After Al-Sisi opened the very large Zohr gas field about two weeks ago the newspapers celebrated and announced the news that Egypt will achieve gas self-sufficiency this year by means of the Zohr, North Alexandria, Nawras, and Atoll gas fields. The Egyptian citizens lived this dream until they awoke to a nightmare where Netanyahu is announcing that Israel is celebrating after signing a historical agreement with Egypt that stipulates Egypt will import gas from Israel for 10 years. The imported gas agreement is worth $15 billion and these billions will be added to the Israeli treasury in order to be spent on education, health services, and welfare for Israeli citizens.
Of course it was no coincidence that Netanyahu announced this great news to the Israeli people on the anniversary of President Anwar Sadat’s visit to Jerusalem, as such an agreement poses a new victory for Israel, no less significant than its victory in 1967 and the signing of the peace treaty. In my opinion, they are crowning their victories with this latest victory, as a result of which they control energy in Egypt and the key to the energy tap is placed in their hands. They can turn it off whenever they please. Whoever controls the energy can suffocate the states that live under its mercy and can control the decisions of these states.
This is a major crime committed against Egypt as a state and against its people. This gas is actually Egyptian gas that was seized by Israel either without the ruling government’s knowledge or in collusion with it. Instead of admitting to this crime and being ashamed of it, the government’s mouthpieces and corrupt media came up with justifications and excuses more criminal and shameless than the act itself. Some examples include but are not limited to the claims that the government has nothing to do with the Israeli gas import deal, overlooking the fact that the government facilitated the deal and prepared a draft bill allowing the private sector to import gas from abroad and sell it in the local market. Of course, the corrupt parliament, which does as the government desires and was formed under its watchful eye, approved the bill. It is foolish to make such claims when everyone knows that no private company can import anything without first obtaining government approval. Moreover, where would an unnamed company that has never operated in this field before, come up with $15 billion from to pay the Israelis?
Another justification included claims that economic interests dictate relations between countries and that there is no problem importing gas, even from an enemy, as long as it serves Egypt’s interests. However, those making these claims forgot that a country’s interests cannot be served by their enemy, and that from a purely national security standpoint, it is a strategic mistake to link Egypt’s energy security to Israel, which can stop importing gas to Egypt if any conflict between the two countries arises.
The most absurd justification is the claim that Egypt is seeking to turn into a regional centre for energy and that the gas market has become available and open to any private company. No one bothered to mention what happened to the natural gas self-sufficiency claims made two weeks ago and ask why Egypt is importing gas when it has one of the largest gas fields, the Zohr gas field, in addition to the fields discovered in Egyptian regional waters and in the western and eastern deserts.
These mouthpieces also failed to mention why Egypt is importing gas specifically from Israel, especially since there are several alternatives, such as Algerian, Iraqi or Russian gas.
However, what is most astounding is the strange silence of the Egyptian government regarding this suspicious agreement, compared to the historical celebrations in Tel Aviv. Of course these celebrations are completely understandable given the financial, strategic, and moral benefits the agreement will grant Israel. Israel never dreamt of such benefits, even during the rule of Hosni Mubarak, their strategic treasure. What we cannot understand or accept is the fact that the corrupt Egyptian media is celebrating this agreement, despite the fact that such an agreement is the most prominent manifestation of betrayal and treachery, and the secret to the link between Egypt’s energy security and Israel’s gas.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.