AMAL Movement issued a statement on Thursday replying to Israel's threats about an offshore gas block, stressing it will confront the “Zionist aggressive ambitions.”
“We pledge our leader Imam Musa al-Sadr and our leader (Speaker) Nabih Berri that we will always confront Israel's aggressive aspirations. We will exert strenuous efforts to consolidate national unity,” a statement titled The Ideological Battle against the Zionist Entity said.
“Israel's greed in Lebanon's strategic location, natural reserves and marine resources are not new, but Lieberman's statement is. Israel wants to openly steal Lebanon's marine resources and is trying to gain an international legislation for that,” it added.
AMAL leader has always warned of “Israel's plans to sabotage peace in the region,” it said. This is what made the party “insist on cementing the “sovereign” oil block in the south of Lebanon.”
On Wednesday, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman described as "very provocative" Lebanon's tender on exploring gas in Block 9. This gas field "is by all accounts ours," the Israeli minister said.
Lebanon in December approved a bid for offshore oil and gas exploration off its Mediterranean coast -- a vision for years hampered by political instability and domestic wrangling.
That deal was awarded to the only bidder, an international consortium including France's Total and Russia's Novatek.
Lebanese officials say the country will start exploratory offshore drilling in 2019.
A major finding in Lebanon's southernmost waters could raise the possibility of a dispute with Israel, which is developing a number of offshore gas deposits, with one large field, Tamar, already producing gas, and the larger Leviathan field set to go online next year.
There are over 800 square kilometers of waters claimed by Lebanon and Israel, which are technically in a state of conflict. Israel and Hizbullah fought a fierce, monthlong war in 2006.
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