Ya'alon: Gas deal keeping IDF out of Gaza

Former IDF chief warns of risks in deal now being negotiated with British Gas and the PA.

October 21, 2007 09:11
1 minute read.
Ya'alon: Gas deal keeping IDF out of Gaza

yaalon 224.88. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


The prospect of a major natural gas transaction with British Gas (BG) and the Palestinians could be a factor in the government's refusal to authorize an extensive, Defensive Shield II-style ground operation against terrorist infrastructure in the Gaza Strip, former IDF chief of staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Moshe Ya'alon said in an article published this weekend on the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs Web site. According to Ya'alon, British Gas and its local partners - the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian-owned Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC) - are currently negotiating to sell Israel large quantities of natural gas from a reserve BG discovered off the Gaza coast in 2000. The gas deposit comprises almost 1.4 trillion cubic feet and is valued at some $4 billion. Ya'alon argued that in addition to providing a motive not to send the IDF into Gaza to address Kassam rocket and mortar attacks perpetrated by terror groups against Israel, the natural gas deal presented other risks for Israel: First, the money from the purchase would most likely wind up in the hands of terror organizations rather than the impoverished Palestinian population. Second, he said, groups such as the Islamic Jihad might be prompted to attack any gas installation belonging to a company selling to Israel. Meanwhile, Ya'alon wrote, the British appear to have made British Gas negotiations with Israel a cornerstone of their Middle East policy. Ya'alon quoted a report published in the Arabic Al-Quds newspaper in September that said the UK saw Gaza's natural gas reserves as "central to 10 Downing Street's 'economic road map' for the Middle East region." Ya'alon added that Tony Blair - as former prime minister and Quartet Middle East envoy - believes that the Palestinian Authority's revenue from the natural gas sale - which could total over $1b. - could jump-start the dragging Palestinian economy and ultimately help move the peace process forward. The former IDF chief called the belief of British officials that any money from the gas sale could bypass Hamas by being deposited in international bank accounts "mistaken." He also disagreed with an Israeli proposal to pay for the gas in goods and services, saying that any gas transaction with the Palestinian Authority would, "by definition involve Hamas." "Hamas will either benefit from the royalties or it will sabotage the project and launch attacks against Fatah, the gas installations, Israel - or all three," Ya'alon wrote.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Jisr az-Zarq
April 3, 2014
Residents of Jisr az-Zarqa beckon Israel Trail hikers to enjoy their town