The Palestinian Authority (PA) has charged that the Israeli regime has been stealing Palestinian oil and gas from a field near the West Bank city of Ramallah.
“Israel has recently started unilateral exploration activities in a gas oil field alongside the West Bank borders,” said Abdullah Abdullah, the PA deputy settlement affairs minister, quoted by Xinhua on Friday.
He further reiterated that the Tel Aviv regime has already begun extracting gas from the field, adding that nearly 80 percent of the field is owned by Palestinians.
“Israel is intentionally and secretly stealing the Palestinian natural resources,” Abdullah pointed out.
He also described the move as a violation of the Oslo accord, a US-sponsored agreement between the late Palestinian Fatah leader Yasser Arafat and the Israeli regime, which states that any exploration and extraction of natural resources should be mutually coordinated.
“The PA will not stay cross-handed. We will take urgent procedures that may include suing Israel in (an) international court,” he added.
Tel Aviv has so far refused to comment on the issue.
The Israeli military has, meanwhile, expanded its presence in the region, preventing Palestinian villagers from accessing their lands and farms.
“We observed drilling rigs digging six months ago, then the Israeli media said they have started producing it,” said Salem Odeh, a citizen of the nearby village of Rantis.
Moreover, Israel approved the development of a natural gas field off a coastline of the Gaza Strip back in June.
The Israeli regime justified the move by voicing concerns over severe shortages in its natural gas supplies as the result of interruptions of cheap gas imports from Egypt.
Until the recent popular revolution in Egypt, Israel had been receiving the bulk of its natural gas supplies from the African country.
The supplies, however, have been largely interrupted following the downfall of the US-backed former Egyptian dictator, Hosni Mubarak.