Israel’s Defense Minister Says No Evidence That Oil Spill Was Deliberate

Israel's environment minister claimed Iran purposely dumped the oil, accusing Tehran of 'environmental terrorism'

A few days after Israel’s Environmental Protection Ministry accused Iran of deliberately dumping oil off Israel’s coast, Israeli military officials are saying they don’t have evidence to back up the claim.

On Friday, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said there’s currently no evidence to conclude that the oil spill was done on purpose. “I can’t completely rule out that it was deliberate, but at this stage, we can’t determine that it was done on purpose,” he said.

Israeli TV reported on Friday that so far, Israel’s military and intelligence agencies are still investigating the spill but have so far found no evidence that it was deliberate “environmental terrorism.” Military and intelligence officials challenged the claim almost immediately after it was made.

Israeli Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel first made the accusation on Wednesday. She said a Libyan-owned ship sailed from Iran before dumping oil off Israel’s coast. In the face of criticism, Gamliel has continued to defend the claim.

Gamliel also serves in the Knesset and is a member of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party. Her accusation could be an effort to gain political favor of Netanyahu, who likes to blame Iran for just about any incident in the region.

Defending the claim in an interview on Thursday, Gamliel said, “only Netanyahu knows how to deal with the Iranian threat properly.” So far, Netanyahu has not commented on Gamliel’s accusation.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.