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UN asks Israel to compensate Lebanon over 2006 oil spills

THE LEVANT NEWS — BEIRUT: The U.N. has requested from Israel that it compensates Lebanon for the oil spills it caused along its shores during the 2006 summer war, the Environment Ministry said in a statement Wednesday.

The ministry’s media office said that the U.N. General Assembly Tuesday night adopted a new decision, the tenth of its kind, asking Israel to pay Lebanon $856.4 million for causing the spillage of oil into its sea, which was the result of Israeli jets striking (oil) tanks along the coast.

It added that 171 countries voted in favor of the decision, while six-Israel, the United States, Australia, Canada, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands-voted against the move. Three countries, Cameroon, Tonga and Papua New Guinea, abstained from voting.

“The following studies over the disaster prepared by U.N. organizations, as well as other global organizations, documented the negative effects it (the oil spill) had on public health, environmental organizations, tourism, the coast as well as sea resorts and marinas, which took a toll on the livelihoods of fishermen and sea life,” the statement said.

On July 13 and 15, 2006, at the height of the devastating Israel-Hezbollah conflict, Israeli war planes bombed two oil tanks next to the Jiyyeh power station, about 23 km south of the Beirut airport, which contained 10,000 and 15,000 cubic meters of heavy fuel oil respectively, causing massive fires to spread to other nearby tanks.

When the Israeli air and sea blockade prevented emergency and rescue units from maneuvering, the overall damage resulted in about 60,000 cubic meters of the fuel oil being burned, while 15,000 cubic meters leaked into the sea.

Due to the blockade, the leak could not be contained, causing the oil to spread 150 km along the Lebanese coast. The environmental impact even reached parts of the Syrian coast, north of Lebanon.

Source: The Daily Star

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