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WASHINGTON – The recent Egyptian cancellation of a contract to deliver natural gas by pipeline to Israel is prompting concern over how the Jewish state will be able to meet its future energy needs without causing further discord in the Middle East, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
Following the 14th time that the pipeline extending from the Sinai Peninsula to Israel to meet critical energy needs was sabotaged, the Egyptian government decided to cancel further deliveries, citing what Cairo claims are unfair prices and the lack of payments on the existing contract.
A number of observers had seen the continued flow of natural gas as critical for the enforcement of the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.
However, Israel and the interim Egyptian government of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, or SCAF, are making an effort to downplay their differences even though the cut-off of energy to Israel is popular across the political spectrum in Egypt.
It has raised the concern of where Israel will be able to obtain an uninterrupted flow of natural gas to meet long-term energy needs. Attention once again is focusing on the ongoing dispute between Israel and neighboring Lebanon over maritime drilling rights off both countries in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
The discovery of new reserves and the conflict over rival claims between the two countries could become an unexpected crisis flashpoint. In addition, sources say, one of reserves from the Tamar field will not come on-stream for another year.
Already, Israel reportedly is experiencing electricity shortages and that could worsen during the summer months. Israel also is working on bringing in a specialized regasification vessel to deliver liquefied natural gas until Tamar becomes operational.
And Israel is looking to a recent agreement with Cyprus for other offshore oil field access, but this is causing a dispute with Turkey, whose relations with Israel now are at an all-time low. Turkey apparently is laying claim to certain portions of the maritime fields which are off north Cyprus.
When Israel occupied the Sinai Peninsula, it had developed oil and natural gas fields which analysts said could have given Israel virtually unlimited energy.
Israel no longer occupies the Sinai but Tel Aviv recently has revived the claim that elements of Hamas from the Gaza Strip and al-Qaida allied with Bedouin tribesmen in the Sinai increasingly are using the landmass to launch attacks against Israel.
In turn, the inability of the Egyptian military to prevent these attacks has prompted increasing speculation that Israel could reenter the Sinai and recapture the oil and natural gas fields it developed.
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