The Higher Defense Council convened Wednesday at the Baabda Palace and instructed the Lebanese Armed Forces to confront any Israeli territorial or maritime border violations.
“The Council's meeting was dedicated to discussing the issue of the so-called cement wall off the southern border and within Lebanese territory, in addition to the claims that were launched by Israel's defense minister about the ownership of Block 9 within the territorial waters that are under Lebanese judicial sovereignty,” a statement issued after the meeting said.
“Following discussions, it turned out that this wall, should it be constructed, will be considered an encroachment on Lebanese territory and will represent a blatant violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701,” the statement added.
“Israel is also encroaching on 860 square kilometers of the Exclusive Economic Zone” in Lebanon's territorial waters, the statement said.
“Accordingly, and after deliberations, it was decided to continue the efforts at various regional and international levels to preserve Lebanon's rights. The Higher Defense Council has given instructions to confront these violations and prevent Israel from building a so-called wall of separation on Lebanese soil,” the statement said.
The conferees also rejected “the Israeli statements and claims related to the oil and gas resources in Lebanese territorial waters.”
The meeting was presided over by President Michel Aoun and attended by Prime Minister Saad Hariri; the ministers of defense, foreign affairs, finance, interior and economy; and the chiefs of the army and security agencies.
The statement by the Higher Defense Council comes amid escalating tensions between Lebanon and Israel, who are technically at war.
At the heart of the current dispute is a new oil and gas exploration deal on the countries' maritime borders. Israel contests Lebanon's rights to Block 9.
Meanwhile, Lebanon is protesting a controversial wall that Israel is planning to build along its southern border. Lebanon says it would encroach on its territory.
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