Israel has expressed its fear that the vast gas fields discovered on its northern coast could become a target for the Palestinian and Arab resistance.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said last night that the Israeli security apparatus will defend the gas fields by all possible means. Netanyahu, speaking at an economic conference, went on to stress the role the fields will play in improving Israel's economic conditions.
The recently discovered reserves will be "a strategic target that Israel's enemies will try to attack," he warned. Netanyahu did not clarify whether this anxiety is based on intelligence or a general evaluation.
Israel announced the discovery of the first gas field off the coast of Haifa in January 2009 with ceasefire in the war against Gaza just hours old. Between them, the two fields, named Tamar and Leviathan,are estimated to contain reserves of 530 billion cubic metres of gas.
Lebanon has declared that the Leviathan field, believed to contain 450 billion cubic metres of gas, lies within its exclusive economic zone. Hezbollah has said it cannot accept Israeli authority over Lebanon's natural resources.
Israel and Cyprus have reached a bilateral agreement to determine economic zones in the Mediterranean Sea in order to continue search operations for oil and gas fields without fear of conflicts.