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    UN Urges Israel to Pay Lebanon $850Mln for 2006 Environmental Damage

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    The United Nations General Assembly has urged Israel to compensate Lebanon $850 million for damages caused by Israeli air strikes in 2006; Israel has strongly rejected the resolution as promoting an "anti-Israel agenda" in the UN.

    MOSCOW, December 20 (Sputnik), Ekaterina Blinova — The United Nations General Assembly demanded Israel to pay Lebanon $850 million for severe environmental damage caused by Israeli airstrikes during the Second Lebanon War of 2006; Israel has dismissed the resolution as promoting an "anti-Israel agenda" in the UN.

    "Israel has strongly rejected a United Nations General Assembly resolution calling on it to pay Lebanon over $850 million in damages for an oil spill caused by an Israeli air force attack on oil storage tanks during its war with Hezbollah in July 2006," Haaretz, an Israeli media outlet, reported.

    The media source notes that the Assembly passed the resolution by 170 votes to six, with three abstentions, while Israel, the United States, Canada, Australia, Micronesia and Marshall Islands were opposed to the resolution. Although the document is not legally binding, it still reflects "world opinion," Haaretz points out.

    "It's the sort of UN decision that we're used to, mixing alternative history, manipulation politicization and self-interested narrow-mindedness," the Israeli mission in the UN stated, slamming the resolution as "biased."

    In 2006, during a violent month-long conflict with Hezbollah, the Israeli Air Force destroyed a Lebanese power station and caused a leak of about 15,000 tons of oil into the eastern Mediterranean Sea. An oil slick spread over the coastline of Lebanon and reached Syria.

    The UN qualified the incident as "environmental disaster" that led to "extensive pollution," and urged Israel to provide "prompt and adequate compensation." The UN estimates that the cost of damage to Lebanon is $856.4 million. The Assembly asked Ban Ki-moon to "conduct further study," in order to measure the environmental damage to neighboring countries.

    "This resolution has long outlived the effects of the oil slick, and serves no purpose other than to contribute to institutionalizing an anti-Israel agenda at the UN," Israel's official statement said, adding that Israel collaborated with international organizations and NGO's and made every effort to diminish the devastating consequences of the oil spill.

    In his turn, Lebanese UN Ambassador Nawaf Salam praised the resolution, qualifying the vote as a "major progress."

    "We affirm that Lebanon will continue to mobilize all resources and resort to all legal means to see that this resolution is fully implemented, and that the specified compensation is paid promptly," he said as quoted by Haaretz.

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    Tags:
    UN resolution, oil spill, airstrikes, Israeli Air Force, UN General Assembly, Ban Ki-moon, Lebanon, Australia, Israel, Syria, Canada, United States, Mediterranean Sea
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