Hezbollah chief [Hassan Nasrallah] has called on the Lebanese government not to waste the opportunity to explore for oil and natural gas along its maritime border. Nasrallah said that “the resistance” has no objection to the government reaching an agreement to demarcate Lebanon’s maritime borders.
In a ceremony held by Hezbollah to mark the “fifth anniversary of the July 2006 war”, Nasrallah – commenting on the subject of oil and gas and [Lebanon’s] maritime border – stated that “the Lebanese know they have a real chance to make their country rich, because Lebanon has a huge wealth of oil and gas in its waters; a national wealth worth hundreds of billions of dollars”. He added that “as long as Lebanon considers [the disputed area] the 850 square kilometer zone as part of its territorial waters…Israel does not have the right to establish facilities to extract oil and gas”. Nasrallah then clearly stated, and this is the crux of the matter, that “in the logic of resistance, there is nothing by the name of Israel, so how can we give [something that doesn’t exist] the right to extract oil and gas?” He added that “we in the resistance consider the demarcation of Lebanon’s maritime borders as a function of the Lebanese state and its responsibilities, and we will accept what the state says”.
The question now is: with whom will the Lebanese government negotiate for the demarcation of maritime borders? Will it negotiate with the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) for example, or rather Israel, even if this must be along the lines of the Syrian [political] innovation of negotiating from behind the veil, whereby the Israeli representative sits in one room whilst his Lebanese counterpart sits in another and a mediator moves between the two? Does the demarcation of maritime borders not imply the recognition of the “Zionist entity”, in the eternal words of Nasrallah, or is Nasrallah following in the footsteps of the Syrian regime which only recently recognized a Palestinian State in accordance with the 1967 borders, which includes an implicit recognition of Israel itself? Why does he think that Israel will be sincere in maritime negotiations, when he previously stated that Israel does not commit to negotiations, and the only language it understands is resistance? Nasrallah considers negotiating with Israel as an act of renunciation and subservience, so why does he not“resist” today with regards to the issue of maritime negotiations?
Of course, it would be wrong to believe that the questions end here. Why is Nasrallah tempting the Lebanese today by saying that they have the opportunity to become a rich country when he previously informed them that he did not need their financial support because he had “pure money”, i.e. financing from Iran? Has his pure money evaporated, or is it no longer pure? Likewise, Nasrallah – who is cloaking himself in religion – must also tell us why he sees nothing wrong in maritime negotiations with Israel for the sake of oil and gas today, when he and his followers have previously been extremely critical of oil-producing countries: for what is more important, to negotiate with Israel for gas and oil, or in order to preserve human life and the stability of Lebanon, particularly as the July War whose anniversary he is marking resulted in the deaths of nearly 1,200 Lebanese? As an aside to this issue, in the event of Lebanon possessing this oil and gas, who will drill for it, the Americans or the French?
Hassan Nasrallah, and his followers, must answer some of these questions. We say to those deluded by the “leader of the resistance”: Wake up people!