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Israel's natural gas cartel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's adamance in pursuing a deal for exploiting Israel's natural gas, despite it being roundly criticized by regulators, appears to have tentacles to casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and the US-Israel Business Initiative.
An Israeli gas platform, controlled by a U.S.-Israeli energy group, is seen in the Mediterranean sea, some 15 miles (24 km) west of Israel's port city of Ashdod, in this file picture taken February 25, 2013. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has won more time to overcome a political hurdle after parliament postponed a vote on authorising the government to secure a deal on developing Israel's natural gas fields. Picture taken February 25, 2013. REUTERS/Amir Cohen/Files - RTX1IDQQ

“You can quote me: I don’t give a damn.” It would seem that this succinct phrase directed toward participants at the Electricity Authority session (Aug. 6), convened to depose Chairwoman Orit Farkash-HaCohen, sums up Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s conduct concerning the natural gas issue — an issue that is worth hundreds of billions of dollars.

Netanyahu’s disdain was immediately directed at Deputy Attorney General Avi Licht, who warned against the legal implications of deposing Farkash-HaCohen and appointing a replacement without tender. Her sins were in warning that Netanyahu’s natural gas plan would result in a steep rise in domestic utility bills and her refusal to approve the natural gas contracts with the Tamar gas field cartel. Now, it turns out that Netanyahu’s contempt had also been directed at Licht’s boss, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein. In a letter to the state comptroller, Weinstein remarked that Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, the prime minister’s yes man, had promised him that the incumbent regulators' status would not be hurt by the planned Electricity Authority reforms.

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