Pulse Media


Natural Gas off Gaza


There were some Israeli concerns that the gas money might end up in the hands of Hamas, but they were dealt with last year, when a trust fund was set up that ensured international cash goes only to the Palestinian government appointed by Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian national authority and leader of Fatah.

Electronic Intifada

The Palestinian Investment Fund (PIF), a financial holdings company owned primarily by independent Palestinian shareholders, is investing in the project and heads the negotiations in coordination with Mahmoud Abbas' government in the West Bank. BG won a majority stake in the concession to develop the Gaza Marine Field and originally targeted Egypt for the sale of the natural gas. But pressure from then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair led the company to redirect its efforts toward Israel and develop plans for an underwater pipeline that would transport the gas to an Israeli refinery at Ashkelon. That deal could have eventually provided Israel with approximately 10 percent of its annual energy requirement, and would have generated approximately $1 billion for the PIF. The Hamas election victory in 2006 put all that in jeopardy.

Green Prophet

The two big obstacles preventing this from happening are Israel’s problems with the Palestinians and enough objection from environmental groups, including Greenpeace, who say that the Mediterranean is already so polluted that such an undertaking will literally “finish the Med off.”

Government economic policies, especially where huge profit rake offs are involved (and we all know how corrupt many Israeli government officials are) could push any and all environmental considerations aside, however.

This means that the only other obstacle remaining is the lack of any peace agreement with the Hamas-led Palestinians. From an environmental standpoint, perhaps being at loggerheads with Hamas and Co. is not a bad idea, if it will help save what’s left of Israel’s Mediterranean seacoast.