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War and Natural Gas: The Israeli Invasion and Gaza's Offshore Gas Fields

World  (tags: Israel, Gaza, Great Britian, British Gas, oil, USA, Bush, Ariel Sharon, TOny Blair, Palestine, Gaza Marine )

- 3423 days ago -
The issue of sovereignty over Gaza's gas fields is crucial. From a legal standpoint, the gas reserves belong to Palestine. The military invasion of the Gaza Strip by Israeli Forces bears a direct relation to the control and ownership of strategic...

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Blue Bunting (855)
Saturday January 10, 2009, 3:25 pm
The military invasion of the Gaza Strip by Israeli Forces bears a direct relation to the control and ownership of strategic offshore gas reserves.

This is a war of conquest. Discovered in 2000, there are extensive gas reserves off the Gaza coastline.

British Gas (BG Group) and its partner, the Athens based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC) owned by Lebanon's Sabbagh and Koury families, were granted oil and gas exploration rights in a 25 year agreement signed in November 1999 with the Palestinian Authority.

The rights to the offshore gas field are respectively British Gas (60 percent); Consolidated Contractors (CCC) (30 percent); and the Investment Fund of the Palestinian Authority (10 percent). (Haaretz, October 21, 2007).

The PA-BG-CCC agreement includes field development and the construction of a gas pipeline.(Middle East Economic Digest, Jan 5, 2001).

The BG licence covers the entire Gazan offshore marine area, which is contiguous to several Israeli offshore gas facilities. (See Map below). It should be noted that 60 percent of the gas reserves along the Gaza-Israel coastline belong to Palestine.

The BG Group drilled two wells in 2000: Gaza Marine-1 and Gaza Marine-2. Reserves are estimated by British Gas to be of the order of 1.4 trillion cubic feet, valued at approximately 4 billion dollars. These are the figures made public by British Gas. The size of Palestine's gas reserves could be much larger.

Who Owns the Gas Fields

The issue of sovereignty over Gaza's gas fields is crucial. From a legal standpoint, the gas reserves belong to Palestine.

The death of Yasser Arafat, the election of the Hamas government and the ruin of the Palestinian Authority have enabled Israel to establish de facto control over Gaza's offshore gas reserves.

British Gas (BG Group) has been dealing with the Tel Aviv government. In turn, the Hamas government has been bypassed in regards to exploration and development rights over the gas fields.

The election of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2001 was a major turning point. Palestine's sovereignty over the offshore gas fields was challenged in the Israeli Supreme Court. Sharon stated unequivocally that "Israel would never buy gas from Palestine" intimating that Gaza's offshore gas reserves belong to Israel.

In 2003, Ariel Sharon, vetoed an initial deal, which would allow British Gas to supply Israel with natural gas from Gaza's offshore wells. (The Independent, August 19, 2003)

The election victory of Hamas in 2006 was conducive to the demise of the Palestinian Authority, which became confined to the West Bank, under the proxy regime of Mahmoud Abbas.

In 2006, British Gas "was close to signing a deal to pump the gas to Egypt." (Times, May, 23, 2007). According to reports, British Prime Minister Tony Blair intervened on behalf of Israel with a view to shunting the agreement with Egypt.

The following year, in May 2007, the Israeli Cabinet approved a proposal by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert "to buy gas from the Palestinian Authority." The proposed contract was for $4 billion, with profits of the order of $2 billion of which one billion was to go the Palestinians.

Tel Aviv, however, had no intention on sharing the revenues with Palestine. An Israeli team of negotiators was set up by the Israeli Cabinet to thrash out a deal with the BG Group, bypassing both the Hamas government and the Palestinian Authority:

"Israeli defence authorities want the Palestinians to be paid in goods and services and insist that no money go to the Hamas-controlled Government." (Ibid, emphasis added)

The objective was essentially to nullify the contract signed in 1999 between the BG Group and the Palestinian Authority under Yasser Arafat.

Under the proposed 2007 agreement with BG, Palestinian gas from Gaza's offshore wells was to be channeled by an undersea pipeline to the Israeli seaport of Ashkelon, thereby transferring control over the sale of the natural gas to Israel.

