Egypt seeks to end gas exports to Israel

A popular campaign by a group of Egyptian activists against gas exports to Israel has won a court case on the terms of the country’s gas deal with Tel Aviv.

The court ruled on the ministry of petroleum “not to export one single unit of gas before satisfying the local needs,” head of the Campaign against Gas Export to Israel Ibrahim Yousri told Press TV on Wednesday.

For Egyptians, the issue of supplying the Israeli regime with gas has always been a contentious one. Egyptians view Israel as an enemy and oppose engaging in any kind of business with the regime.

Egypt’s gas supply to Israel has been one of the main economic conditions of the US-sponsored 1979 peace treaty between the two sides.

Under a $2.5-billion export deal with Tel Aviv, signed in 2005, the Israeli regime gets around 40 percent of its gas supply from Egypt at a considerably low price.

However, after Egyptians faced electricity blackouts last summer due to gas shortages, most experts are demanding an extensive revision of the deal.

Muslim Brotherhood Spokesman Walid Shalaby also told Press TV, “This deal was made in the dark, away from the sight of supervisory and legislative bodies. It has to be proposed to the new parliament which will decide on who to export to and to determine the price of the exported gas.”

The development comes despite a reported Israeli plan to opt for gas instead of nuclear energy following the recent crises in Japan over radiation leaking from a crippled nuclear power plant.

On Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Tel Aviv is going to reconsider its nuclear energy plans for the coming years and choose natural gas as the main alternative.

Egypt has resumed exporting natural gas to Israel after a one-month hiatus due to an explosion that damaged the pipeline delivering gas to Israel, Jordan and Syria.

On Wednesday, Israeli firms confirmed that supplies had resumed but that initial quantities were below normal level. The resumption of gas deliveries was delayed repeatedly due to leaks.

( / 19.03.2011)

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