A big oil deposit has been found in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, with enough reserves to last Israel for decades, according to the country's media.
The Israeli presence in the Golan Heights is in dispute. The region is internationally recognized Syrian territory that has been occupied by Israel since the 1967 Six-Day War between Israel and several Arab states. UN Resolution 242 (1967) demands the withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from the territories occupied in the conflict. Israel disagrees with the wording of the resolution, saying the territories are disputable.
Reportedly, the potential production may reach billions of barrels, while Israel consumes 270,000 barrels per day. Israel currently imports up to three quarters of its oil from the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in Iraq, the Financial Times reported in August.
"We are talking about a strata which is 350 meters thick and what is important is the thickness and the porosity. On average in the world strata are 20-30 meters thick, so this is ten times as large as that, so we are talking about significant quantities. The important thing is to know the oil is in the rock and that's what we now know," Israel business website Globes quotes Yuval Bartov, chief geologist of Afek Oil and Gas as saying. Afek is a subsidiary of the America’s Genie Energy.
The reported discovery coincides with the civil war raging in Syria. Israel has been accused of taking advantage of the conflict. The Israeli-occupied Golan Heights also border Syrian territory controlled by anti-government rebels. Israel has reportedly provided medical aid to the rebels and has responded to rocket fire from rebel-controlled territory by striking Syrian Army positions. Israel's explanation has been that it "holds the Syrian military responsible for all events stemming from its territory."