Egyptian Court Allows Export of Gas to Israel

Cairo Court for Urgent Cases overturned a ruling that banned exportation of Egyptian natural gas to Israel for a reduced price.

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Gil Ronen,

Natural gas well
Natural gas well
Israel News Photo: file

The Court for Urgent Cases in Cairo overturned on Thursday a ruling made by the Administrative Court to ban the export of Egyptian natural gas to Israel. According to Egyptian media reports, the ruling was based on a petition from Egypt’s Prime Minister and the Ministers of Petroleum and Finance, which argued that the question of gas sales to Israel was an economic transaction that did not require approval of Parliament.

Egypt currently provides reduced-price gas to several countries, including Israel.

The Administrative Court had overturned a January 2009 ruling by the Egyptian Supreme Court in favor of the sales. The Court for Urgent Cases in Cairo upheld the Supreme Court’s ruling, arguing that the export of gas was under the jurisdiction of the state and that therefore, neither the courts nor the State Council could intervene.

Protracted legal battle
An Egyptian committee recommended last month that Egypt stop exporting natural gas for the reduced price.

The committee's ruling was part of a protracted legal battle in Egypt against the sale of gas to Israel.

The Egyptian government argued that Egypt is required to sell Israel natural gas under the 1979 peace treaty between the two countries.

Israel and Egypt agreed in 2005 that Egypt would supply Israel with 1.7 billion cubic meters of gas each year for 15 years. The agreement has created controversy in Egypt, where opponents say it is unfavorable to Egypt. Opposition to the deal grew during the three-week-long Cast Lead counter-terrorism operation in Gaza.