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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Olmert-Peretz-Livni government to give PA $1 billion

The Times of London is reporting that the Olmert-Peretz-Livni government is on the verge of signing a $4 billion deal that would have Israel purchasing natural gas from BG Group, a British natural resources company over the course of the next fifteen years. BG Group is the former owner of British Gas. The natural gas would come from a gas field that is off the Gaza coast and that is the sole natural resource of the 'Palestinian Authority.' If the deal goes through, the 'Palestinians' would receive $1 billion in royalties over the life of the deal.
Representatives from the British energy company are scheduled next week to meet a team of negotiators chosen by the Israeli Cabinet to thrash out a 15-year contract. Despite the violence in Gaza, the Israeli Foreign Ministry has insisted that it wants to conclude a deal “as soon as possible”. [Please note that this deal is the responsibility of foreign minister Tzipi Feigele Livni. CiJ]

It would enable BG Group, the former owner of British Gas, to begin to develop an offshore field that is the Palestine Authority’s only natural resource. The move would mark an unprecedented milestone in Middle East relations. There would be enough gas to provide 10 per cent of Israel’s annual energy requirement, and the Palestinians would receive total royalties of $1 billion. Sources in the Middle East note that the sensitive talks could be derailed at any time by the acute political tension that surrounds the deal.

However, Nigel Shaw, the BG Group vice-president in the region, said: “We are making progress. There are commercial issues to be completed and we also require bilateral agreement between the two governments to get this project across the line. But this is a chance for greater economic prosperity in Palestine and that is only good for peace.”
I don't know what makes Mr. Shaw think that $1 billion would not be used to buy weapons, but I suppose that's not his concern. It ought to be our government's concern, but with Ehud K. Olmert on the ropes and desperate to clutch at a straw to keep him in office, he is going for a deal that will please the left and endanger Israel's security. Feigele is too stupid to understand what the agreement means. But former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon understood....
The signing of heads of terms would mark an amazing turnaround, given the political and legal disputes that have dogged the project since BG Group discovered the Gaza Marine field in 2000. It holds one trillion cubic feet of gas, the equivalent of 150 million barrels of oil, equivalent to a large North Sea field.

Six years ago Ariel Sharon, the Israeli Prime Minister at the time, vowed that Israel would never buy gas from its neighbour. The project also was held up by a legal challenge in the Israeli Supreme Court to establish whether the Palestinians had any right to the discovery. Last year BG Group was close to signing a deal to pump the gas to Egypt before Tony Blair intervened and asked the company to give Israel a second chance. Three weeks ago the Israeli Cabinet approved a proposal by Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister, to buy gas from the Palestinian Authority. The Cabinet recognised the need for new energy sources to feed Israel’s rapidly growing economy.
But here's the biggest farce in the whole thing:
Israeli defence authorities want the Palestinians to be paid in goods and services and insist that no money go to the Hamas-controlled Government.
Someone needs to tell these baboons that it's the British who are going to pay the royalties to the 'Palestinians' and not the Israelis. The British are not going to shut off the money pipeline every time the 'Palestinians' misbehave. If Israel goes through with this deal, we give up any control we have over the funding of the 'Palestinian Authority.'

I'd also love to know which Israeli brokers are getting commissions for this deal (I've dabbled in trying to put together these kinds of deals so I know how they work) and how much they are kicking back to Ehud Korruption Olmert.


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