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Israel's Miscalculation On Egyptian Natural Gas

Police protocols published this week shed light on the decision of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to solely rely on Egyptian natural gas, against partnering also with the Palestinians. 
A labourer works at the construction site of Dorad, a private power plant in the southern city of Ashkelon May 17, 2012. Israel Electric Corp (IEC), which is responsible for nearly every aspect of electricity from running power plants to connecting households, simply cannot keep up with growing demand.The state-owned utility just lost natural gas supplies from neighbouring Egypt and fuel costs are soaring. Reserves are low and capacity insufficient and the government, under pressure from massive cost-of-liv
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Every so often, Egypt’s supply of natural gas to Israel makes the headlines. Most of the people involved in the deal have already been put on trial in Egypt, including former Energy Minister Sameh Fahmy. During former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s trial, he faced sharp accusations of being behind a dark and corrupt plot to sell Egypt’s natural resources off to private buyers. How surprising is that? There’s a lot of money in natural gas, along with passions, politics and complex international relations between the Israeli and Egyptian leaderships, both past and present. If we add the icy peace between the two countries to this mix, we find that big money could link powerful moneyed and government interests, even when they are otherwise divided by diplomatic and international disputes.

This week, on Sept. 10, the protocol of testimony to the police by the former chairman of the Electric Company Eli Landau was published for the first time. Landau was investigated regarding the gas deal with Egypt eight years ago, but only now has his testimony been revealed in full. It provides additional insight into an episode in which moneyed and government interests led Israel into an agreement that benefited them personally, rather than serving Israel’s future. In the natural gas deal, decision-makers led by then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ignored many of the risks that hovered over Israel.

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