Days after Hezbollah launched three drones toward the Israeli Karish gas rig, the Lebanese prime minister berated the “risky, unacceptable” move of the Iranian-proxy terrorist organization.

According to a statement from the prime minister’s office, since the “three were launched in the vicinity of the disputed maritime area, … Lebanon considers that any action outside the framework of the state’s responsibility and the diplomatic context in which the negotiations are happening is unacceptable and exposes (Lebanon) to unnecessary risks.” 

The statement published the discussion points of a meeting between Lebanon’s Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati and the Lebanese foreign minister this past Saturday. 

Lebanon partly claims the Karish gas field for itself and Mikati has warned that Lebanon views Israel’s gas exploration in the disputed offshore field as an act of aggression. 

The statement said Lebanon supports “a solution that preserves the Lebanese rights in full and with complete clarity, … rights to its water wealth.”

According to Maritime Executive News, ownership over the boundary area where the Karish gas field is located is convoluted. 

“Lebanon has never formally filed a maritime claim to the area surrounding Karish with the United Nations, and Israel does not recognize an ongoing boundary dispute at the site,” states the Maritime Executive. “Lebanon’s government has vacillated over whether the area is part of its EEZ claim, but it currently asserts that Karish is within its waters.”

According to the site, “it is a sensitive moment for the [Karish gas] project” because “the FPSO [Floating Production Storage Offloading] Energean Power has arrived at the site and is in the process of setting up to start production.”

Hezbollah has threatened to use military force against Israel if Jerusalem moves ahead with gas exploration in the Karish field.

International energy affairs coordinator, U.S. Special Envoy Amos J. Hochstein was in Lebanon in June to mediate the maritime-border talks between Lebanon and Israel. He expressed optimism that a solution would be found to “enable the negotiations to go forward.” 

At the meeting, the Lebanese government reportedly offered to abandon its claims to the 332-square-mile Karish gas field in exchange for full control over the nearby 552-square-mile Qana gas field. 

According to Smadar Perry, an opinion writer for Ynet News, Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib said mediators are “in the final stages of delineating borders that both parties are willing to accept. The outline is expected to be presented in September.”

“I wish the confrontation between Hezbollah and the IDF wouldn’t have happened,” said Bou Habib. “We are not interested in unnecessary conflicts. Lebanon is facing far greater problems.”

Two other Lebanese Cabinet ministers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also denounced Hezbollah for the drones. 

The terrorist organization has said the drones were unarmed and on a “reconnaissance mission over a disputed area.”

“The mission was accomplished,” Hezbollah said in a statement. 

On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid, who began his term on Friday following the collapse of Naftali Bennett’s coalition government, said he would raise the issue of the Lebanese-Israeli gas dispute in Paris, with French President Emmanuel Macron.

“Israel will not agree to these kind of attacks on its sovereignty, and anyone who does this needs to know that they are taking an unnecessary risk to their well-being,” Lapid said. “The Lebanese government needs to rein in Hezbollah with regard to these attacks, or we will be forced to do so.” 

According to an unnamed senior Israeli official, Israel planned to “ask France to intervene to secure the negotiations that we want to lead until the end of the gas issues.” 

“The Lebanon issue is essential and Lapid will return to the Israeli position, according to which Hezbollah is first and foremost a threat to the future of Lebanon,” the official told journalists.

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