Tuesday, July 26, 2011

WSJ: 'Lebanon should trust Israel ... always!'

"Tensions are rising in the eastern Mediterranean between Israel and Lebanon, this time over roughly 430 square miles of contested waters that contain considerable underwater gas reserves. Iran, Hezbollah and Syria are all interested in a war with Israel, each for their own reasons...
Both Israel and Lebanon have trillions of cubic feet of underwater natural gas and can benefit tremendously from these resources. All they need is the goodwill to negotiate a sea-border demarcation agreement. This usually occurs through bilateral negotiations or mutually agreed arbitration—not through U.N. border-dispute mechanisms, as Lebanon is now demanding.
In 2000, the U.N. meticulously traced the Israel-Lebanon land border when Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon (a blue-line not worth the Future-movement-blue-ink used to demarcate it).At the time, the U.N. did not establish a maritime border between the two countries and no one seemed to mind. Lebanon has made no hydrocarbon discoveries since, but it does seem eager to discover another border conflict: It's only now that Israel has identified substantial natural gas in the Tamar and Leviathan fields that Hezbollah, the Iranian and Syrian regimes' long arm in Lebanon, has decided to make an issue of the issue.
Lebanon's Hezbollah-dominated government has called Israel's proposed border an "aggression" and is now threatening to attack any Israeli gas projects—even those in undisputed waters. It wants the U.N. to arbitrate the border dispute under the Law of the Sea Treaty, to which Israel is not even a party. More troubling still, the U.S. State Department has reportedly endorsed Hezbollah's preferred solution of throwing the matter to the U.N.—despite the fact that the U.S. never ratified the treaty either.
The stakes are high for the U.S. and Israel. Hezbollah is armed with Chinese-designed, Iranian-made C-802 anti-ship missiles that could be devastating against future Israeli off-shore gas platforms and tankers. Hezbollah also has sea-born commando units.
The State Department's fear of a flare-up in the Mediterranean and its newfound preoccupation with the Law of the Sea Treaty should not result in coddling a terrorist organization and the state it is running. Washington would do better to stand by its democratic ally and reject Hezbollah's Tehran- and Damascus-inspired position, which can only further escalate tensions in the Levant. Washington should clarify that the two countries need to settle the border dispute between themselves—and both enjoy the benefits from their underwater natural resources."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If a country isn't party to the Law of the Sea treaty, then they should not be officially allowed an exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The whole point of the treaty was to define the EEZ. No treaty, no EEZ. But let's be real, if it weren't for the resistance, Zionists would be freely exploring for gas and oil off the coast of Tyre (like they did with Gaza). They don't respect any international agreements unless they have an incentive, like not having Hizbullah humiliate them and expose their vulnerabilities to the world.