The deal fell through. The negotiations were suspended:

"Mossad Chief Meir Dagan opposed the transaction on security grounds, that the proceeds would fund terror". (Member of Knesset Gilad Erdan, Address to the Knesset on "The Intention of Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to Purchase Gas from the Palestinians When Payment Will Serve Hamas," March 1, 2006, quoted in Lt. Gen. (ret.) Moshe Yaalon, Does the Prospective Purchase of British Gas from Gaza's Coastal Waters Threaten Israel's National Security? Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, October 2007)

Israel's intent was to foreclose the possibility that royalties be paid to the Palestinians. In December 2007, The BG Group withdrew from the negotiations with Israel and in January 2008 they closed their office in Israel.(BG website).

Invasion Plan on The Drawing Board

The invasion plan of the Gaza Strip under "Operation Cast Lead" was set in motion in June 2008, according to Israeli military sources:

"Sources in the defense
establishment said Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed the Israel
Defense Forces to prepare for the operation over six months ago [June
or before June] , even as Israel was beginning to negotiate a ceasefire
agreement with Hamas."(Barak Ravid,

Blue Bunting (855)
Saturday January 10, 2009, 3:33 pm
Gaza and Energy Geopolitics

The military occupation of Gaza is intent upon transferring the sovereignty of the gas fields to Israel in violation of international law.

What can we expect in the wake of the invasion?

What is the intent of Israel with regard to Palestine's Natural Gas reserves?

A new territorial arrangement, with the stationing of Israeli and/or "peacekeeping" troops?

The militarization of the entire Gaza coastline, which is strategic for Israel?

The outright confiscation of Palestinian gas fields and the unilateral declaration of Israeli sovereignty over Gaza's maritime areas?

If this were to occur, the Gaza gas fields would be integrated into Israel's offshore installations, which are contiguous to those of the Gaza Strip. (See Map 1 above).

These various offshore installations are also linked up to Israel's energy transport corridor, extending from the port of Eilat, which is an oil pipeline terminal, on the Red Sea to the seaport - pipeline terminal at Ashkelon, and northwards to Haifa, and eventually linking up through a proposed Israeli-Turkish pipeline with the Turkish port of Ceyhan.

Ceyhan is the terminal of the Baku, Tblisi Ceyhan Trans Caspian pipeline. "What is envisaged is to link the BTC pipeline to the Trans-Israel Eilat-Ashkelon pipeline, also known as Israel's Tipline." (See Michel Chossudovsky, The War on Lebanon and the Battle for Oil, Global Research, July 23, 2006)

Blue Bunting (855)
Saturday January 10, 2009, 6:51 pm
Israel begins new offensive as death toll tops 850
UN commissioner: Investigate Israel for 'war crimes'

Jhn Wzt (3)
Sunday January 11, 2009, 2:42 pm
interesting noted it
wonder if theres not a third party involved here thats after the offshore fields

Blue Bunting (855)
Sunday January 11, 2009, 2:58 pm
BG = British Gas ... third party?

I wonder why the Arabs aren't supporting the Palestinians; so many Arab countries are very, very wealthy ... and selfish, too.

Gregory S (257)
Sunday January 11, 2009, 9:41 pm
Thank you.

Barbara Tomlinson (431)
Sunday January 11, 2009, 10:20 pm
Jews don't "own the world" and they do not "make governments dance to their tune". RICH PEOPLE "own the world" and "make governments dance to their tune"; they can be Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, Atheist, or whatever. They can be of many different nationalities, many different ethnicities. Money means power in this world. There are families and dynasties and ingrown groups that have clawed their way to the top; some fall and are replaced by others. There is no secret group of "Jews", either religious Jews, or Ethnic Jews {people descended from Jews, who can be any race or nationality}; no such secret group which "controls" behind-the-scenes.

What the State of Israel is doing, as a ruthless, powerful and well-armed State, is bad enough. The United States of America, supports the State of Israel, allies with it, for its own global purposes. It appears to be advantageous for the GOVERNMENTS of both the U.S., and Israel, to work together as allies and keep their "foothold" for international MONEY, their CAPITAL, in the Arab World of the Middle East.
Many Jews in many countries, including some very prominent ones, have come out AGAINST what the State of Israel is doing. Many Jews WITHIN THE STATE OF ISRAEL ITSELF, have come out against these atrocities.
To say that "Jews in high places are in control of the entire world, responsible for all its evil", is in ITSELF, a form of the "blood libel".
To say that the State of Israel is working against all of humanity, not to mention the REAL interests of its OWN citizens to live in peace, freedom and justice, is NOT to be anti-Semitic.
It is important to keep our FACTS STRAIGHT, as well as our LANGUAGE STRAIGHT.

