Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz on Tuesday slammed the
recommendations of the Zemach Committee which call for allocating up to 50
percent of the country’s natural gas reserves for export. The committee
recommended maintaining 450 billion cubic meters of gas for domestic use, enough
to last the country about 25 years.
“The decision on the duration of time
in which Israel will benefit from its gas determines directly how much gas is
kept for [domestic] consumption,” Peretz said. “The decision whether to maintain
enough gas for 20 years or more is not an economic decision, but an ideological
and public policy decision.”
Noting that Israel’s reserves make up only
0.3 percent of those in the entire world, the minister stressed that the country
must take care of its own needs first.
The amount allocated to Israeli
citizens should therefore be 600 billion cu. m., not 450 billion cu. m. as has
been suggested by the Zemach Committee, he said.