Arab Murmuring Over Israeli Gas Already Begun

March 18, 2010 by  

Most of the people following the story of Israel’s recent off shore gas discovery and possible onshore oil discoveries see idea of Israel as energy independent and economically prosperous as  a good thing. At least that’s the assumption. But not everyone sees Israel’s independence and prosperity as a plus – especially her neighbors.

If the Arab world views Israel (without hydrocarbon resources) as a worrisome usurper and unwelcome squatter today, an economically and energy independent Israel certainly won’t reduce fear and loathing of it’s Jewish neighbor.

It’s easy to predict an Arab response to a massively successful hydrocarbon industry in Israel. If the Jewish State is viewed as a usurper now, the natural response would be that if the land (and the sea) doesn’t belong to Israel, then neither does its natural resources. It’s an issue today; when economic quantities of oil and gas come into play it becomes the issue.

It’s no surprise that the Arab world will cry foul when Israel becomes energy independent,  I just didn’t expect to see signs of it this soon. The excerpts below are from a March 11 article in Abu Dhabi’s newspaper, ‘The National’, written by Dubai-based energy economist Robin M Mills. The piece itself sounds well written and even handed … from an Arabist perspective. The general tone of the article , unsurprisingly, paints Israel as an aggressor and exploiter of the Palestinian people. If this apparently reasonable, thoughtful Arabist response predicts political storm clouds from Israel’s oil and gas success, you can imagine what a more radical response might be.

Oil Rich Abu Dhabi Skyline

From “Israel’s new gas fields will do little for peace” by: Robin Mills

“Middle Eastern country finds large gas reserves. In our hydrocarbon-rich region, this would hardly be news, were it not for the identity of the country: Israel.
Golda Meir, the former Israeli prime minister, used to joke that Israel was the only place in the Middle East without oil. But in January last year, the US company Noble Energy found gas in the Mediterranean: not as good as oil, but a valuable second prize. More recent drilling confirms it is a giant discovery, probably just the first of several.

Suddenly, Israel can look forward to independence from energy imports, a cleaner environment, maybe even earnings from gas exports. But in this troubled region, such a bonanza is not likely to bring benefits to the Palestinians, nor peace. It may even contribute to further conflict (my emphasis) ….

In a happier situation, these discoveries would be a driver for regional economic integration. Some gas could go to energy-poor neighbours and Israel could join the Arab Gas Pipeline that runs from Egypt up to Syria, and ultimately on to Turkey and Europe.

In such an unstable area, of course, these initiatives are impossible. In reality, any significant exports would be as LNG to Europe, bringing no benefits to neighbouring states.

Tamar has ramifications far beyond business and economics. Earnings from gas would make Israel more able to resist international pressure or boycotts over human rights and peace negotiations, and to weather any reduction in US aid. A secure domestic energy source avoids the need to look to Egypt, where recent legal action has sought to block gas exports to Israel.

Palestinians will feel they have some claim on this gas, but they are unlikely to gain anything from it. The people of Gaza can feel particularly aggrieved. In 1999, the British company BG found a large field offshore Gaza, enough to provide power to all Palestinians for a decade and more, but this gas has never been developed. Indeed, the former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon stated that Israel would never buy gas from the Palestinians because it had no intention of giving Hamas a source of revenues.

For the Israelis to exploit this gas themselves would be illegal under international law, and forbidden by the Oslo Agreement. They might have chosen to ignore the diplomatic consequences, but with the discovery at Tamar they can afford to leave Gaza’s gas lying idle indefinitely. In the meantime, Gazans face daily eight-hour electricity blackouts.

Tamar itself appears to lie within Israeli waters. However, with no peace agreement and hence border demarcation between Israel and Lebanon, there is always the possibility of new fields being uncovered in disputed areas, at a time of increasing speculation about an Israeli attempt to settle scores with Hezbollah.

… This episode is a reminder that, in themselves, oil and gas are neither a blessing nor a curse. Everything depends on what is done with them. In this troubled region, Tamar brings benefits only to Israel, and it has the tragic potential to encourage Israeli intransigence.

In the absence of real progress towards peace, gas discoveries cannot be a force for regional prosperity. In the current circumstances, the best that Israel’s neighbours can do is to try to emulate its success.

For the full article go to:


9 Responses to “Arab Murmuring Over Israeli Gas Already Begun”

  1. David Sonksen on March 18th, 2010 2:24 pm

    Recently returned from Israel – March 12, 2010. During my visit I visited the Zion oil & gas office in Ceasera and spoke with numerous people while visiting your
    office. Thankyou, for spending time with me and the couple I was traveling with.
    Stephen Pearce was very interesting and took the time to answer all my questions relative to oil exploration……………….Thankyou, Stephen.

    My background is Dentistry and I need sometimes the extra details to appreciate
    Oil exploration. As an investor in Zion Oil & Gas my interest in the company is
    very high………Your objective are in line with my own!

    Dentistry has taught me to be patient – not everything happens as fast as we would like. Oil exploration seems to be teaching me this same lesson.

    God Bless your pursuit of oil ! Daid Sonksen DDS

  2. Barnabas on March 18th, 2010 8:44 pm

    I guess the Gog and Magog war probably sparked by the enemies of Israel being envious of Israel’s oil and gas. Sometimes I was worried that after the discovery of oil that the enemies will snatch them away and rob away lands and oil. If without G_d in the picture, there is so little our puny arm of flesh could do to protect.
    I believe G_d is capable of protecting His own and the apple of His eyes (Israel).

