The group warns Tel Aviv not to “play with time” as a new round of sea border talks between Israel and Lebanon begins.
Lebanese Hezbollah has broadcast video showing ships involved in Israel’s offshore oil and gas industry and warned against “playing with the clock” and stressed its danger of a military escalation amid demarcation talks the sea borders.
The footage aired on Sunday came as United States Energy Commissioner Amos Hochstein landed in Beirut to mediate ongoing talks between Lebanon and Israel over their maritime borders.
Lebanon claims the Karish gas field is disputed territory amid ongoing maritime border negotiations, while Israel says it lies within its internationally recognized economic waters.
Lebanese officials said they are optimistic this round of talks can result in an agreement after years of indirect negotiations.
Acting Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib said in a statement on Friday that Hochstein would update Lebanon on Israel’s response to Lebanon’s June proposal, adding that he was optimistic of reaching an agreement soon.
Meanwhile, Hezbollah has warned that it stands ready to stop Israel from extracting hydrocarbons if Lebanon is not allowed to do so.
There was no immediate reaction to the video from Israel.
The Israeli military earlier this month shot down three unarmed Hezbollah drones flying over the Karish gas field in the Mediterranean Sea.
Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati has criticized Hezbollah, saying the move could pose risks for the country.
In an interview last week, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said the armed group could locate and attack Karish and any other Israeli gas field.
Israel and Hezbollah fought a month-long war in 2006 and have exchanged fire several times since, but avoided a full-scale confrontation.
Sunday’s video, which also includes a rare glimpse of Hezbollah weapons, was broadcast on the group’s Al Manar TV station. It was issued by Hezbollah’s war media department, which the group uses to broadcast footage of military operations and battles, and includes images of vessels involved in drilling and hydrocarbon extraction, along with what appear to be their coordinates.
The video begins with the words of Nasrallah during a recent speech in which he warned that “playing with time is pointless” on the maritime issue.
A statement from the US State Department on Saturday said Hochstein’s Beirut visit will be aimed at facilitating talks on the maritime border.
“Reaching a solution is both necessary and possible, but can only be achieved through negotiation and diplomacy,” it said.
A senior Israeli official told Portal on condition of anonymity that Hochstein would represent a new Israeli proposal that “includes a solution that would allow the Lebanese to tap the gas reserves in the disputed area while preserving Israel’s trading rights.” .
If that comes to an agreement, it would entail “some drilling there” by the Lebanese, the Israeli official said, without elaborating.
“The submitted bid is a serious proposal that can transform Lebanon from a country of economic ruin and energy crisis into a natural gas producing country by enabling it to cultivate this resource,” the official said.