Article by Yossi Schwartz, Internationalist Socialist League (section of the RCIT in Israel/Occupied Palestine), 9 October 2022, https://the-isleague.com and www.thecommunists.net
On 5 October 2022, Zionist PM Yair Lapid rejected the Lebanese proposals stating they reverse Israeli security and economic gains from the former US-mediated agreement. The war minister of Israel (or to be more precise the pirate chief) Benny Gantz, instructed the defense establishment “to prepare for any scenario in which tensions increase in the northern arena – including defense and offense readiness,” his office said…” If Hezbollah tries to harm [Israeli infrastructure or sovereignty], the military cost to Lebanon and Hezbollah will be very high,” he said.” (1)
In such a war, the interest of the international working class is the revolutionary defeat of the imperialist settler, the colonialist Zionist state of Israel. According to a report from the news agency France 24 which was published on 7th June 2022, it is clear that at least 55% of the Karish gas field belongs to Lebanon. However, Zionist Israel’s holy principle is to take from the Arab people and to claim it as part of god’s promise to the Jewish people’s new property. In abeyance for more than a decade, the dispute between Israel and Lebanon over maritime borders resurfaced in June this year. At that time, the Lebanese presidency warned the Israeli government against any “aggressive actions” in the disputed maritime area. The problem is obvious: Israel has never drawn its borders so that they can claim more and more to be theirs.
“In refusing to specify the territory of the nascent state or to address the issue of its borders in the declaration of independence, Ben-Gurion wanted “a license,” as Kramer writes, “[to] incorporate any strategically vital territory seized in war with an Arab(state).”
The Karish gas field where Israel is exploring, is located in a disputed area of 860 km², in the middle of the Eastern Mediterranean where huge gas reserves have been found in recent years. The Lebanese government invited the US envoy Amos Hochstein – charged by President Joe Biden with mediating between the two countries. However, Hochstein was born in Israel. His parents are American Jewish Zionists immigrants. And he served in the Zionist army from 1992 to 1995. How could such a person mediate impartially? How could anybody truly believe that a Zionist should be in charge of any form of mediation anyways? Any exploration, drilling or extraction work Israel carries out in the disputed areas would constitute a “provocation and act of aggression”, said a joint statement by Lebanese President Michel Aoun and outgoing Prime Minister Najib Mikati. However, the Israeli government claims the Karish gas field as part of its exclusive economic zone and therefore says, that the position of Lebanon is not relevant to its maritime dispute.
While Lebanon has been aware that the gas project was on the horizon since last year, its problem has been that its fractious ruling class lacks a unified position on the maritime border issue, meaning talks have been unable to proceed. This explains why the government of Lebanon agreed that a Zionist nominated by U.S imperialism will “settle” the dispute when the outcome was obvious. Resolving this dispute is crucial for Lebanon – mired in an intractable economic crisis since 2019 – to be able to carry out its own exploration for hydrocarbons in the disputed area, where Block 9 of the Lebanese Exclusive Economic Zone is located. Found just off the shore of Southern Lebanon, this area is considered one of the most promising in terms of natural gas resources.
See above a map created by the Lebanese army and shown by several local media outlets shows the various different lines proposed and claimed in the Israel-Lebanon maritime border dispute. US diplomat and mediator Frederic Hof, Washington’s point man on the issue from 2010 to 2012, divided the area into two parts. The “Hof line” attributed 55 percent of the area to Lebanon and 45 percent to Israel. The Lebanese side has not accepted this demarcation. Beirut has nevertheless not made this claim official at the UN, because while President Michel Aoun initially supported his country’s bid for the additional maritime territory, he feared it could “end” negotiations with Israel – whose government said in October 2021 it was ready to resolve its dispute with Lebanon while refusing to let Beirut dictate the terms of the talks. In February 2022, Aoun said that the more limited Line 23 was indeed the Lebanese maritime border, backtracking from his original position as a proponent of the Line 29.
“This presidential reversal was a gesture of goodwill the American negotiator expected as a means of allowing the negotiations to restart. “The Lebanese political class isn’t thinking about the interests of the people or the country’s financial well-being; they’re thinking about their own survival,…” (3)
The war of imperialist Russia against Ukraine has not only mobilized true revolutionaries to defend the Ukrainian people. The war itself has a dual character and has accelerated the inter-imperialist rivalry between the Eastern and the Western imperialists and has deepen the crisis of the capitalist economy. Facing the Great Depression, regional conflicts on oil and gas will accelerate as well. The current conflict between Lebanon and Israel on the Karish gas field could become explosive very fast up to a militant conflict. True revolutionaries take side with Lebanon against the Apartheid imperialist state Israel, while fighting also against any interference by other imperialist powers, be it Western imperialism like USA, EU or Eastern imperialism like Russia or China.
(1) Ben-Gurion’s Pragmatic Approach to Borders, by Avi Shilon, Mosaic Magazine, April 23, 2018, https://mosaicmagazine.com/response/israel-zionism/2018/04/ben-gurions-pragmatic-approach-to-borders/
(2) Arrival of Israeli gas installation reignites Lebanon maritime border dispute, by Marc Daou, France24, June 7, 2022, https://www.france24.com/en/middle-east/20220607-arrival-of-israeli-gas-installation-reignites-lebanon-maritime-border-dispute
(3) Ben-Gurion’s Pragmatic Approach to Borders, by Avi Shilon, Mosaic Magazine, April 23, 2018, https://mosaicmagazine.com/response/israel-zionism/2018/04/ben-gurions-pragmatic-approach-to-borders/