The company behind Israel's worst-ever oil spill has been ordered to pay a fine of NIS 100 million for damage caused when some 5 million liters of oil leaked into a nature reserve in the south and threatened to spread to the Red Sea shores and neighboring Jordan.
In December 2014, the breached pipeline belonging to the Eilat-Askhelon Pipeline Company started spewing oil into the Evrona desert reserve - famed for its rare deer and douma palms - causing what experts said was the worst spill in Israel's history.
Ecologists said the December 2014 oil could take years to clean up.
"How exactly do you take care of a deer that is running and limping because of the oil? ... How do you clean the vegetation? This is very complicated business," Roey Talbi, an ecologist with Israel's Nature and Parks Authority, told Army Radio at the time.
"We don't have experience with something of this scale. Clean-up could take months, it could take years," said Tali Tenenbaum, a spokeswoman for the Nature and Parks Authority shortly after the spill.
The breach occurred during maintenance on the pipeline between Eilat and Ashkelon, about 18 km (12 miles) north of Eilat, near the border with Jordan.
Four class action lawsuits were filed against the company, which were then consolidated into one lawsuit seeking hundreds of millions of shekels in damages, including personal compensation for disaster-hit local residents, as well as hundreds of millions for rehabilitation, oversight and future damages.
Earlier this month, the State Prosecutor's Office put together a compromise agreement during mediation between the company, the Ministry of Environment Protection, the Nature and Parks Authority, Hevel Eilot Regional Council, Be'er Ora community and representative of claimants.
As part of the settlement agreement, the Eilat Ashkelon Pileline Company was made responsible for the ongoing impact of the leak and paying a total of NIS 100 million in compensation to the public and the claimants, as well as for the purpose of restoring the nature reserve and preventing future damage.
Reuters contributed to this report