The gas fields controlled by the Israeli enemy in the Eastern Mediterranean, from which Egypt imports gas today, are Egyptian fields located in the Egyptian economic waters, as confirmed by many sources. This is clearly demonstrated by a quick measurement of distances using any tool available to the public, which means that the Egyptian government relinquished the Egyptian people's right to the Mediterranean Sea to Israel and then bought the gas at a high price. In addition to this, it established the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum with Israel, Greece, Greek Cyprus, Italy, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority, but did not include Syria, Lebanon, and Turkey. It then launched with its partners the founding framework to transform it into an international organisation to prevent the Turkish presence in the energy equation in the Mediterranean.
The Egyptian government provides three services at once to Israel in the context of this one matter alone. First, it relinquished the gas fields to Israel, bought gas from Israel, and protected its interests in the Mediterranean. There is no point in this case, to talk about the fact that the Turkish presence clashes with Israeli interests in the Mediterranean and at the same time serves the Egyptian interests. The Egyptian government essentially waived the rights of its people in the gas fields, and it was charged with guaranteeing the profits of the Israelis at the expense of the Egyptians' wealth.
I have previously written many articles that ponder Egyptian President Abdel-] Fattah Al-Sisi's policies of relinquishing Egyptian wealth and rights, such as the Nile waters, the two islands, and the gas fields, as well as the displacement of Egyptians from Egyptian Rafah and some areas in North Sinai. He also has a strong alliance with Israel, which was evident from the first moment of his coup and Israel's unprecedented celebration of him.
The automatic interpretation of all of these policies together is that Al-Sisi was and still is buying Israel's support for his coup in the international forums, leading to American acceptance through Israel. This interpretation is not without truth, but the price that Al-Sisi has paid exceeds what he needs. Either way, Israel will support him, regardless of the value of the Egyptian payments in exchange for its support, because getting rid of the Muslim Brotherhood rule, destroying the Arab revolutions, regaining control of the region and controlling its movements, and achieving the required level of predicting the future of the region is an existential strategic goal for Israel and it was achieved during Mubarak's rule. During that time, the price was paid by the Egyptians and Arabs, but it was less than what Al-Sisi is paying now.
While it is true that the gas fields issue and conceding them to the Israelis started in the Mubarak era, the total value of the services provided by the Egyptian regime to Israel multiplied with Al-Sisi to an unimaginable level. This is what makes Al-Sisi appear to be on a sacred mission to waste Egypt's wealth and give it to Israel forever. However, whatever the explanation, the result is the same, especially during Mubarak's rule, prices were paid to Israel and others in order to solidify the government's position.
The conclusion drawn from this is that the relationship is organic between the Palestinian issue and the other Arab issues. Israel's existential necessities call for the existence of dependent governments and the prevention of any Arab renaissance or the establishment of wise governance in any Arab country, especially in the central and neighbouring countries. It does not matter whether such prevention is in the form of ideological prevention or the dependency of the weak and needy. It is an Arab necessity as much as a Palestinian necessity to end this colonial situation.
The belief that addressing the Palestinian issue can be postponed until after an Arab power if built or until Palestine is formally or fundamentally conceded in exchange for real democracy is a pure delusion that many actors in the Arab Spring revolutions fell prey to. Israel's thinking is existential strategic thinking that does not depend on guarantees, as much as it relies on establishing facts on the ground. The most important fact that it is working to establish is its ability to control the surrounding environment and ensure potential transformations, and this does not come by allowing a real and fair transfer of power in neighbouring countries.
This article first appeared in Arabic in Arabi21 on 21 January 2020
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.