Government approves re-drafted gas deal

Controversial deal finally passes in cabinet vote, expected to be implemented after Supreme Court's objections addressed.

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Ari Soffer,

Israeli Tamar gas rig
Israeli Tamar gas rig
Flash 90

The Israeli government officially approved an altered version of the natural gas deal, after the deal's previous incarnation was controversially vetoed by the Supreme Court.

Under the new agreement, a clause forbidding subsequent governments from changing the deal for 10 years has been scrapped That clause has been replaced instead with a compromise text, which would mandate compensation to the US-led consortium purchasing the rights over the Leviathan natural gas field in the Mediterranean, in the event that the deal was indeed changed by any future Israeli government.

Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz announced the compromise last Wednesday.

Speaking at the start of the government cabinet meeting this morning, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu repeated his position that the immediate implementation of the agreement was crucial to Israel's economy.

"Today, the government will approve the amended gas outline. The new agreement incorporates the comments that we received from the Supreme Court," Netanyahu told minister. "The important thing now is not to delay, to advance toward bringing the gas that brings with it tremendous new resources for Israel's people – in social welfare, education, health and – in effect – in every aspect of life.

"I think that this is a very important – even historic – step for the Israeli economy, especially the people and we will use this gift that nature has granted us for the benefit of the state and its citizens."

Netanyahu has previously warned that efforts to stymie or delay the deal would result in potential customers giving up in frustration and turning to other gas-producing countries instead - many of whom are overtly hostile to Israel.








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