Israel should opt for diplomacy to resolve dispute with Lebanon

Opinion: All Lebanese political faction, except the Shi'ite Amal party and Hezbollah, favor a compromise agreement that leaves Karish to Israel and the Qana gas filed to Lebanon; a deal would bolster those in Beirut opposing Hezbollah and increase U.S. sway over Lebanon

Itzhak Levanon |
After Hezbollah's provocative action of launching UAVs at the Karish gas field off the coast of Israel, which were shot down by the military, an interesting public debate in the local media revolved around an Israeli military response.
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  • With the calls to strike against Hezbollah, some said that Israel must respond to deter the Iran backed group from further hostilities.
    3 View gallery
    IDF downs Hezbollah drone targeting Karish gas filed last week
    IDF downs Hezbollah drone targeting Karish gas filed last week
    IDF downs Hezbollah drone targeting Karish gas filed last week
    (Photo: IDF)
    But not all conflicts must be resolved by force. Some can be ended through diplomacy, often accompanied by economic sanctions, as the international community has increasingly shown.
    The maritime border dispute with Lebanon, is one such conflict.
    Hezbollah's aggressions towards the Israeli gas filed should be viewed through the scope of the ongoing political crisis in Lebanon and must be a reminder to Israel, not to play into the Iran backed terror group's hands.
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    אסדת הגז כריש
    אסדת הגז כריש
    The Karish gas rig
    (Photo: Energean)
    It is being used by Hassan Nasrallah to strengthen his hold on Lebanon after losing seats in the last parliamentary elections and as criticism of the group from Lebanese politicians, has grown.
    At the same time, the Lebanese have presented a united front, one different from Hezbollah's position, in their talks with U.S. envoy Amos Hochstein who is acting as a mediator in the dispute.
    The launching of UAV's was Hezbollah's way to insist that there is no agreement pending on Lebanon's economic waters, In opposition to the Lebanese government which has already conceded to the Karish gas field being in Israeli territory.
    All Lebanese political factions with the exception of the Shi'ite Amal and Hezbollah factions, are seeking a diplomatic solution and condemn Hezbollah's latest aggressions.
    3 View gallery
    חסן נסראללה
    חסן נסראללה
    Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah
    They have presented to Hochstein, a proposal that would leave Karish in the hands of Israel and would leave the entire Qana gas filed in Lebanon's control. Israeli officials have already indicated that they would not oppose such a proposal despite the Qana gas field being partially in Israeli economic waters in the current boundaries.
    A quick agreement on those terms would end this dispute between Israel and Lebanon and bolster the political factions in Beirut who are opposed to Hezbollah.
    It would also reduce the Iran backed group's motivation to carry out further acts of aggression and increase the sway of the United States over Israel's northern neighbor.


    Itzhak Levanon was Israel's ambassador to Egypt and a long-time diplomat in the foreign service




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