Israel said today that it has given the go-ahead for a gas exploration project in the Golan Heights, which it captured from Syria in the 1967 war.
Israel's Energy and Water Resources Ministry has issued a permit for the US-Israeli company Genie Energy to drill for oil on the plateau.
The company is headed by Effi Eitam, a hawkish former Israeli Cabinet minister and Golan settler.
Shareholders include Lord Rothschild and media mogul Rupert Murdoch, while Republican former vice-president Dick Cheney is an adviser.
Israel annexed the Golan Heights in 1981 but the world still considers it occupied territory.
Oil permits for the area were stopped 20 years ago during Israel-Syria talks, which were to include a potential return of the Golan.
The plundering of the natural resources of occupied territory is likely to draw international condemnation, especially since the company concerned is headed by an Israeli politician.
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