PM: Gas Deal ‘Necessary for Security of Israel’

YERUSHALAYIM -
An aeriel view of the Israeli gas rig 'Tamar' situated about 80 km off the Israeli northern coast. Tamar was the first large-scale hydrocarbon resource discovered in international waters and claimed by Israel. After more than four years of drilling the flow of natural gas from the Tamar gas field has begun. Photo by Albatross Aerial photography/Nobel Energy/FLASH90
An aeriel view of the Israeli gas rig ‘Tamar’ situated about 50 miles off the Israeli northern coast. (Albatross Aerial Photography/Nobel Energy/Flash90)

Israel needs to develop its gas resources – and complete the deal specifically to develop the Leviathan gas field, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said in a statement to the High Court Monday. The statement came in response to a request by the court that the government defend its position in the wake of five lawsuits to halt the deal to develop the gas field.

Among the many groups involved in the lawsuits are environmental organizations, political parties, consumer rights groups, and gas exploration firms. The lawsuits claim that the deal to develop Leviathan that the government signed with Noble Energy and Delek Drilling should be dumped for a variety of reasons – because it will endanger the ecosystem of the Mediterranean, and thus Israel, because the licensees are not paying the government enough, because exporting gas as the companies wish to do will jeopardize Israeli security, and other reasons.

But security was the main argument posed by Netanyahu in his affidavit to the court. “Any deal in the development of the gas fields will lead to severe damage to Israel’s security, and to its foreign relations,” Netanyahu said. “Any alternative to the current plan is theoretical and untenable.”

“I believe that without the framework we have developed Israel’s security and economy will we damaged, and we will lose out on the opportunity to strengthen our status in the region and the world,” he added.