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Is the EU thanking Israel for stealing Palestinian gas to sell to its members?

February 17, 2023 at 12:54 pm

A view of the platform of the Leviathan natural gas field in the Mediterranean Sea. [Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images]

Early this week the European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson delivered the opening speech at the Egypt Petroleum Show 2023 Strategic Conference, the largest oil, gas and energy conference and exhibition across Egypt, North Africa and the Mediterranean.

Simson highlighted the EU’s need to diversify its energy sources, pointing out that this became a necessity after the Russian-Ukrainian war. In an attempt to decrease the bloc’s energy imports from Russia, Simson said, it had started to look for new energy sources. Fortunately, the EU found Israel and Egypt.

“The EU is serious about investing in trusted, reliable energy partnerships,” Simson told attendants. “That describes Egypt perfectly.” Referring to the base of their partnership, she said: “In the immediate wake of the crisis a year ago, the very first energy agreement the EU concluded was the Memorandum of Understanding with Egypt and Israel on trade, transport and natural gas cooperation.”

Simson referred to that MoU as a “remarkable political milestone for energy,” stressing that it was “something we are very proud of,” reiterating “how grateful” she is “to both Egypt and Israel, for their cooperation to turn the political vision of mutual cooperation into a reality.”

The European commissioner for energy also made it very clear that “the EU could count on the partnership” with Israel and Egypt due to the “landmark” agreement, which came “at the height of the energy crisis,” stressing “it was central to our efforts to diversify and stabilise the supplies for our citizens.”

But has Simson thought about the source of this energy? How much blood was shed, how many people were forced out of their homes, or how many villages and cities were destroyed in order to get this energy? Has she questioned the human rights situation of the countries which are selling this energy?

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The energy which comes from Israel is stolen from Palestinians from whom the Zionists stole land with the help of many countries, mainly the United States and the United Kingdom. Israel was created on bodies of thousands of Palestinians, the ruins of their homes, mosques, schools, villages and cities. Israel has been stealing Palestinian land, resources, history and culture.

Has Simson not seen reports of the daily killing of Palestinians, their detention, the demolition of their homes, stealing of their land, suppression of their freedoms, the night raids, desecration of their holy sites, restriction of their movement, the apartheid policies imposed on them and the deadly blockade hindering life for those living in Gaza over the past 16 years?

Numerous international rights groups, even Israeli rights groups, have investigated Israeli aggression on the Palestinians and found that the Israeli occupation state has committed war crimes against the Palestinians. In February last year, Human Rights Watch issued a report that proved Israeli war crimes against Palestinians.

Gerry Simpson, associated crisis and conflict director at HRW, said: “Israeli forces carried out attacks in Gaza in May [2021] that devastated entire families without any apparent military target nearby.” The UN and many other official bodies have condemned the Israeli occupation and its continuous aggression against Palestinians.

In a statement issued in 2020, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in the Palestinian Territory Occupied since 1967 said: “The Israeli occupation continues to deepen. The number of announced new Israeli settlement units has risen dramatically. Gaza remains besieged and beleaguered.”

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Throughout its occupation, Israel has prevented Palestinians from accessing their natural resources, water, land and the offshore gas fields.

The UN Special Rapporteur said in his statement: “Israel has maintained a comprehensive land, air and sea blockade on Gaza … and it controls virtually everything and everybody that enters or leaves the Strip. The blockade has contributed mightily to the civilian suffering in Gaza, which has a collapsed health care system, an aquifer with almost completely undrinkable water, enormous rates of unemployment and poverty, intermittent electrical power and densely packed housing.”

While Simson is praising Israel for selling stolen Palestinian gas to the EU to help it through its energy crisis, Palestinians are languishing under a brutal occupation and suffering in the cold without access to electricity and gas.

There is so much I could highlight about the brutality of the occupation and how deals with it are emboldening it and encouraging the oppression of Palestinians. But here I lay down only the foundations for what Simon has to learn about the deal she is praising.

It is very clear the EU deals with the Russian occupation of Ukraine differently from the Zionist occupation of Palestine; ending trade deals with Moscow while strengthening ties to Tel Aviv. Proof of apartheid practices have done little to change the ‘moral’ EU’s stance on the occupation state because its needs are greater than its will to protect the lives and rights of others.

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The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.