Despite Lebanese objection, Israel said on Wednesday it will continue exploration in the Karish gas field in the Mediterranean.
The Karish field is “a strategic asset of the State of Israel,” a statement shared by the Israeli ministers of foreign affairs, defense and energy said.
Calling on Lebanon “to accelerate negotiations on the maritime border” under US mediation, the statement said Israel would give priority to “the protection of its strategic assets, and is prepared to defend them.”
Last week, a license to conduct gas exploration activity in the Karish field off the Israeli coast was acquired, the US Haliburton corporation group said.
Lebanon protested the move and called for international intervention to prevent Israeli exploration activities.
According to maps sent by both counties to the UN in 2011, Lebanon and Israel are engaged in a dispute over a maritime area that is 860 square kilometers.
The area is rich in natural gas and oil. Five sessions of indirect negotiations were held between Lebanon and Israel under UN sponsorship and US mediation. The last round of talks was in May 2021 but it was stuck because of major differences.