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Israel plans to annex territorial waters in dispute with Lebanon

Image of water reservoirs [file photo]
Image of water reservoirs [file photo]

The Israeli government is planning to annex a large area of territorial waters also claimed by Lebanon, which has issued bids for gas and oil investment, Ynet News revealed on Tuesday. The area in question is believed to be rich in natural resources and has been disputed between Israel and Lebanon for years, with the US and UN failing to settle the argument.

Ynet News said that the bill is “aimed to claim Israel’s sovereignty over the area, mainly for the purpose of harvesting natural recourses like oil and gas.” However, it did not say when the proposed bill will be presented to the Knesset (parliament). According to the Israeli news website, the area is a rough triangle of around 800 square kilometres.

International maritime law seeks to resolve such disputes by dividing the territorial waters between disputed countries by mutual agreement based on the “mid-point” between the two countries. The Israelis claim that Lebanon has broken the status quo by advertising for tenders to search for natural resources.

The bill, added the website, is a means by which the Israeli government wants to define the maritime border with Lebanon. The triangle, it noted, is regarded by Tel Aviv as Israeli territory.

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