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Friday, July 22, 2011     FOR YOUR EYES ONLY

Israel, Lebanon seen headed for conflict
over Mediterranean reserves

JERUSALEM — Israel and Lebanon appear set for their next conflict — over control of major energy reserves in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.


The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs said the Iranian-sponsored Hizbullah could decide to strike energy exploration facilities under Israeli control, Middle East Newsline reported.

In a report titled "The New Flare-Up between Israel and Lebanon Over Gas," author Jacques Neriah asserted that the Israeli-Lebanese dispute has been exacerbated by the failure of the two countries to delineate a maritime border.

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"As for Israel, the Cabinet has already approved a budget to protect Israel's 'strategic maritime energy sources,' " the report said. "It would be a fair assessment that any damage incurred due to Hizbullah's activities would generate retaliation that would be aimed against the infrastructure of the Lebanese state."

The report cited the Hizbullah naval assault unit, said to be trained in underwater sabotage and coastal infiltration. At this point, Neriah said, Lebanon has sought to confront Israel through pressure from the United Nations.

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