Lebanon claims the border wall Israel is constructing violates its sovereignty. The Lebanese Army made the accusations on Monday following a meeting between Israeli and Lebanese military officials with UNIFIL peacekeeping forces.
The wall is being constructed on Israeli territory next to the Blue Line, a United Nations border created following Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000. The wall will serve as a stronger defense against Hezbollah, the IDF confirming it is only constructing the wall within Israeli territory.
The Lebanese Army on Monday claimed the “Israel enemy” intends to construct a wall in its territory, asserting the “position of the Lebanese government [in] rejecting the construction of this wall as it violates Lebanese sovereignty.” Hezbollah has been in protest of the wall’s construction as it hinders their capabilities in the region.
Lebanon also again rejected Israel’s claim to gas fields in the Levant Basin in the eastern Mediterranean amidst a Lebanese offshore oil and gas tender for five blocks in the sea. Israel and Lebanon have been in a maritime border dispute over Block 9, which is part of the tender and borders Israel’s waters. In December of last year, Lebanon approved a bid for two of the five blocks for energy companies from France, Italy and Russia.
Last week, Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman rejected accusations from Lebanese President Michel Aoun of “Israeli threats to attack Lebanon and its right to develop its oil and gas wealth on various pretexts,” Lieberman responding to Lebanon’s “provocative” efforts, reaffirming “the gas field in Block 9 is ours [Israel’s] by all standards”.
These developments follow reports that Hezbollah recently purchased over 100 acres near the Chouf Mountain region to store weapons and missiles obtained from Syria and Iran. According to reports from Kuwait’s Al-Jarida, Hezbollah believes Israel would not strike in the region, as it is inhabited mostly by Druze communities.
Prime Minister Netanyahu has made clear that Israel will “not allow Iran to turn Lebanon into a missile factory,” the prime minister confirming Sunday that he informed President Trump, European leadership and President Putin that Israel will do “whatever is necessary to defend ourselves.” He stated to his cabinet on Sunday “Our [Israel’s] presence here is the main element in the Middle East blocking the spread of radical Islam, led by Iran and Islamic State which also threaten all other elements in the world. We are not bent on war, but we will do whatever is necessary to defend ourselves.”
This article originally appeared on Behold Israel, February 6, 2018, and reposted with permission.