Israel has granted a U.S. company the first license to explore for oil and gas in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights.
A local subsidiary of the New York-listed company Genie Energy, which is advised by former US vice-president Dick Cheney.
Shareholders Jacob Rothschild and Rupert Murdoch, will now have exclusive rights to a 153-square mile radius in the southern part of the Golan Heights.
This part of the occupied Golan connects to the Sea of Galilee, cutting off the Syrian agricultural water supply of the Jordan River all together. There are about 20,000 Israeli settlers in the Golan Heights.
That geographic location will likely prove controversial. Israel seized the Golan Heights in the Six-Day War in 1967 and annexed the territory in 1981.
Its administration of the area, which is not recognized by international law, has been mostly peaceful until the Syrian proxy war broke out in 2011.
Israeli political analyst Yaron Ezrahi told FT, that this action is mostly political and an attempt to deepen Israeli commitment to the occupied Syrian Golan Heights.
The timing is directly related to the fact that the Syrian government is dealing with violence and chaos and is not free to deal with this problem.
Earlier this month we reported that Israel is considering creating an ISIS buffer zone reaching up to 10 miles from Golan into Syria to secure the 47-mile border against the threat of the Syrian Arab Army.
The move would overtake the UN Disengagement Observer Force Zone that was established in 1973 to end the Yom Kippur War and to provide a buffer zone between the two countries.
Recent natural gas finds off Israel’s coast in the Mediterranean have made the country’s offshore gas reserve one of the largest of its kind in the world, meaning Israel may become a significant energy exporter in its region.
Business Insider / ABC Flash Point News 2019.