High Court Rejects Knesset Claim to Final Word on Gas Policy

YERUSHALAYIM -
MK Reuven Rivlin (Likud) signed the petition to give Knesset final approval over gas policy. (Flash 90)
MK Reuven Rivlin (Likud) signed the petition to give Knesset final approval over gas policy. (Flash 90)

Israel’s High Court of Justice dismissed on Monday a petition filed by opposition leaders claiming that the Knesset should have the final say in setting Israel’s natural gas export policy, which is expected to have far-reaching economic consequences.

The ruling, which was not immediately explained by the seven-judge panel, follows a controversial June 23 Cabinet decision to limit exports to 40 percent of the country’s estimated reserves of natural gas. Previously, on August 5, the court issued an interim order freezing the government’s policy until a final decision could be made.

The petitioners argued that the new policy will affect future generations, including “our children and grandchildren,” making it an issue on which the elected representatives of the people must be the ultimate decision-makers.

Opposition leader Shelly Yacimovich (Labor), Economic Affairs Committee chairman Avishai Braverman (Labor), MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) and MK Reuven Rivlin (Likud-Beiteinu) were signatories to the petition. They were joined by environmental NGOand others.

In rebuttal, the state maintained that the urgency of the matter was such that further delays in the Knesset — which had already used its previous opportunities for delay — would be counter to the national interest. And since from a strictly legal perspective the government was fully empowered to the make the decision without Knesset approval, its decision should be allowed to stand.

President of the High Court Asher Gronis headed the panel that ruled on the government’s natural gas policy. (Flash 90)
President of the High Court Asher Gronis headed the panel that ruled on the government’s natural gas policy. (Flash 90)