The Palestinian Authority (PA), Egypt and Hamas have made a breakthrough regarding the Gaza gas field, known as Gaza Marine, news reports revealed last week.
The Washington Post reported that Europe's race to secure alternatives to Russian energy supplies contributed to reviving the: "Long-forsaken Palestinian initiative to extract natural gas off the coast of the blockaded Gaza Strip."
Al-Araby Al-Jadeed disclosed that PA officials and Israelis have recently conducted intensive talks with Egyptians, who maintain contact with Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip.
Palestinian officials shared that operating Gaza Marine, which was ignored for over two decades, would offer a lifeline for the cash-strapped PA.
Hamas, according to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, is considered part of the deal among the PA, Israel and Egypt. The sides, which held talks in Egypt, discussed the development of the gas field, marking gas and the portion for each side.
The Washington Post revealed that the Gaza Marine project is worth $1.4 billion and will be finalised by February 2023. It expects the launch of gas production in March 2024.
It also wrote that Hamas and Israel, which have no relations: "Will need to be, at least tacitly, on board."
Zafer Milhem, chair of the Palestinian Energy and Natural Resources Authority, told The Washington Post: "We've been waiting for this development and the prosperity that comes with it. I hope this will be a step toward the future."
Since first discovered by British Gas in 1999, Gaza's natural gas – estimated to be one trillion cubic feet – has been mired in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and locked below the sea.
In 2000, a day after late PA President Yasser Arafat hailed the gas discovery as a "gift from God", the Palestinians' second Intifada erupted.
Late Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon halted the project, warning that the profits could be channelled to Hamas and other militant groups.