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Energy Hegemony: Israel Eyes Lebanon’s Offshore Gas Reserves

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“We are not obliged to state the limits of our State.” – David Ben Gurion, 14 May 1948

In all regional disputes, big or small, Israel will invariably threaten or implement violence. It is the preferred method of conflict resolution. The recent discovery of natural gas reserves in Lebanese territorial waters, and Israel’s claim to them, is no exception.

It didn’t take long for Israeli infrastructure minister Uzi Landau to raise the prospect of war. That is, if Lebanon attempts to prevent his country from exercising full control over the field despite portions apparently falling within Lebanon’s exclusive economic zone.

In the latest spat between the two countries still technically at war, one can see how the situation might deteriorate. Indeed, Landau’s threat was one Prime Minister Netanyahu endorsed with his silence.

For Lebanon, the stakes are enormous; potential revenue from tapping into oil and gas reserves would help finance a staggering debt accounting for nearly 150 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

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