"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.
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.
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.