    I am encouraged by the Zion Oil story and share in the vision. And was encouraged by the Godly principles of tithing and giving and forming the two foundations to bless Israel and other less fortunate in the world. The job of the CEO is not to keep you and me informed on a regular weekly basis at the expense of their time which could be better spent in fulfilling the corporate vision and objectives. A lot of companies just announce the development every once or twice a year and so far I have not come across one that shareholders demanded to know the development every week (with the exception of this case). Even if there are some good news of any great discoveries, a responsible company would screen the news through several layers and checks to decide if there are any political or social implications and not just one sided just to please the shareholders. The stand from John in not fanning a hype to please the short-term and short-sighted wishes of some investors but conducting His affairs with integrity and professionalism is really respectable.

  3. Melva Parrish on March 19th, 2010 12:48 am

    Dear Sir’s Years and years ago I was given a tape made by a man named “Hayseed” Stephens. Mr Stephens went to be with the Lord before his dream of finding oil in Israel was realized. I have prayed for oil to be found in Israel for a long long time. G-d Bless you and your group. I am sure Mr Stephens is watching from heaven and praising G-d for all your great work. Be Blessed, Melva Parrish

  4. David Carter on March 19th, 2010 9:43 pm

    What an instructive, telling, and wishful final sentence in Mills’ article.

    “In the current circumstances, the best that Israel’s neighbours can do is to try to emulate its success.”

  5. Sigmund on March 28th, 2010 9:21 am

    It is strangely ironic that many of America’s strongest Israel supporters also supported big oil’s development of the Arab economies. This inadvertently empowered the radical Islamists and other Islamic expansionists in the region and enabled them not only to amass considerable military and paramilitary might (e.g. Bin Laden and company). It also enabled them to promulgate the Islamist/Arab narrative throughout the world via generous contributions by Arab states to groveling academics and journalists.

    Gas (and hopefully oil) discoveries in Israel will redress this problem a bit. But even more beneficial will be the worldwide movement toward non-carbon fuels such as wind, solar, biomass, and (even) nuclear energy. In one sense Iran’s desire to develop nuclear is a very rationale decision based on the realization that its oil wealth will not last forever. It is too bad that no one yet has found a way to nurture the rationale elements in Iran’s planning. Possibly if Israel joins the energy exporting club they may find a way to do so. But I doubt it. The only solution I see to Arab/Islamic transigence is a gradual diminution of the importance of oil in the world economy. But anything that makes the Arabs a smaller piece of the energy pie will be a benefit to world peace.

  6. David Zimbalist on March 31st, 2010 5:06 pm

    As a Jew born in a displaced persons camp in American occupied Germany after the war. I have always loved Israel as a haven for the Jews. My first trip there was 1970 and I have been back several times. What they have accomplished despite the wars and terror is amazing. Their big break came with the Russian Jews which gave them the added brain power and muscle to spur them on to where they are today. The gas and oil is the next big break and also comes at a critical time, just as the million Russians also came at a critical point. Incidentally, it was Ronald Reagan who by breaking the USSR made the immigration possible. The energy resources will propel Israel to economic independence. I gratefully appreciate the Christian allies of Israel in the USA. They are steadfast. Who would believe that after the Holocaust, which was perpetrated upon us by the Christian world, that they the Christians would come to see us as friends. This amazes me. Marlboro NJ

  7. William G. Stewart on April 18th, 2010 5:39 pm

    I definitely believe the gas and oil discovery is an encouraging discovery to we who feel the Gog-Magog leadership will have a thought soon to come down to take a spoil as found in Ezek. 38. It makes us look up that things prophesied will be soon.

    To those who know the actions of European Christians during the Holocaust, all I can say is they acted in extreme ignorance and it was another of the works of the devil against Israel. The true history concerning the Jewish people of the time of the death of Jesus was a plot of only the religious leaders who stirred up the mob that day. Many of the common people received Jesus and many believed he was the Messiah. On Pentecost that year thousands more believed on him and a great Jewish church was established in Jerusalem until they were scattered with other Jews.

    Still many believe there is no future for Israel or that they have replaced Israel. But today we have the church composed of both Jew and Gentile, but Israel as a separate people still have a future; to that generation prophesied they will have a great but difficult future as the prophets of Israel have told us. I for one am very grateful for what the Jews have given us.

  8. A.A.ALEXANDER on April 18th, 2010 6:24 pm

    Britain should be FORCED tp straighten up the papers- they signed way back when- giving the Israel land to the Palestinians . These surrounding Countries will not be satisfied until all the land is given away.

  9. Dorothy Garris Coward on April 19th, 2010 10:59 pm

    I was there in Israel in 1983. My daughter, “Jacqueline and I,” went into the water in the Dead Sea. I had never given a thought of oil in Israel. The moment I put my foot into the water the Lord spoke to me and said that there is enough oil under the rocks to furnish the world with oil. The Lord also reminded me that the Dead Sea is the lowest place on the face of the earth and when the main oil vien is tapped into, well Israel! quess what, it belongs to you. Praise G-d!! You are going to begin to look and feel like G-d’s chosen people. I thank Our Lord G-d of the old and the new testment that provides for all people who accept him as Lord and Savior to be drafted into the family of G-d and become apart of G-d’s Chosen People. I truly believe the largest find of oil will be at the bottom of The Dead Sea. I have no scientific reason for this belieft, just that gut feeling from the Lord. I am 73 years young now and can rest in the fact that G-d has answered my prayers, that Israel will be able to care for themselves and not be threatened by other countries that try to put a noose around the necks of the Jewish People and The Jewish Nation of Israel. Look up your Messiah is at your door. Let Him In.!! Dorothy

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