Marthe B (9)
Monday January 12, 2009, 12:29 am
Very interesting,thank you
Who knows what this invasion means,some perfectly know what they plan about energy in the region,and ordinary mortals will perhaps read about it in 50 years in history books!

Eric Straatsma (3802)
Monday January 12, 2009, 9:17 am

Blue Bunting (855)
Monday January 12, 2009, 2:32 pm
Khaleej Times,

Only the U.S. can Tame this Monster
"The buck stops in Washington. And please donít tell
me the Muslims with all their numbers, resources and oil wealth cannot
persuade the US to 
deal with the Frankenstein it has created. They can
ó if they really want that is! "

Blue Bunting (855)
Tuesday January 13, 2009, 2:25 pm
"Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert just said what out loud?" Ouch.

pete O (242)
Thursday January 15, 2009, 7:33 am
Brilliant find Blue - let us mess with our energy bills !

pete O (242)
Monday January 19, 2009, 8:45 am
to respond Bmutiny please check out Frank Chapman bg consortium chairman. on the web.Bg was sold by margaret thatcher back in the early eighties to a lord brown who was oisted due to his failure to provide adequate health and saftey measures for his employess - In the forset of multiculturalism snakes do wait and hide.

Blue Bunting (855)
Monday January 19, 2009, 3:24 pm
Here the opinion of a Hasidic Jew from my old neighborhood .I do not
entirely agree with him but it is refreshing to know that hate is not
genetic . watch?v=1p8YfDdIEJk&feature=related

This man redeems my faith in our humanity .

pete O (242)
Tuesday January 20, 2009, 2:08 am
We have a group over here also Dear blue they marched with us at london but they had to dress in civies just in case anyone confused them with the zion crew, who did appear and tried to caused some hassle - Our Hasidic friends of all had to be told to calm it down.

Blue Bunting (855)
Tuesday January 20, 2009, 2:43 pm
Courage to Refuse was founded following the publication of The Combatants Letter in 2002, by a group of 50 combat officers and soldiers. The initiators of the letter, Captain David Zonshein and Lieutenant Yaniv Itzkovits, officers in an elite unit, have served for four years in compulsory service, and another eight years as reserve soldiers, including long periods of active combat both in Lebanon and in the occupied territories.

During their reserve service in Gaza, in the midst of the second Intifada, the two realised that the missions confided to them as commanders in the IDF had in fact nothing to do with the defence of the State of Israel, but were rather intended to expand the colonies at the price of oppressing the local Palestinian population. Many of the commands issued to them were, in fact, harmful to the strategic interests of Israel.

Like all soldiers of the IDF, David and Yaniv were prepared to fight in order to protect their families back home. In January 2002 it became apparent to them that fighting in Gaza and in the West Bank would achieve the opposite result: by obeying orders they would not be protecting the lives of their dear ones. Although only young officers at the time, David and Yaniv understood what is today widely acknowledged by Israel's most decorated generals (including the current IDF Chief of Staff): The Occupation poses a threat to the security of Israel.

Finally, it was the unbearable pain and suffering inflicted upon millions of innocent civilians in the name of the "settlements" that had lead them to draft one of the most shocking documents ever written about the IDF. Over the years, their statement came to be known as The Combatant's Letter.

Video: Courage to Refuse Demonstration Jan 8th 2009

Over 300 protested with Courage to Refuse last Thursday in front of the ministry of Defense in Tel Aviv. The demonstrators carried signs and banners calling to stop the war in Gaza and calling the soldiers of the IDF to refuse to take part in it.

This demonstration followed one of the bloodiest weeks in the history of the conflict, during which the IDF killed dozens of children and hundreds of civilians.

The demonstration was covered by the popular Israeli channel 10 who followed Courage to Refuse activists in their preparations for the demonstration.

Up to date there are 7 IDF reservists who were summoned to this war and refused. One of them was already trialed to 14 days of imprisonment and the rest are pending military trials.
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