Legal Opinion Requires Legislation on Gas Exports

YERUSHALAYIM -

The Knesset position that it must have the final say in determining the country’s natural gas exports policy was given legal firepower on Sunday when the parliamentary body’s legal counsel submitted an opinion to the High Court refuting the government’s claim to ministerial authority in the matter.

While the Knesset legal counsel acknowledged that the law grants a minister authority to make decisions in concrete cases, he argued that it does not empower him to set a long-term policy with far-reaching consequences.

Regarding the fundamental multigenerational character of gas exports, it is highly doubtful if paragraph 33 of the law can serve as the source of authority for establishing a “preliminary arrangement” for this matter by the executive branch.

Even if there were no formal legal impediment to accepting the government’s decision on the basis of paragraph 33, the matter ought to be regulated through detailed, comprehensive legislation.

The opinion was sent to Labor Party chairwoman MK Shelly Yachimovich, MK Reuven Rivlin (Likud), Knesset Economic Affairs Committee chairman MK Avishai Braverman (Labor), and MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism).