Israel has awarded the first-ever oil drilling permit in the Golan Heights.
On the eve of almost every high-level visit to Israel by US officials, the Israeli government habitually has angered the American government by coming up with an approval for building in Judea and Samaria or areas in Jerusalem that are claimed by the Palestinian Authority.
Israel officially annexed the Golan Heights in 1980, but the United States does not recognize the area as Israeli. The State Dept. is likely to criticize the permit, but it may not cause a rift in President Barack Obama’s visit next month because the area is claimed by Syria and not by the Palestinian Authority.
The license was awarded to Genie Energy, which is headed by none other than Golan Heights resident and former IDF general and Likud Cabinet minister Effie Eitam, who fought against Syria in the Golan front in the Yom Kippur War in 1973.
The company’s shareholders include Lord Jacob Rothschild, and Rupert Murdoch, Globes reported, and one of the company’s advisers is former US Vice President Dick Cheney.
Geological tests have indicated the potential for an oil discovery in the Golan Heights.JTA