Egypt ends Gas pact with Israel - is the peace treaty next?
Last night Egypt announced the termination of the agreement to deliver natural gas to Israel.
Egypt’s state-owned natural gas company said Sunday that it was ending the deal to ship gas to Israel because of a payment dispute.
Despite the business claims, the gas deal, signed in 2005, hasbecome a target here in Cairo for broader resentment of the supportive relationship with Israel that was forged by Hosni Mubarak, the former Egyptian president.
We cannot avoid the implications of this business decision on the already fragile relationship between Egypt and Israel since Mubarak was toppled.
From Israel perspective it seems this throws us back a while. It feels like despite the peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan, we have no real allies in the region and Israel can only count on itself.
Since the fall of Mubarak, the gas pipe to Israel has been attacked 14 times. While the CEO of the Egyptian gas company declines the termination has anything to do with the attacks and the overall negative sentiment in Egypt, this one sided decision is a dangerous precedentt.
There is a direct connection between the gas pact and the peace agreements between Israel and Egypt. In 1979 when Israel and Egypt signed a peace treaty, Egyptagreed to supply Israel with oil. Egypt's capacity to do so, however, dwindled in the next two decades, and a clause was added to the peace treaty which stipulated that Egypt would provide Israel with natural gas.
So in a way, this one sided decision is a breach of the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. While Israel and Egypt would like to maintain the peace treaty on a military level, let's hope the sentiment in Egypt and the upcoming elections would allow that to happen.