Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Post-revolution Egypt cuts gas to Israel

Egypt has repealed a 2005 gas export accord with Israel, which used to rely heavily on Egyptian natural gas to generate electricity.

The country used to be Tel Aviv’s strongest Arab ally during the roughly-30-year-long rule of former dictator Hosni Mubarak, who was deposed in a popular revolution in February 2011.

Press TV has conducted an interview with Ralph Schoenman, political commentator, to further discuss the issue. The following is a transcription of the interview.

Press TV: Give us your thoughts on the explanation given for canceling out the gas deal with Israel, and do you think this will scrap the 20-year deal altogether?

Schoenman: First of all, we have to understand that this gas deal was symbolic of the corruption and the total collusion between the Mubarak regime and the Zionist state under the dictate of American imperialism and there are many facets of this.

It is not only that the population mobilized around this corruption and this collusion with Israel and turned on Mubarak, but the population has been bombing the pipelines to such an extent that nothing has been delivered since March 5 through the constant popular interference and interruption of the gas flow itself.

It should be pointed out that the person who was, in fact, in charge of this gas arrangement with the Zionist state has been indicted in Spain and is due to be extradited to Egypt for trial because of the corruption involved and because of the violation of Egyptian law. This gas deal was among the principle sources of the popular rage against the regime of Hosni Mubarak.

Hussein Salem, the coauthor of [E-gas] and the close [confidant] of Mubarak was arrested in Spain and is facing extradition, as I say, to Egypt.

Bear in mind that the EMG has never made its prices public but it has now become known, and it has been documented in Wall Street Journal, that the prices that were being sold for this natural gas to Israel were 2 dollars per British Thermal Unit.

The price to Egyptian people for the same gas was 100 percent more, 4 dollars per BTU.

The Wall Street Journal states the big saying in Egypt is that we subsidized Israel while we are not subsidizing the people of Egypt.

The 2005 gas deal was a 20-year supply agreement and that yielded huge amounts of money for the Egyptian companies and huge benefits to the Israeli state. The contract calls for 7 billion cubic meters of natural gas to be offered to the Egyptian people at super profits, at super costs, yielding over 1 billion dollar to the companies which we shared amongst the public officials.

So this issue of cutting off natural gas to Israel has to do with the subjugation of Egypt and its dependency upon imperialism and its subordination to the interests of the Zionist state and that is part of the revolutionary struggle of the Egyptian people that is coming to ahead with the cancellation of this agreement.

It remains to be seen whether the SCAF, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, will respect the will of the Egyptian people because this revolutionary mobilization is only just beginning and its enormity to overthrow these policies of collusion and subjugation of the people of Egypt.

Press TV: In the buildup to this recent development, there were 14 attacks on the gas pipeline. I would like to know how the United States is going to react to this oil-predicament of their ally, Israel.

Schoenman: What the United States is doing is immediately providing alternative supply through various subordinates.

That is part of the response that is documented in [Arashava], the Israeli newspaper, that the shortfall will be made up by Norway, by Israeli corporation deals with European companies, and with the United States. The Italian company Microparian Marine contractor is building an offshore terminal to enable Israel to import natural gas from other sources.

Meanwhile, however, in the real world, the price of electricity to the Israeli public is going up enormously because, as you referenced, the bombing of the pipelines and the rebellion of the Egyptian people has virtually cut the supply that the Egyptians have been previously providing.

It is an expression of the crisis; imperialism will not resolve it. It will only inflame the Egyptian people and lead to the removal not only of Mubarak but the SCAF itself which is long overdue.

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