“In Israel we have maritime domain blindness,” said Shaul Chorev, a retired Israeli Navy Rear Admiral who now heads the University’s Maritime Policy and Strategy Research Center. from Haifa. “Our activities are always aimed at thwarting terrorist activity, but that is not the complete picture of safety at sea.”
Admiral Chorev said preventing future oil spills from reaching the coastline would not only require Israel to invest in satellites and other tracking devices, but also to put the blame on a government body. clear to watch its coast for ecological disasters and contain them.
Environmental activists warned with extensive damage from the spill, a leak from one of the natural gas platforms off Israel’s coast could be even more destructive. Israel has invested heavily to develop natural gas fields off its coast and started exporting gas to Egypt at the end of 2019.
“It should be a wake-up call,” said Maya Jacobs, director of Zalul, an organization that advocates for the preservation of water bodies in and around Israel, which relies heavily on desalinated water. “We must immediately step up monitoring of the platforms and switch to the use of renewable energy.”
In Lebanon, the prime minister’s office said the tar had reached the southern shores of that country. He also claimed that the oil spill originated from an Israeli vessel, but provided no evidence to support this claim.
Yasser al-Shanti, head of the Gaza Water Authority, said no oil had reached Gaza beaches, but officials were monitoring the situation.
Moshiko Saadi, an environmental activist who spent Tuesday helping clean a beach in northern Israel, said he was “heartbroken” by the ubiquity of the tar.
“There are so many people who clean and fill bag after bag quickly,” Saadi said. “But then you look up and you see there’s still huge amounts of it everywhere. It makes you feel helpless.