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Shevat 29, 5769, 2/23/2009
I was fortunate to have been sent the following article, which touches on a little-known aspect of Egypt-Israel relations. And it calls for a more self-respecting attitude on the part of Israel's leaders when it comes to dealing with the Egyptian quasi-pharaonic regime. Enjoy.
Netanyahu should bring reciprocity to Egypt-Israel relations
Olmert opened the U.S. market for Egypt with the QIZ. Egypt rewards him by chocking the Israeli energy market with EMG. Its time for a change.
Since Ehud Olmert (as Minister of Trade and Industry) signed with his Egyptian counterpart Rachid Mohammad
Thus, the U.S. market is flooded with Egyptian textiles; the Egyptian treasury is two billion dollars richer every year and the Egyptian economy enjoys tens of thousands of new jobs. What does Israel get in return? Nothing except for the continued violation of Cairo’s commitment to sell natural gas to the Israeli market.
For years we warned against entrusting our energy needs with Egypt. Who in his right mind, we asked, would agree that one pipeline, which opens and shuts with one valve, and starts at El-Arish, will control our electricity production?
For almost a year now, these warnings are no longer a theory. Since the gas pipeline was inaugurated, there has not been one day of normal supply. Weeks of total shut down are followed by months of delivery at less than half the contracted quantity. Technical excuses are followed by "cultural explanations" of unexpected domestic demand during the month of Ramadan. Well, Ramadan is long over; Jordan, Syria and all other clients get their gas on schedule - all except the Israeli market.
Here, costly and polluting fuels are used instead of the promised and contracted Egyptian natural gas. And what does Olmert do? Nothing!
It is time for a change. It is time for less smiles and more firmness. It is time for reciprocity, and the one to demand it is the one who introduced the term into our regional politics: Benjamin Netanyahu.
Upon assuming office he should establish a new and long overdue norm in Egypt-Israel economic relations: "If you don’t give - you don’t receive."
Mordechai Eisenberg is chairman of The Movement for Fairness in Government