Creating new perspectives since 2009

Rights group demands Israel halt oil exploration in the occupied Syrian Golan

February 25, 2016 at 5:29 pm

Al-Marsad – Arab Centre for Human Rights in the Golan Heights sent an urgent letter to the Israeli Ministry of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources, demanding the cancellation of permits issued at the start of February allowing drilling for oil in 11 different locations in the occupied Syrian lands.

The letter, sent by the organisation’s attorney Karama Abu Saleh and Palestinian legal centre Adalah’s lawyer Suhad Bishara, said: “The Golan Heights is occupied territory and its people are under occupation, and the Fourth Geneva Convention considers them protected civilians.”

It stressed that the “Israeli excavation violates the principle of sovereignty over natural resources and the collective right to the use of these resources, as expressed in the United Nations Resolution of 1962, which ensures peoples’ control over their natural resources, as well as the United Nations General Assembly resolution in 2006, which emphasises the exclusive right for the people of the Golan to use these resources.”

“The Golan is an occupied area and therefore it is subjected to the principle of the status quo embodied in international law. This means that it is prohibited to tamper with, transfer or confiscate public property; in addition, international law forbids looting,” the letter said.

Israeli permits which allow drilling for oil in the occupied Golan are a flagrant violation of the principles of international humanitarian law, the letter explained.

According to international humanitarian law, “the crude oil is a fixed asset and exploiting it is prevented.” This, the letter explained, exploitation is considered a war crime according to the Rome Statute, based on which the international Criminal Court was established, therefore Israel must cancel all permits immediately.