BEIRUT — A number of boats set out from the port of Tripoli in the north, and Saida and Sour in the south, towards Naqoura, close to the Lebanese border with Israel on Sunday, to express the "right of the Lebanese to water and offshore gas wealth, under the slogan “Lebanon's oil is for Lebanon,” L’Orient Today’s correspondents report.
Organized by the civil campaign to protect the national wealth of Lebanon, maritime convoy will have stops in Amchit, Jiyyeh, Saida and Sour.
Early on Sunday afternoon, residents of Saida had already gathered near the sea and were waving flags in solidarity with the boats and to emphasize Lebanon's right to its oil wealth.
The coordinator of the Sour area committee in the civil campaign to preserve marine wealth, Bilal Qashmar, stated that “a large number of activists and media personnel will participate in the marine march, which will start from the fishermen's port in the city of Sour at around 2 p.m.,” the state-run National News Agency reported.
'Salute to the youth of Lebanon'
President Michel Aoun tweeted: “Salute to the youth of Lebanon who participated in the maritime campaign in adherence to Lebanon's full right to its waters, borders and wealth.”
This demonstration comes after Israel deployed a floating production ship to the Karish gas field on June 5, located in the disputed waters between Lebanon and Israel and causing tensions between the two countries to flare. The incident was followed by a resumption of the indirect maritime border negotiations between the two countries after they had been suspended for months.
Local media have reported that Amos Hochstein, the American envoy in charge of indirect negotiations between Lebanon and Israel on the maritime border, will visit Lebanon on Sept. 7, but no official date for the trip has been announced.
Meanwhile, Avichay Adraee, Israeli army spokesperson, tweeted on Sunday that "a military exercise on the Lebanese border started today and will last until Tuesday evening. During the exercise, an active movement of military vehicles will be observed, and explosions will be heard in the area."
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, amid tensions between Hezbollah and Israel, has warned “if the extraction of oil and gas starts [from Israel] in September before Lebanon gets its rights, we are going to a fight and have set a goal and we will act accordingly.”
Additional reporting by Mountasser Abdallah and Michel Hallak.