Israel resumes construction of its controversial wall along Lebanon border

Israel has resumed the construction of its controversial cement wall along Lebanon’s southern border, National News Agency reported Monday.

NNA said the construction was taking place near Kfarkila-Oudaish highway in Marjayoun.

Israel had placed 24 cement blocks, each 6m long and 1.2m wide on Sunday

and resumed the construction on Monday.
Lebanese leaders said on several occasions that the border wall marks a violation of Lebanese sovereignty .

Disagreement over the wall and Lebanon’s plans to explore for offshore oil and gas in disputed maritime waters have elevated tensions between Israel and Lebanon.

The Israeli army has previously said the construction work is being done on sovereign Israeli territory, but the Lebanese government says the wall passes through territory that belongs to Lebanon but which is located on the Israeli side of the U.N.-designated Blue Line, which demarcated Israel’s withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000.

Maritime border

lebanon offshore oil, gas blocksLast February Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman described as “very provocative” Lebanon’s first offshore oil and gas exploration tender and said it would be a mistake for international firms to participate.

Lebanon has an unresolved maritime border dispute with Israel over a triangular area of sea of around 860 sq km (330 square miles) that extends along the edge of three of five blocks Lebanon put to tender early last year.

Lebanon in December approved a bid by a consortium of France’s Total, Italy’s Eni and Russia’s Novatek for two blocks. One of the awarded blocks, Block 9, borders Israeli waters.

“The block lies entirely within Lebanon’s territorial and economic waters,” the army statement said.