Israel's natural gas.
(photo credit: MINISTRY OF NATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURES)
The government cannot finalize its natural gas deal behind closed doors in the security cabinet, Knesset Economics Committee chairman Eitan Cabel wrote in a letter to Economy Minister Arye Deri on Sunday, demanding that the latter appear before the panel.
Cabel’s letter came in light of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s reported plan to hold a security cabinet meeting on the gas deal on Monday, in which he would revoke Antitrust Commissioner David Gilo’s authority when it comes to ensuring there is sufficient competition in the natural gas market, and giving it to Deri.
“If the government thinks it can approve the gas deal far from the public’s eye in a closed cabinet meeting, it is mistaken,” the Zionist Union MK stated.
“If the economy minister thinks he can circumvent his requirement to consult with the [Knesset] Economics Committee before making a decision, he is mistaken,” Cabel added.
In his letter to Deri, Cabel highlighted article 52 of the Antitrust Law, which states that an economy minister may exempt an area from the Antitrust Commissioner’s authority for reasons of foreign or security policy – after consulting with the Knesset Economics Committee.
“Therefore, I expect that as long as you are considering taking authority from the antitrust commissioner, you will follow the law as it is written and consult with the Economics Committee openly and willingly,” he wrote.
Cabel added that the government must do what is good for Israeli citizens and not give in to political pressure, and Deri must address what is best for Israelis in the meeting.