Welders working on a gas pipeline (archive)
Welders working on a gas pipeline (archive)Israel News Photo: (file)
Israel completed a new pipeline into Gaza on Tuesday. It is intended to facilitate Israel's ongoing supply of fuel and natural gas to the civilian population of the Hamas-controlled region.

Israel supplies cooking and heating fuel according to PA demands.

The work on the energy pipeline was carried out in accordance with decisions made by the Israeli Government, following relevant security assessments. The IDF's Civil Administration coordinated the project with representatives of the Palestinian Authority. Construction was performed by both Israeli and PA crews.

In a statement from the IDF Spokesman's Office regarding the new pipeline, the army said it "will continue to work in order to improve the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip."

Since the mid-January conclusion of the counterterrorist campaign in Gaza, Operation Cast Lead, Israel has transferred 40.17 million liters of fuel to Gaza. Israel supplies cooking and heating fuel according to PA demands, exempting those supplies from Israeli sanctions on the jihadist Hamas regime currently controlling the region.

Under current circumstances, Israel tankers bring gas supplies to the Nachal Oz crossing into Gaza, where it is pumped into underground tanks on the PA side.

Israel's Energy Supplies

Israel itself obtains the vast majority of its energy needs from other countries. It has been importing significant natural gas supplies from Egypt, following a 2005 deal which went into effect in 2008. Liquid natural gas is pumped from El-Arish, in the Sinai Peninsula, to Ashkelon, on Israel's Mediterranean coast, by way of a 100-kilometer (63 miles) undersea pipeline. The deal with Egypt was to be in effect for 15 years.

However, the decision to depend so extensively on Egypt came before a dramatic discovery of massive natural gas deposits off the Haifa coast. The gas fields are expected to meet Israel's energy needs for 20 years hence once they are developed, with a potential value of $15.5 billion. Israel also currently pumps natural gas from another deposit located off the coast of Ashkelon.

The Palestinian Authority also sought to develop gas deposits in the Mediterranean, off the coast of Gaza, several years ago. Their plans involved handing development of the Gaza Marine Field, with $3.3 billion of natural gas reserves, to the British multinational BG Group. However, Israel, which was to commit to purchase surplus fuel from Gaza, scuttled the project to prevent the Hamas regime from using the revenue to fund their anti-Israel terrorist activity.