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Lebanon: convoy heads for disputed maritime border with Israel

September 5, 2022 at 10:25 am

Vehicles of the UN peacekeeping force UNIFIL and Lebanese Military Forces are seen as they stand guard in the southernmost area of Naqoura, by the border with Israel, Naqoura, Lebanon on October 14, 2020. – [Ali Abdo – Anadolu Agency]

A convoy of around forty boats sailed from the Lebanese ports of Tripoli, Sidon and Tyre on Sunday heading for the disputed maritime border with Israel. “The aim of this convoy is to protect our maritime wealth and tell the Israeli enemy that no one can steal our wealth,” Mahmoud Jarkas of the National Campaign to Protect the Maritime Wealth of Lebanon told Anadolu.

According to the official Lebanese news agency, the Lebanese navy escorted the convoy. The effort was praised by President Michel Aoun, who tweeted: “Salute to the youth of Lebanon who participated in the maritime campaign in adherence to Lebanon’s full right to its waters, borders and wealth.”

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This was echoed by Bassam Hammoud, the leader of Al Jamaa Al-Islamiyeh in southern Lebanon, who said, “We stand beside the state and support all efforts to protect the oil and gas wealth of the country from Israeli attempts to steal it.”

The move came amidst tension between Israel and Lebanon following the former’s deployment of an oil and gas exploration vessel to the Karish gas field on 5 June. Following this, indirect maritime border negotiations between Israel and Lebanon, brokered by Washington, resumed after they had been suspended for months. No progress has been achieved.