Israel owes Lebanon hundreds of millions worth of damages from an oil spill caused by a missile attack in 2006
According to an AP report from 20 September, a group of US nationals won a case against Lebanese resistance group Hezbollah at the federal court in Brooklyn, New York.
In the ruling, Judge Steven L. Tiscione awarded the plaintiffs $111 million in compensation for alleged “physical and emotional injuries” sustained by Hezbollah’s rocket attacks in Israel in 2006.
“Only by exacting a heavy price from those who engage in the business of terrorism can we prevent the suffering and loss of additional victims to their violence,” said Darshan-Leitner, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs.
The court found Hezbollah’s actions, which were defending Lebanon from Israeli aggressions during the ‘Second Lebanon War,’ to be in violation of the US Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA).
The ATA, better known as the Patriot Act, was established by the US in a bid to deter terrorist acts on US soil in addition to enhancing law enforcement tools against the perpetrators of such crimes.
Nonetheless, the plaintiff’s lawyers acknowledge that this was a psychological win, considering it unlikely for Hezbollah to give much thought to the court’s rulings.
Hezbollah’s media unit refused to comment on the ruling when contacted by AP.
The Israeli aggressions on Lebanon in 2006 resulted in the death of at least 1,191 Lebanese and the injury of 4,409 others.
Additionally, the Israeli attacks killed at least 56 foreign nationals, including 5 UN soldiers, while wounding at least 37 others.
Israel has not paid any compensations for the war, and neither has the US, which played an instrumental role in resupplying the Israeli army with weapons during the war.
The UN General Assembly overwhelmingly voted in November 2021 in favor of a resolution demanding that Israel pay Lebanon $856.4 million as compensation for an oil spill caused by their attacks.
In July 2006, the Israeli air force destroyed the storage tanks at the thermal power station in Jiyeh, causing a 10 km wide oil spill covering half of Lebanon’s coastline.
Over 25,000 tons of heavy fuel oil were released into the eastern Mediterranean sea, causing the “worst ecological disaster in the oceans and the first time an oil spill happens outside the open sea,” according to the Lebanese Ministry of Environment.
“Israel bears the responsibility to pay immediate compensation to the government of Lebanon and to other countries that were directly affected by the oil spill, such as Syria, whose beaches were partially polluted,” the resolution indicated.
The resolution has not been acknowledged by Israel and has been continuously rejected by US representatives at the UN.
The US has voted against all UN resolutions that were intended to condemn Israel for its crimes during the 34-day war in Lebanon, despite the general consensus around the war’s aggressive nature.