Creating new perspectives since 2009

Hezbollah: Only Lebanese state ‘responsible’ for border demarcation with Israel 

October 4, 2023 at 8:59 am

A corvette of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force patrol around the UN Naqoura Headquarters in the border region as the Israeli and Lebanese delegations submitted their signed copies of the maritime border demarcation deal to the UN in Naqoura, Lebanon on October 27, 2022 [Ali Dia/Anadolu Agency]

The Lebanese state is the only entity responsible for demarcating the disputed land borders with Israel, Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah said on Monday, adding that the party is ready to cooperate in any step that would “liberate” the land.

Nasrallah’s position came after US envoy Amos Hochstein recently said that the time has come to demarcate the land borders between Lebanon and Israel, after he supervised the conclusion of a maritime demarcation agreement between the two countries, which are still officially in a state of war.

Speaking during a party event in the southern suburb of Beirut, Nasrallah said: “If the state accepts mediation and negotiation, then that is its business. We are not concerned with saying we accept this mediation or reject it, and we consider that we are outside this matter.”

However, he stressed that “any step that helps liberate the land will also receive solidarity and cooperation between the resistance and the state in the next stage,” similar to the demarcation of maritime borders.

Nasrallah calls on Lebanon gov’t to offer Syria refugees safe passage to Europe

“We take our right to water in full, and we take our right to land in full, and we do not bargain over it,” he added.

In October last year, Israel and Lebanon signed a “historic” agreement that stipulated the demarcation of maritime borders and the lifting of obstacles to exploration for oil and gas in the sea.

Last month, US President Joe Biden’s senior adviser on energy affairs, Amos Hochstein, said: “time has come to review the framework…that allowed for a result to be reached at the land border level and to work on land peace as well.”

Under the maritime border demarcation agreement, a consortium of companies including French TotalEnergies, Italian Eni and Qatar Energy began drilling in Block No. 9 on 24 August.

In this context, Nasrallah said, “our preliminary information indicates that all indicators are positive in Block 9,” describing the three oil companies’ submission of two requests to participate in the second exploration bid in Blocks 8 and 10 in the Lebanese offshore waters as “positive indicators”.

The ceasefire line, known as the Blue Line, which was drawn by the United Nations in 2000 to mark Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon, includes 13 disputed points. From time to time, tensions arise on both sides of the border.