The Ministry of Environmental Protection indicated that tar was "washing up and contaminating the beaches" starting last Wednesday. A major clean-up and conservation effort is underway that has included the Israeli Army.
It's believed the oil spill may have happened a week or more ago, or possibly even weeks prior, but recent stormy weather washed it up to shore.
Currently an estimated 106 miles of coastline have been impacted, stretching from Israel through the Gaza Strip. It's also been widely reported as impacting southern Lebanon's coastline.
A statement from the Israel Nature and Parks Authority predicted that clean-up efforts could take years after the dozens of tons of tar washed up in various places. "The disaster we are witnessing in recent days on the beaches of Israel is the most serious ecological disaster in recent years, and its consequences we will see more years ahead," the Parks Authority wrote Saturday.
Israeli as well as various international bodies are investigating the source of the Mediterranean spillage, which has included reviewing satellite tracking data of tankers that have traversed the area in recent weeks. Interestingly and suspiciously, the investigations findings are being kept under tight wrap, as Fox News describes:
In an unusual move, an Israeli judge has issued a gag order on the investigations and any detail relating to it, including the suspects' name or identities, the vessels involved, and destination and port of departure.
Maya Jacobs, CEO of Zalul, an Israel NGO that protects the country's seas and streams, called to remove the gag order, and conduct a transparent investigation.
"The companies who cause the environmental risks like the petroleum and shipping companies have a great influence on the Israeli government," she said.