The German shipyard has begun to build the four new Israeli warships that will be used to defend the natural gas deposits and territorial waters of the country. According to the Israeli navy commander, the Sa’ar-6 ships are one of the main pillars in the IDF’s naval defensive wall. In recent years the importance of maritime supremacy has been strengthened with the awareness that it constitutes a pillar of the security of the State of Israel. Over 90% of Israeli imports arrive by sea and the Israeli navy is much lower than other IDF armed forces, although they have to protect about 44,000 sq km. of sea, almost twice the size of Israel. The new ships will be used to defend Israel’s natural gas drilling rigs, which supply about 60% (and soon 75%) of the nation’s electricity. According to the naval officer, in peacetime a missile ship will patrol the territorial waters of Israel as a whole, but during the war period, the navy will place a ship near each platform, which are clear targets for Hezbollah. It is believed that the Lebanese group has the ability to hit any point of the Israeli territorial sea, in fact, despite not having any naval capacity, it is believed that it has long-range missiles, including precision ballistic missiles received from Iran, which can hit the facilities and ships within the exclusive Israeli economic zone. Israel hopes to resolve the dispute diplomatically, but is ready to defend its territorial waters. In the words of the ministers, this means that if Hezbollah were to attack, the response would be faster and more devastating than in the past.
Lebanese military officials told their Israeli counterparts during a regular tripartite meeting chaired by UN peacekeepers at their UN positions in Ras al-Naqoura, which the wall that the IDF is building along the border between the two countries violate the sovereign territory of Lebanon. There are increasing tensions between the two countries concerning border works, rights challenged to the exploration of natural gas and Israeli warnings that Iran – through its delegate in Lebanon, Hezbollah – is transforming the country into an advanced base for manufacturing missiles and attacking the Jewish state. The construction of the wall has strained tensions, with Hezbollah, which threatens to open fire on Israeli soldiers who build the barrier. The UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which hosted the meeting, said in a statement that the talks have attracted attention “due to engineering work south of the Blue Line previously announced by the Israeli side”, referring to the line that marked the Israeli withdrawal recognized by the UN from Lebanon in 2000. Neither side wants to return to a period of growing tensions and a violation of the cessation of hostilities; however, both seem intent on maintaining the line taken.
Turkey on Monday unveiled the “most appropriate” route for the Canal Istanbul Project, which is an artificial sea-level waterway parallel to the Bosphorus that is to connect the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara. The canal is expected to have capacity for 160 vessels a day and is scheduled to be completed by 2023. Arslan said the first target is to reduce the ship traffic. Furthermore, the canal may reduce the risks that may arise from vessels carrying dangerous substances passing through the Bosphorus”, the minister said. The third goal is to increase both the position and attractiveness of Turkey with waterway transportation in Istanbul. Arslan said that all work, including the determination of alternative routes, evaluation of the current situation, numerical model studies, earthquake, tsunami, wind and wave climate and geological surveys were completed by the beginning of the year, explaining that each topic was handled in detail. Arslan did not give further information about the exact cost of the project, but added it will be “much bigger” than other projects.