Israel readies for war with Hezbollah after Lebanon ups maritime deal demands

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Israel is preparing for a possible confrontation with Hezbollah after rejecting increased demands from Lebanon in maritime border talks on Thursday.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz instructed the defense establishment “to prepare for any scenario in which tensions increase in the northern arena – including defense and offense readiness,” his office said.

The instruction was issued following an assessment of the situation with IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi and other senior military officers and defense officials.

Shortly afterwards, the Security Cabinet authorized Prime Minister Yair Lapid, Gantz and Alternate Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to take decisions if there were to be an escalation in the North. Gantz warned that Israel will defend its infrastructure regardless of the outcome of negotiations.

“If Hezbollah tries to harm [Israeli infrastructure or sovereignty], the military cost to Lebanon and Hezbollah will be very high,” he said at a memorial ceremony for the fallen of the Yom Kippur War of 1973.

PM Yair Lapid rejects Lebanese counter-proposal

Lapid rejected changes proposed by Lebanon to a maritime border agreement drafted by the US, a senior diplomatic source said on Thursday. The prime minister emphasized to US Energy Envoy Amos Hocstein that Israel would not make any more concessions.

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