BEIRUT —The head of the Progressive Socialist Party, Walid Joumblatt, spoke on the Lebanese-Israeli maritime border negotiations Monday, saying "Israel succumbed to the strength of Hezbollah."
In an interview with LBCI, Joumblatt said the policy of "drones" worked in relation to the maritime border negotiations— reference to three drones Hezbollah launched in the direction of the gas exploration platform in the Karish field, off the coast of Israel, on July 2. These drones were shut down by the Israeli army.
Hezbollah also repeatedly threatened to target Israel and its offshore infrastructures if the state started exploiting gas before an agreement was reached on the maritime border delimitation. Party leader Hassan Nasrallah made these threats during speeches and in a video showing the coordinates of the different infrastructures that may be targeted.
"Lebanon needs Hezbollah to defend itself, but that the defense forces should be united and in the hands of the government. This should be translated in a defense strategy," Joumblatt said. "Hezbollah proved they are diplomacy-savvy, and we ask that they used this diplomacy regarding the farms of Chebaa and Kfarshouba."
The Chebaa farms, located on the western slopes of Mount Hermon, taken by Israel from Syria in June 1967, as well as the Kfarchouba heights and the northern part of the village of Ghajar, are territories occupied by Israel. Lebanon believes Israel must withdraw from these zones for the liberation of South Lebanon to be complete.
Lebanon and Israel have been indirectly negotiating their maritime border for two years, using the United States as a mediator. Agreement on a border would remove obstacles to the exploration and exploitation of offshore gas deposits.
On Saturday, caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati told L'Orient-Le Jour that “the atmosphere is positive” and that “an agreement should be reached soon," after a resolution proposal was received from US envoy Amos Hochstein. Amendments to the proposals could be sent to Hochstein on Tuesday, to finalize the text before a final agreement is reached.