Israeli energy to start of oil exploration
Jerusalem - Sona Adeek
Jamal Zahalka, an Arab member of the Israeli Knesset, has accused the Israeli government of planning to steal the Syrian Golan Height’s oil and gas resources, citing a news report that Israeli energy minister Uzi Landau had ordered the start of oil exploration in the occupied Syrian territory.
Zahalka said the move was downright robbery.
The Knesset member said that exploiting the natural resource in Golan is contrary to international law and that “Golan's fuel is for its people, not for Israel. This is a downright robbery. The occupation forces are using the territory of Syrian property and allowing settlers to exploit its land for settlement, agricultural, industrial purposes and now exploring oil and gas resources."
He added that Israeli plans for the occupied Golan does not have the required attention from any party except from Israel, which continues in silence to make use of the natural resource, arranging settlements and trapping the Arab Syrian presence in Golan.
Zahalka called for international pressure on Israel, and to impose sanctions provided in international treaties and decisions about the parties which violate international law.
In response to Jamal Zahalka, Uzi Landau, Israeli Minister of Energy and Water Resources, has changed his secret decision about the exploration of oil and gas in Occupied Golan. He said that his Ministry has not provided an official approval of Golan Heights oil exploration, and that in case of issuing such approvals the Planning authorities will study how, when and where the exploration will take place. He added that the licenses will be in accordance with the Israeli laws, confirming Israel's intention to undertake such explorations.
Landau denied that the decision was secretly made, as published in some Israeli newspapers, claiming that the case has been discussed in the competent council and that the decision was made to implement the recommendations of the advisory committee for the oil law - which recommended the closure of oil and gas exploration in the sea and exploring only the land, including Golan.
Israeli Ministry of Energy and Water Resources claim that Golan is not considered an occupied zone according to the Israeli law, as it was officially attached to Israel more than 30 years ago.
The Israeli government headed by Yitzhak Rabin decided in the mid 90s to stop all the oil and gas explorations in Golan, within the framework of facilitating the negotiations which took place at the time, and no Israeli government has allowed since then the renewal of the explorations until Minister Landau approved this renewal. In 1996, and after Benjamin Netanyahu became the Prime Minister in Israel, the media has been reporting on a story about allowing oil drilling in Golan. But amid strong protests from Syria, the Israeli government announced that it is not going to happen.