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Israel Joins Egypt and Palestine in Rare Partnership to Develop Gaza Gas Field

June 19, 2023
An aerial view of the Gaza coastline. Image Credit: Salah Hosny/Pixabay

Israel has granted preliminary approval to collaborate with Egypt and the Palestinian Authority (PA) to develop the Gaza Marine gas field off the coast of the Gaza Strip, Israel’s Prime Minister’s Office announced through a social media post on 18 June.

Egypt and the PA announced the deal in October, awaiting Israel’s approval, which has now been granted.

Israel’s announcement highlights that their decision to agree to Egypt and the PA’s plans to develop the gas field falls under the framework of promoting Palestinian economic development and ensuring regional security and stability.

“Implementing the project is subject to coordination between the security services and direct dialogue with Egypt, in coordination with the PA, in order to maintain the security and diplomatic interests of the State of Israel on the matter,” elaborated the Prime Minister’s office.

The project will be carried out with the assistance of the state-owned Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS), as reported by The Jerusalem Post.

The gas field, estimated to hold over one trillion cubic feet of natural gas, is located approximately 30 kilometres from Gaza’s coastline.

Palestine’s ambition to boost its economy through its gas reserves is a plan 24 years in the making, with constant disputes between the PA and Israel halting development plans.

The PA had previously negotiated with the Israeli government over a gas development partnership in 2012, but a conflict at the Strip the same year caused talks to collapse.

Over a decade later, discussions to develop the field were revived following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Europe’s search for alternative energy sources – with Palestine looking to join Egypt and Israel as regional gas exporters.

The project, estimated to cost EGP 43.4 billion (USD 1.4 billion), is expected to produce gas early next year, providing sufficient energy to power Palestinian territories and potentially generating a surplus for export – providing a boost to Palestine’s economy.

Yet questions still remain over Israel and Palestine’s political relationship, with the former dropping airstrikes on the occupied city of Jenin on the morning of 19 June – injuring 31 and killing 3 Palestinians so far. Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs was quick to condemn the Israeli attack through a social media announcement.

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