(Adds background on sea law in 10th paragraph.)
By Jonathan Ferziger and David Wainer
June 24 (Bloomberg) — Minister of National Infrastructures Uzi Landau said Israel is willing to use force to protect off- shore natural gas finds after the speaker of Lebanon’s parliament said the fields extended into his nation’s waters.
“We will not hesitate to use our force and strength to protect not only the rule of law but the international maritime law,” Landau, 66, said in an interview yesterday at his Jerusalem office when asked about Lebanese claims. “Whatever we find, they will have something to say. That’s because they’re not challenging our findings and so-called occupation of the sea. Our very existence here is a matter of occupation for them. These areas are within the economic waters of Israel.”
Israel, which is seeking to wean itself off oil and coal imports from as far away as Mexico and Norway, has said the Leviathan and Tamar fields may allow it to start exporting gas. The discoveries also have prompted talks with Cyprus to seek clarification on maritime boundaries. Israel and Lebanon are technically at war and have no diplomatic relations.
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