Press Release: Caabu calls on British government to oppose Israeli oil and gas exploration in the Golan Heights

Posted by Caabu on 28 Feb 2013

28 February 2013

Caabu (The Council for Arab-British Understanding) has called on the British government to make clear its opposition to Israel granting a US company a licence to explore for oil and gas in the occupied Golan Heights.

In a letter to the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, Caabu Director, Chris Doyle, said: “It is vital that a strong message is sent to the Israeli government at the start of this consultation process before further facts are created on the ground. The British government and other allies should make it explicitly clear that that this is illegal and that any oil extracted from the Golan Heights should be used for the exclusive benefit of Syrians.” 

On Thursday 21 February 2013, Israel’s energy ministry confirmed that a licence had been granted to a local subsidiary of Genie Energy, a New York-listed company that counts Rupert Murdoch and Jacob Rothschild among its shareholders. Former US vice-president, Dick Cheney, is also an adviser. Genie Energy has been granted licences in a stretch of territory that covers half of the Golan Heights, from the town of Katzrin in the north to Tzemach in the south.

Any exploitation of mineral resources by Israel as the occupying power from the Golan Heights is illegal under international law, specifically Articles 47 and 55 of the 1907 Hague regulations.  Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights has not been recognised by the UN. In 1981, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 497 demanding that Israel rescind its annexation of the Golan.

Any revenue obtained from the exploitation of oil in the Golan Heights should belong to Syria. Any oil revenues will be essential to rebuild Syria. Doyle also added: “If oil is discovered, there will be global disgust if it is extracted for Israeli benefit whilst Syrians, whose oil it would be, languish in exile, homelessness and acute poverty.”

Ends

Notes:

1 - For more information or interviews, please contact Chris Doyle on +447968040281 doylec@caabu.org