JERUSALEM Feb 21 Israel has awarded its first
licence to drill for oil on the occupied Golan Heights to a U.S.
energy company, industry sources said on Thursday.
Israel captured the Golan from Syria in the 1967 Middle East
war and annexed it in a move not recognised internationally. The
strategic plateau has been extensively settled by Israelis and
is the site of a major wind turbine project.
Energy sector sources said that after Israel decided last
year to allow oil and gas exploration on the Golan, Genie Energy
was awarded a licence to drill. The New Jersey-based
company still needs further work permits for drilling to
commence, a process that could take years.
Genie did not immediately return calls for comment.
The Golan's status has been at the heart of past
Israeli-Syrian peace talks, with Damascus demanding its full
return. With a two-year-old Syrian revolt now threatening
President Bashar al-Assad's rule, Israel has dug in on the