In an untimely demise to a joint venture that existed as a cornerstone of the peace process between the two neighboring countries, Egypt has terminated its contract to supply the country of Israel with natural gas.
Ampal, who is a partner of Israel in the East Mediterranean Gas (EMG) joint venture which operates a pipeline between the two countries, made an announcement on Sunday night which indicated that the Egyptian suppliers had conveyed to EMG that they were terminated the supply of natural gas. In regards to the incident, Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz expressed “great worry” as he was quoted by KansasCity.com having said:
“[The contract termination would set a] dangerous precedent that darkens the peace treaties and the atmosphere of peace between Israel and Egypt.”
Another Israeli official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, stated that it would be the “final bit that breaks the camel’s back.” To further reiterate his point, the official said:
“The peace deal between us and Egypt has been on very shaky ground and now the final earthquake has happened. It appears the new Egyptian government is giving all the signals that it is no longer interested in the partnership and agreements it has established with Israel. Even though Israel and Egypt would like to keep peace on a military level, their governments may not let them. I’m not saying it will come to blows soon, but it is clear that Israel can no longer lean and rely on Egypt in a significant way.”
While there exists speculation pertaining to the politics of the decision’s timing, which comes weeks prior to the country’s first presidential election since former President Hosni Mubarak was ousted, the head of the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company, Mohamed Shoeb, said on Al Jazeera’s television channel that the decision to cut exports to Israel was not politically motivated and came as a result of the country being months behind on payments for natural gas.