הים התיכון Mediterranean Sea
Photo: Getty Image Bank Israel
Israel seeks to redefine financial rights in Mediterranean
Justice Ministry said to draft bill calling for regulation of Israel's stake in natural underwater resources found off its coasts. Move prompted by similar steps taken by Egypt, Cyprus
After years in which Israel opted not to clearly define the scope of its financial stake in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea, the Justice Ministry has recently issued a memo outlining a new bill to that effect.


A financial stake in the ocean, or "financial waters", relates to a country's rights to whatever natural underwater resources are found in its oceans.


The government has been apprehensive about such a move in the past, fearing it may cause diplomatic incidents with its neighbors.


The decision to go ahead and redefine "financial waters" was prompted by Egypt and Cyprus claiming stakes of their own in the Mediterranean.


The Justice Ministry's memo does not include the waters off the coast of Gaza in the future financial waters, but sources in the ministry estimated that when such a stake is claimed, it may include some of those waters as well.


Regardless of the final claim Israel may lay to any underwater resources, sources in the Justice Ministry predicted that any such law would attract harsh international criticism.


Tova Tzimuki contributed to this report


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