In an unexpected but awkward move, Egypt has cancelled a natural gas deal with Israel without citing any reason. It is appalling and awful indeed. In 2005, a deal was reached between the Egyptian and Israeli governments as part of a peace deal and according to which Egypt committed to providing 7 billion cubic meters of the country’s gas to the Israeli market at least for 20 years. There was also an option kept in the agreement according to which if the Israeli need for gas increased, Egypt might increase the supply as well.
Ampal-American Israel Corporation was operating the gas pipeline and said on Sunday that Egyptian companies involved in the project have notified Mediterranean Gas Company (EMG) that they were revoking all the agreements. The decision is termed as the sheer violation of not only the agreement, but also the rules and regulations. All the share holders and companies involved in the business have been weighing different options to proceed against the government for violation of the agreement. They are also mulling different legal options against the government and companies responsible for the deal.
During the era of Hosni Mubarak, Egypt had cordial and warm relations with Israel and both the countries signed different agreements of mutual interests as well. Shortly after Mubarak was ousted in February last year in the wake of the popular uprising against his rule, different political parties in Egypt started questioning different deals with Israel. Israel is the neighboring country of Egypt and Mubarak had always sided with Israel whether it was a conflict withor other Arab countries. After the revolution, leadership of Muslim Brotherhood, one of the conservative and largest political parties of Egypt, assured to keep all Mubarak’s time agreements with Israel intact.
However, the gas pipeline between both the countries has never been safe since the ouster of long-serving dictator Hosni Mubarak. It has been attacked more than 14 times since the uprising. The country was fulfilling around 40 percent of Israel’s energy needs at fair price. Now as the country has cancelled the deal, Israel may face severe summer power outages owing to the energy shortages. The natural gas is said to be the country’s main energy source and it is vital for Israel to keep the agreement alive.
Problem with Egypt is that people’s revolution has actually been hijacked by the powerful military of the country. The military needs an enemy to keep itself relevant in the changing scenario, so the generals might be using cancellation of the natural gas deal to muster popular support in their favor. The response from Muslim Brotherhood and other political parties of the country on cancellation of the gas deal is yet to be seen.