanon’s March 8th Bloc has time and again called on its political rival - the March 14th Bloc - to convene in order to pass two decrees which will allow Lebanon to demarcate 10 oil exploration Blocs and establish a revenue-sharing model with international energy companies. However, these requests have fallen on deaf ears. In a recent speech Hezbollah Secretary General - Sayyed Hassan Nasrullah - criticized the March 14th Bloc’s complacency and has accused its regional ally - Saudi Arabia- of having a hand in the impasse. Hezbollah’s political Bloc and the resistance movement standing behind it have recently hoisted efforts meant to push the wheel of Lebanon’s natural resources forward; namely because of the alarming economic and security implications such progress holds for Lebanon’s arch-rival - the Israeli regime. Analysts here say Israel’s rejection of the U-S proposal to resolve the maritime dispute shows its fears of Lebanon becoming a major gas exporter. At a time when Europeans are looking for alternatives to the Russian gas, Israeli officials have warned of economic and security implications if Lebanon becomes a gas producer.