Is a Third Lebanon war about to erupt?
Tensions have been rising in recent weeks.
And spiking in the last 48 hours.
Arab, Israeli and European media are filled with rumors that a war between Israel and the Hezbollah terrorist organization in Lebanon – funded, armed and guided by the terrorist regime in Tehran – could erupt at any moment.
Consider just some of the coverage:
- “Nasrallah warns Hezbollah missiles are ‘locked on’ offshore Israeli gas field,” reads a Times of Israel headline
- “Israeli forces on alert after rejection of Lebanon’s proposed maritime deal amendments,” reads a top headline on the website of the UAE-based National News
- “Israeli refusal of Lebanon’s revisions threatens maritime border demarcation agreement,” reads a headline on the Gulf-based Arab News
- “Israel readies for war with Hezbollah after Lebanon ups maritime deal demands,” reads a front-page Jerusalem Post headline on Friday
- “Israel preparing for potential escalation in north,” reads a headline on i24 News
- “Israel preparing for potential escalation in north as Lebanon talks derail — Defense Minister Benny Gantz instructs military to increase operational readiness, both offensive and defensive, along northern border as Beirut seeks ‘substantive changes’ that might endanger agreement,” reads a Ynet headline
- “Israel risks crossing Hezbollah ‘red line’ as it prepares to connect to disputed gas field,” reads a headline in The (UK) Guardian
- “As Europe frets over gas prices, Israel and Lebanon have reached a vital stage in indirect talks over natural gas fields in disputed offshore territory,” reports the BBC. “[A] misstep could result in war, with the Lebanese militant group and party Hezbollah making new threats to Israel.”
“Defense Minister Benny Gantz ordered Israeli troops on alert in the country’s north on Thursday amid setbacks in the effort to reach a maritime border deal with Lebanon,” reports the Times of Israel. “Gantz held a situational assessment with IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi and other security officials after Israel said it would not accept Lebanon’s proposed amendments to a US-brokered deal.”
“The defense minister directed the IDF to prepare for a scenario of escalation in the north, both offensively and defensively, given the developments in the negotiations on the maritime border,” according to a statement from Gantz’s office.
With massive reserves of natural gas lying between the Mediterranean Sea – just off the shores of Lebanese and Israeli territorial waters – the two countries have been engaged in very sensitive negotiations since 2020 over who really owns the gas fields.
In recent months, a U.S. mediator Amos Hochstein has been trying to cut a deal in which both countries share in the billions of dollars of revenue expected once the gas fields are properly developed.
Yesterday, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid rejected Hochstein’s latest proposal.
Lapid recently ordered an Israeli drilling rig be positioned in the Karish gas field, which he says is 100% in Israeli-own maritime territory and not subject to negotiations.
Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah – acting almost certainly with permission from Tehran – has threated to attack Israel’s drilling rig.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz has warned Nasrallah not to attack or risk a devastating retaliation.
On Thursday, an unnamed senior Israeli official again warned Nasrallah, Hezbollah, Lebanon and Iran not to provoke a war.
“If Hezbollah or anyone else tries to damage the Karish rig or threaten us, the negotiations on the maritime line will stop immediately and Hassan Nasrallah will need to explain to the citizens of Lebanon why they don’t have a gas rig for the benefit of their economic future,” the official said.
Please pray for wiser heads to prevail and for tensions to be ratcheted down quickly.
Otherwise, this thing could spin out of control with little or no warning.