Gas agreement opponents: Hearings are undemocratic

Tamar

The Campaign for a Fair Gas Agreement says the witnesses at the hearing about the gas agreement have a personal interest in it.

"At least half of the people summoned to the hearing have business connections with the gas companies," said Campaign for a Fair Gas Agreement activist Yossi Dorfman today. Appearing on the second day of the hearing being conducted by a professional team, he declared, "This entire proceeding is undemocratic." He added that half of the 30 people or companies that have appeared had a business interest in the gas agreement.

Dorfman listed all the names of people he claimed had business relations with the gas companies. "Today, representatives of the Manufacturers Association of Israel will come. They represent the interests of the gas monopoly, not those of the small and medium-sized enterprises. Then will come Moshe Shahal, who has business connections with the gas monopoly. After him will come the turn of Eco Energy, which has business connections with the gas monopoly.

"Next in line is Ratio Oil Exploration (1992) LP (TASE:RATI.L), followed by Amir Foster, who works for the gas companies. Also making an appearance will be Association of Foreign Banks in Israel chairman Boaz Schwartz and Miki Korner, a former regulator in the Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy, and Water Resources, who is currently a businessman making a living by working in the field. Representatives of Noble Energy will also appear.

"What the government has agreed with the gas tycoons has been concealed from the public. Nothing has been documented the way it should have been, just as it was described in the State Comptroller's report, without minutes or Israelis knowing what the tycoons told the regulators, and vice versa. The lack of transparency about what the gas tycoons said - all this is typical of a corrupt country. The gas monopoly plan is a corrupt plan, and anyone who took part in it is a party to corruption."

At this point, members of the Campaign for a Fair Gas Agreement and the hearing team began shouting at each other, and the Ministry of Energy halted the broadcast of the hearing. The broadcast was renewed after a few minutes.

Manufacturers Association representative Gabi Bitan tried to calm things down. "We strongly oppose the incitement against you in the press and communications networks," he stated. "I want to talk about connecting enterprises to natural gas. There are currently 12 enterprises connected to natural gas. That's not acceptable. Businesses are transferring overseas, because they can't stand the competition. The competition is tough, and doesn't allow industry to make progress. The natural gas consumers have to run an obstacle course with all the regulation. There are many barriers here. All of a sudden, a local or district committee takes advantage of the fact that a business has a dispute with it about some tiny shed, and doesn't allow it to be connected to natural gas. That not acceptable, and it doesn't suit us."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on July 23, 2015

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2015

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