Cyprus, Greece, Greek, Italy and Israel have reached an agreement on the joint construction of a gas pipeline in the Mediterranean. The aim of this agreement is to open the longest and deepest pipeline in the sea. It will only have a modest capacity of 12 billion m3 per year. Its cost is estimated at 8 billion dollars and it should become operational in 5 years. However the start date of the work has not been announced.

While Egypt, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey are involved with the gas field discovered in 2011, they are not parties to this agreement, at least, not officially.

Note: In actual fact, Turkey is not involved in any way with this gas field except to the extent that it occupies North Cyprus. In Feb 2018, the Turkish military marine prevented an Italian exploration ship from searching the depths of the territorial waters of North Cyprus. In June, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan threatened any entity that tried to undertake any investigations in this occupied area without its authorization.

In actual fact, it seems that Hamas and Egypt are parties to this agreement.

 The authorization given at the beginning of the month by Israel to Qatar to pay the officials in the Gaza strip would be the quid pro quo for Hamas recognizing the sea border of Palestine unilaterally traced by Israel. Palestinian gas would thus be exploited by Israel and rights reserved by Qatar to Hamas.

 Israel has also signed an agreement with Egypt for it to export gas to this country. This parallel agreement was concluded through the Egyptian East Gas Company of which the Egyptian Secret Services is the major shareholder. In this case as well, offshore Egyptian gas would be extracted by Israel, then brought back to Egypt to be liquefied and then exported.

The objective of the above aims at masking contradictions between the leaders’ official rhetoric and what they actually do.

All these agreements had the blessings of the European Union and Qatar.

Anoosha Boralessa