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Government Blasted Over Tamar Delays

Eilat-Ashkelon chairman Amos Yaron blasted Israeli officials for being unable to make decisions and causing delays.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 9/14/2011, 7:01 PM

MK Uzi Landau
MK Uzi Landau
Yoni Kempinski

Eilat-Ashkelon Pipeline Company (EAPC) chairman Amos Yaron blasted Israel officials Wednesday saying an inability to make decisions was delaying development of the Tamar gas field until 2013.

"Israel has two ministries that know how to make and implement decisions: the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Defense. The other ministries are incapable of making decisions and implementing anything," Yaron, who previously served as director general of the Ministry of Defense, said.

Ministry of Environmental Protection director general Alona Shefer and Minister of National Infrastructures Uzi Landau's chief of staff Smadar Bat-Adam slammed Yaron's remarks.

"When Amos is in the field, everyone is scared," said Bat-Adam. She said private power company Dorad Energy, in which EAPC is a shareholder, secured financing thanks to Landau's efforts.

Shefer hinted at an oil leak from EAPC's pipeline in Nahal Zin Nature Reserve in the Negev, which caused environmental damage.

"You (EAPC) are a kind of extraterritorial company for whom environmental laws do not apply and can do what you want. Does this enable you to do things cheaply?"

Yaron replied, "EAPC applies all environmental laws. I wish that this country treated the elderly like we treat the stones in Nahal Zin. It seems to me that the Ministry of Environmental Protection's demands are disproportionate, and I'm not the only one to think this."

"My remark about operational ability means that ministries are built on responsibility but not authority and the time has come to correct this. I speak from experience as a director general of the Ministry of Defense. This isn't a matter of a personal opinion. It's impossible to ignore the fact that the government needed ten years to decide this. So why are you jumping about?" Yaron added.

The war of words over delays in developing gas fields discovered between Israel and Cyprus comes as Israeli consumers pay increased electricity prices to cover increased costs incurred by the Israel Electric Company following a cessastion of natural gas supply from Cairo.

Egypt's gas pipeline in the Sinai, which supplies Israel and Jordan, has been bombed five times in recent months.