The Knesset Economics Committee is continuing its discussions of the natural gas plan today.
National Security Council head Yossi Cohen tried to persuade the committee members that security policy justified the invoking of Section 52 of the Restrictive Trade Practices Law. He argued, "In order to understand the Middle East, you have to think strategically. The Middle East has crumbled over the past five years. Entire countries that once existed have disappeared. Syria is not a country, Iraq is questionable, Egypt is stable at the moment, but Jordan is facing a grave challenge."
According to Cohen, Israel must make sure to strengthen its bilateral relations with the neighboring countries, "and the sooner the better." He says that those countries, in addition to European countries, "are pursuing the gas reserves in Israel. The window of opportunity is now."
Cohen then spoke about the Iranian threat, saying that Iran had made huge gas discoveries. "When the nuclear agreement with Iran is signed, it will become a very significant gas player. Countries that have avoided contact with Iran will fall over themselves now to get there."
He added that according to an assessment of the security situation in Israel's economic waters, "Hezbollah has the weapons to hit Israel's gas rigs. Our enemies' weapons in this theater are good enough to hit any given platform. Our enemies in the region are multiplying, having been spurred on by Iran and Syria. Israel is already planning for this. We believe that the fact that we have only one gas pipeline and one entry to our sole facility does not give us the capability necessary to consolidate the necessary security."
Cohen stated that the Zohr gas discovery in Egypt did not affect the justification for exporting gas from Tamar even before Leviathan is connected to the shore, "Two opinions were recently obtained: one before the Zohr discovery, and the second afterwards. We find no great difference between the two opinions," he claimed.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on December 2, 2015
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