Israel, PA to Set Up Gas Pipeline for Gaza

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 aerial view of the Israeli gas rig Tamar, situated off the Israeli northern coast. (Albatross Aerial photography/Nobel Energy/Flash90)

Israel and the Palestinian Authority will work to set up a natural gas pipeline for Gaza. The decision comes after a joint Israel-PA panel examined ways to supply electricity to energy-challenged Gaza.

The government last week approved the deal, which has been under negotiation for months. It comes as part of the arrangement signed last week by Israel and the PA to forgive a portion of the Authority’s debt to the Israel Electric Company. The IEC is to accept a single payment of NIS 570 million, with an unspecified sum to be broken up in 48 additional installments. Interest and penalties on the NIS 2 billion overall debt have been forgiven.

Israeli and PA officials plan to present the arrangement to the council of donors to the PA, which is set to meet in New York at the end of September. The officials will ask the donor states to fund part or all of the project.

In addition to the IEC arrangement, Israel and the PA have signed a number of other economic agreements, including an agreement on postal services with the PA, and the construction of a 3G data network in PA-controlled areas of Yehudah and Shomron.