The United Nations General assembly passed a resolution on Friday asking Israel to pay over $850 million in damages to Lebanon for the 2006 oil spill that occurred because of an attack by the Israeli air force. The resolution, approved by 170 members of the council, was denied by six members while three members abstained from voting.
Israel, the U.S., Canada, Australia, Micronesia and Marshall Islands voted "no" for the resolution, which is not legally binding but represents the general opinion of the other world leaders, according to The Associated Press (AP). The U.N. resolution said that the destruction of the tanks caused an “environmental disaster,” leading to an oil slick covering the entire coast of Lebanon and extended to the Syrian coastline.
The U.N. Mission for Israel said that the resolution is biased against Israel. "Israel immediately responded to the oil slick incident by cooperating closely with the United Nations Environment Programme, as well as other UN agencies and NGOs, addressing the environmental situation along the coast of Lebanon," Israel said in a statement, according to AP, adding: "This resolution has long outlived the effects of the oil slick, and serves no purpose other than to contribute to institutionalizing an anti-Israel agenda at the UN."
According to a report in August by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, studies had estimated that the damage to Lebanon was worth $856.4 million in 2014 and the report had asked Israel to offer a "prompt and adequate compensation" for it.
"The secretary-general expressed grave concern at the lack of any acknowledgment on the part of the government of Israel of its responsibilities vis-a-vis reparations and compensation" to Lebanon and Syria, the resolution said, according to AP.
Lebanese U.N. Ambassador Nawaf Salam said, according to AP, that the resolution was a “major progress.”
“The resolution also paves the way for further compensation into other areas of damages, such as health, ecosystem services as habitat, potential ground water examination and marine diversity,” Salam said, according to The Daily Star, a Lebanese newspaper, adding: "Furthermore, its adoption asserts the will of the overwhelming majority of the international community to hold countries responsible for their wrongful international acts, a clear manifestation of which is Israel’s attacks on the Jiyyeh electric power plant in 2006.”