Steinitz: Our natural resources belong to us

Finance minister brushes aside threats and "scare tactics" of Israeli fossil fuel exploration companies worried about state royalty payments.

By ADRIAN FILUT / GLOBES
November 9, 2010 07:28
1 minute read.
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz

311_steinitz is feeling cross. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

 
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Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz on Monday defended the Sheshinski Committee and dismissed threats by Noble Energy Inc. and Israeli oil and gas exploration companies.

“The Sheshinski Committee is due to submit its interim report by mid-November,” he told the Knesset Finance Committee.

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“This is a macroeconomic issue for the years ahead, especially if it turns out that there are discoveries worth hundreds of millions of dollars that will affect the fate of the State of Israel.

“This is not Israeli citizens that they have no right to what the citizens of the Netherlands and Norway enjoy. Citizens of the US, a free and capitalist market without equal, benefit from the country’s natural resources; shouldn’t Israel’s citizens benefit? It’s simply brazenness.

“Moreover, the claim about retro-activity is an insult to the intelligence. There was no such thing. No country in the world that distinguishes between future and current discoveries...

“The debate should be meticulous and matter of fact. Don’t threaten us. I see circumstances for turning the issue of left and right, and see articles about threats that Iran and Lebanon will soon find gas and are already capturing the European market – when they haven’t even begun to look and are four to five years away from doing so.

“Another thing that I don’t want to happen: all kinds of scares about international courts and all kinds of fears that foreign investors will flee Israel. When all is said and done, the Land of Israel belongs to the People of Israel, including its natural treasures, and not to foreign investors. Don’t come to us with scaremongering,” Steinitz said.

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