Israel breaches Lebanon's territory by water, air, despite maritime border deal
An Israeli military drone entered Lebanese airspace in the south and remained in Lebanese territory for 20 minutes, according to a statement from Lebanon's army.
Lebanon's military separately said a "gunboat belonging to the Israeli enemy breached the Lebanese territorial waters… for about 203 metres", Turkish news agency Anadolu reported.
The boat entered Lebanese territory near Ras Naqoura, also in the country's south, according to the military, which said it is pursuing both violations with peacekeeping force UNIFIL.
"Citing its own national security interests, Israel has taken advantage of Lebanon's lack of an air defence umbrella and official deterrence policy to routinely violate Lebanon's sovereign borders by land, sea and air despite the armistice agreement signed in 1949 with Lebanon," said Karim Traboulsi, The New Arab's managing editor and an expert on Lebanon.
He added that this has allowed Israel to conduct "at-will incursions", including attacks on targets in Syria and training of its pilots given Israel's own limited airspace.
Traboulsi added: "The US-brokered deal signed between Lebanon and Israel to demarcate their maritime economic zones with a view to dividing disputed offshore hydrocarbon fields has not affected this Israeli practice."
The 2022 agreement crucially paved the way for Lebanon, which is struggling under the weight of a crippling economic crisis, to extract gas from the Qana field.
Israel's breaching of Lebanon's borders not only violates Beirut's sovereignty but also seriously impacts civilians.
"Israel has… been accused of deliberately intimidating the Lebanese civilian population with fighter jets breaking the sound barrier at low altitudes for no clear security objectives," Traboulsi said.
"Despite this breaking international laws, there's no international mechanism to hold Israel accountable for these violations."
Note: this video is archival footage
Israeli army aircraft have breached Beirut's airspace over 22,000 times since 2007, according to the monitoring website AirPressure.info.
The site's principal investigator is Lawrence Abu Hamdan.
"While the sound of each of these violations is short-lived and no two residents could hear it in the same way or at the same time, I want to present these violations as an accumulated event, one long crime," he told The New Arab in August.
AirPressure.info has not updated its data to show any violations that occurred after 28 December 2021.