Egypt’s energy companies have terminated a long-term deal to supply Israel with gas after the cross-border pipeline sustained months of sabotage since a revolt last year, a stakeholder in the deal said on Sunday.And judging by the sound and fury emanating from Israel the move was hardly expected:
Ampal-American Israel Corporation, a partner in the East Mediterreanean Gas Company (EMG), which operates the pipeline, said the Egyptian companies involved had notified EMG they were “terminating the gas and purchase agreement”.
The company said in a statement that the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation and Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company had notified them of the decision, adding that “EMG considers the termination attempt unlawful and in bad faith, and consequently demanded its withdrawal”.Suddenly Israel may have bigger things to worry about that whether or not to leak its Iran invasion plas on national TV:
It said EMG, Ampal, and EMG’s other international shareholders were “considering their options and legal remedies as well as approaching the various governments”.
Before the sabotage, Egypt supplied about 40 percent of Israel’s natural gas, which is the country’s main energy source.
Israeli officials have said the country was at risk of facing summer power outages due to energy shortages.Furthermore, if the Egyptian move is indeed an escalation in strategic alliance shifts in the region, it could have truly huge implications:
Companies invested in the Israeli-Egyptian venture have taken a hit from numerous explosions of the cross-border pipeline and are seeking compensation from the Egyptian government of billions of dollars.
Ampal and two other companies have sought $8 billion in damages from Egypt for not safeguarding their investment.
The Egyptian decision is a potential blow to the country’s ties with Israel, already tested by the toppling of Israeli ally President Hosni Mubarak a year ago.
Egypt was the first of two Arab countries to sign a peace trety with Israel, in 1979, followed by Jordan in 1994.a
Which means add one more election to the already surging roster of short-term catalysts now including France, Greece, Germany and, as of yesterday, the Netherlands: Moussa, a self-described liberal nationalist whose main election rivals are Islamists, also said Egypt needed a president with lobbying skills to work effectively with the Islamist-dominated parliament and other institutions after decades of autocratic government.
Egypt’s presidential vote that starts on May 23-24 will mark the final stage of a transition to civilian rule from generals who took charge after Hosni Mubarak was ousted last year.Unfortunately for Israel, either outcome will likely be a choice between a rock and a hard place, as the country appears to be rapidly alienating its one core catalytic long-term ally in the region.
Moussa, 75, said the national security council, to be chaired by the president, would include senior cabinet ministers plus top military officers. It would have a broad national security brief, he told a news conference.
“It has to consider all issues pertaining to national security and not only issues of defence or war, etc, but issues like water, issues like relations with neighbours,” said Moussa, a former head of the Arab League.
“(The council) will be a power house on those issues of major priority for the national life,” he added.