Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Palestinian Officials start process to demarcate maritime borders

By K. Künzl - October 22, 2019
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Gaza]

Both “legal and procedural steps” have been taken by Palestinian Officials this week to define maritime borders off the coast of Gaza according to Al-Monitor.

On 8 October, Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki administered a legal file to Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Geit detailing the proceedings for demarcation, a proposal long time awaited by the PA.

Plans have been ongoing since June 2017 when “a national team of experts was formed to work on demarcating the Palestinian maritime borders of the Mediterranean Sea”, two years after Palestine participated for the first time in the meeting of state signatories of the 1982 UN Convention of the 'Law of the Sea’ in New York.

At the convention Palestinian officials emphasised “the rights of people to benefit from natural resources and preserving the environment”, according to Al-Monitor.

Al-Maliki announced during a press conference this week that maps and coordinates had been presented to the UN.

“We asked UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to circulate the maps and coordinates among the member states to help us in our efforts to set up the maritime borders, especially with regard to the exclusive economic zone, which the state of Palestine has the right to exploit and invest in,” Al-Maliki stated.

By presenting the documents to the UN and Arab League, Palestinian officials are able to bring international attention to the maritime violations by Israel, primarily to abuse of Gaza’s natural resources located in these waters. 

“Israel for years has been using many of the gas fields in Palestinian waters while restricting Palestinians from extracting gas from the Gaza Marine 1 gas field, which was discovered in 1998,” an anonymous official at The Palestine Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Al-Monitor.

The PA commissioned a British Gas Co. alongside Palestinian Consolidated Contractors Co. (CCC) to search for natural gas in the Gaza strip waters, one gas field was located “off the strip” and the other “on the common border with Israel”.

The outcome of the demarcation submissions could be “investments in the Palestinian territories, particularly gas exploration” Mohammad Awartani, director of the Natural Resources and Gas Fields Unit of the Massader for Natural Resources and Infrastructure Development Co., told Al-Monitor.

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