(Photo credit: Jacquelyn Martin/AP)
On 31 August, the White House reassured Israel and Lebanon that their maritime border dispute will conclude “within the next couple of weeks.”
A White House official told Al Arabiya that the border dispute was a top priority for President Joe Biden.
“Resolving the maritime boundary dispute is a key priority for the Biden administration. We firmly believe a deal has the potential to promote lasting stability and economic prosperity for both countries,” the official is quoted as saying.
The row over the Karish gas field escalated in June after Israel deployed two production vessels into the disputed territory.
Since then, tensions increased between Israel and Hezbollah after both sides issued threats that could lead to an all-out conflict.
In a recent statement to his supporters, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah proclaimed that the resistance group is “standing up in defense of our resources of oil and gas. We will make sure to fulfill our duties fully as we always have. No amount of pressure or threatening will scare us away from fulfilling our responsibilities.”
While the US has tried to mediate a deal between both countries for years, the White House says it’s confident to reach an agreement that would bring prosperity to both countries.
The current mediation efforts are led by Amos Hochstein, Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs, who also leads the Bureau of Energy Resources.
Hochstein, who was born in Israel, served in the Israeli army before moving to Washington to begin his political career.
While the White House remains confident that a deal can be reached in the coming weeks, Hezbollah negotiations a deadline until 15 September, and said it was at the ready to defend the interest of the Lebanese people.
Israel has also prepared for the possibility of a new war against its neighbor, running training exercises that simulated a direct conflict with Hezbollah.