Nasrallah warns Hezbollah will stop Israel from extracting gas at Karish field

The Hezbollah leader stressed that Israel only understands "force and superiority."

 Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah speaks through a screen during a religious ceremony marking Ashura (photo credit: AL-MANAR/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)
Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah speaks through a screen during a religious ceremony marking Ashura
(photo credit: AL-MANAR/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah warned on Thursday that the Iranian-backed group will stop Israel from extracting natural gas from the Karish field off the coast of northern Israel, adding that the issue could spread outside Lebanon.

Nasrallah pointed to the recent arrival of the Energean Power floating gas rig off the coast of Haifa, warning that the ship had arrived to extract natural gas, but admitting that the rig was not located in disputed waters, but instead nearby.

"What happened in the past few days is an attack on Lebanon and put Lebanon in a difficult situation, even if we are talking about a disputed area from the point of view of officials."

Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah

The Hezbollah leader stressed that the issue of the Karish field needed to become a "major Lebanese issue."

"We have before us a huge wealth estimated at hundreds of millions and it belongs to the Lebanese people, and this wealth is the only hope to stop the collapse and address the problems we suffer," said Nasrallah, claiming that the US and Israel were trying to strip large areas away from Lebanon and prevent extraction companies from working with Lebanon.

 Floating gas production rig, Energean Power (credit: ENERGEAN) Floating gas production rig, Energean Power (credit: ENERGEAN)

Nasrallah warned that "time is not in Lebanon's favor," as a delay until after the start of extraction would mean the loss of the benefits of the field from Lebanon.

The Hezbollah leader pointed out that while the ship is outside the disputed area, it will still be drawing gas from within the disputed area. "Lebanon in this confrontation possesses the right, the motive and the utmost need, and it possesses the strength under the title of the army and the resistance."

Nasrallah added that Hezbollah "possesses the military, financial, security, informational, logistical and many capabilities to prevent the enemy from extracting oil and gas from the Karish field."

"Intimidation and threats of the enemy we are used to, but if they commit any mistake, its repercussions will not be strategic but existential, and it is not known if the problem will remain only with Lebanon."

Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah

The Hezbollah leader added that if the Lebanese government chooses the route of negotiations, the movement will stand by the negotiating party and "strengthen its position."

Nasrallah warned that while some Lebanese people were interested in signing a decree to fix the demarcation line, "We are in front of an enemy that does not recognize international resolutions, and the only logic that it follows is the logic of force and superiority. By experience, it does not respond to any international resolution and responds only with pressure and resistance."

"The able resistance cannot stand idly by in front of the looting of Lebanon's wealth, and it will not stand idly by," stressed Nasrallah, warning that "all options are open" and that Hezbollah "does not fear" war.

The Hezbollah leader demanded that Israel stop any work on extracting gas from the Karish field until negotiations with Lebanon are completed. Nasrallah also threatened the Energean company, saying it is a "partner in the attack on Lebanon," and warning that this has "consequences."

"America and the enemy entity tell us that they will extract from the disputed area, and you cannot say anything, and even in the Lebanese region we do not allow, however, they are starving the Lebanese people, and this will lead to a loss of social security in addition to collapse," he said. 

Nasrallah claimed that the US and Israel were saying that they would extract gas from the disputed area and that Lebanon could not do anything about this, warning that this would "starve the Lebanese people" and lead to a loss of social security and collapse.

"We can prevent collapse and loss of security, but there is a risk," said Nasrallah. "But if the enemy understands that this is a comprehensive national issue, we may not have to go to adventure, and much depends on this."

"Nasrallah should keep hiding in his bunker"

Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman rejected Nasrallah's threats on Thursday, tweeting "No one will dictate to us whether or not to extract gas from the economic waters of the State of Israel. Israel is a sovereign state and will continue to make decisions solely in accordance with its interests without regard to the threats of such or other terrorists."

"I suggest Nasrallah continue to hide in the bunker, his videos from there do not impress anyone."

Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman

Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Energy Minister Karin Elharrar warned on Wednesday that Israel is prepared to defend the Karish gas reservoir and rig, which is entirely in Israeli territory.

“With its anchoring, the rig is located in Israeli territory, several kilometers south of the area over which negotiations are being conducted between the State of Israel and the Republic of Lebanon, mediated by the United States,” they added. “The rig will not pump gas from the disputed territory.”

Lebanese President Michel Aoun claimed that the vessel entered “the disputed maritime area with Israel... [and] any action or activity in the disputed area represents a provocation and an aggressive action.”

Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.