In an unprecedented move, Israeli Energy and Water Ministry has authorized oil drilling in the occupied Golan Heights territory, Yediot Aharonot daily reported. The first contract has been awarded to the US-Israeli energy company Genie, headed by former Cabinet Minister Effie Eitam.
Industry sources confirmed Thursday that Genie Energy won the license following reports last year that Tel Aviv had decided to allow oil and gas exploration on Golan Heights.
“The company believes, based on its preliminary analysis and interpretation of existing geological data, that the newly-issued license area may contain significant quantities of conventional oil and gas in relatively tight formations, the development of which would entail significantly different technical approaches and project timelines than the other projects,” Genie Energy said in a statement.
Former US Vice President is an adviser to the project, according to the Globes business news service, which also said media mogul and banker Jacob Rothschild are among the shareholders.
Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War and annexed it in 1981. The move was never recognized by the international community, but the strategic plateau has been extensively settled by Israelis.
The Golan's status has been one of the core issues in the Israeli-Syrian row, with Damascus demanding full return of territory.
Meanwhile, Yediot Aharonot wrote that Israel halted oil exploration on the strategic plateau 20 years ago, during the Middle East peace talks.
"Israel was afraid at that time that drilling for oil on the Golan Heights might undermine future possible agreements and stirring international tensions," it said.
No one can say that what Israel intends to do is not stealing. At the same time, I blame the Syrian regime, who did not follow the approach of former Egyptian President in the entire Sinai liberation from Israeli occupation.
For sure, Israel greatly benefits from the chaos in Syria but Israel must know that the Syrian people will not allow them to steal Golan oil. Certainly, after the demise of Assad's regime, the situation of Golan will be resolved because the Golan is a land belonging to the Syrian state and not to the Syrian regime.
During the past years, Arabs were wondering why don't the Syrians take any peaceful or military step so as to liberate the Golan Heights. The answers of the Syrian regime, on this regard were always a little fuzzy, non-explicit. Thus, let me mention this story, which I am pretty sure it is a true one, as the days had proven this:
"Dr. Mahmoud Jame, a close friend to late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat said that Sadat was briefed on the secret that the Golan Heights were actually sold to Israel in ahead of the 1967 War in exchange for US$100 million. He also said that the money was received by Rifaat Assad and his brother Hafez Assad, the former Syrian president. The check was deposited in a Swiss bank.
Jame went on to say that, 'one morning Sadat took me with him in private and without a guard to the (Syrian part of the) Golan Heights, and I swear by the Almighty God that he put his hand on my shoulder and as we were standing on the Golan Heights, he told me literally: Look Mahmoud This is the Golan, can any power seize it so easily, even if it is Israel?' And Jame said, 'I said to Sadat this is impossible, he said to me I will tell you a dangerous secret, the Golan Heights were purchased by Israel for $100 million. The check was received by both Hafez and Rifaat Assad and deposited in their accounts in a Swiss bank.'
The price in return was that Syrian Defense Minister at the time, Hafez Assad, order the Syrian forces to withdraw immediately from the Golan Heights in the June 1967 war without firing a single shot and handing it over to Israel."
I think that the Israelis are the only ones who can confirm whether this story is true or not, but in all cases the Golan Heights remain occupied.
"Who sold Golan, sold what he didn't own to whom it didn't deserve."