Environment Ministry chief insists oil spill was a form of terrorism

The director-general of the Environmental Protection Ministry says Israel’s security forces must take part in an investigation into a major oil spill off Israel’s coast that inundated the country’s beaches with tar, and insists the spill was a form of terrorism.

Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel has blamed a Libyan “pirate ship” that sailed from Iran for the spill, calling it “environmental terrorism” by Tehran.

Defense figures have pushed back at this claim and are skeptical the spill was deliberate.

Tar is stuck on rocks after an oil spill in the Mediterranean Sea, at Tel-Dor Nature Reserve, in Nahsholim, Israel, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

“It doesn’t matter if it was deliberate or not,” David Yahalomi tells Kan Bet Radio. “An enemy state that transfers 45 million oil barrels illegally and improperly through Israel’s economic waters — is harmful.”

Yahalomi said it is believed some 1,000 tons of oil leaked from the ship, but that this was a mere 1 percent of the total oil it can carry. The disaster, he therefore said, could have been “100 times worse.”

He says the potential harm under such circumstances “is a ticking bomb, and so it is correct to call it environmental terrorism.”