Chomsky says Israel is pillaging Gaza’s natural gas reserves

Israel/Palestine
on 21 Comments

Important piece by Noam Chomsky, from a forthcoming book, that mourns the late great peace process for producing a fair deal that the US and Israel rejected and that sees a material motive in the continued control of Gaza. At the bottom of the excerpt, I’ve included Chomsky’s arrow at Obama. Well-feathered.

It cannot be too often stressed that Israel had no credible pretext for its 2008–9 attack on Gaza, with full U.S. support and illegally using U.S. weapons. Near-universal opinion asserts the contrary, claiming that Israel was acting in self-defense. That is utterly unsustainable, in light of Israel’s flat rejection of peaceful means that were readily available, as Israel and its U.S. partner in crime knew very well. That aside, Israel’s siege of Gaza is itself an act of war, as Israel of all countries certainly recognizes, having repeatedly justified launching major wars on grounds of partial restrictions on its access to the outside world, though nothing remotely like what it has long imposed on Gaza.

One crucial element of Israel’s criminal siege, little reported, is the naval blockade. Peter Beaumont reports from Gaza that, “on its coastal littoral, Gaza’s limitations are marked by a different fence where the bars are Israeli gunboats with their huge wakes, scurrying beyond the Palestinian fishing boats and preventing them from going outside a zone imposed by the warships.” According to reports from the scene, the naval siege has been tightened steadily since 2000. Fishing boats have been driven steadily out of Gaza’s territorial waters and toward the shore by Israeli gunboats, often violently without warning and with many casualties. As a result of these naval actions, Gaza’s fishing industry has virtually collapsed; fishing is impossible near shore because of the contamination caused by Israel’s regular attacks, including the destruction of power plants and sewage facilities.

These Israeli naval attacks began shortly after the discovery by the BG (British Gas) Group of what appear to be quite sizeable natural gas fields in Gaza’s territorial waters. Industry journals report that Israel is already appropriating these Gazan resources for its own use, part of its commitment to shift its economy to natural gas. The standard industry source reports:

“Israel’s finance ministry has given the Israel Electric Corp. (IEC) approval to purchase larger quantities of natural gas from BG than originally agreed upon, according to Israeli government sources [which] said the state-owned utility would be able to negotiate for as much as 1.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas from the Marine field located off the Mediterranean coast of the Palestinian controlled Gaza Strip.

“Last year the Israeli government approved the purchase of 800 million cubic meters of gas from the field by the IEC…. Recently the Israeli government changed its policy and decided the state-owned utility could buy the entire quantity of gas from the Gaza Marine field. Previously the government had said the IEC could buy half the total amount and the remainder would be bought by private power producers.”

The pillage of what could become a major source of income for Gaza is surely known to U.S. authorities. It is only reasonable to suppose that the intention to appropriate these limited resources, either by Israel alone or together with the collaborationist Palestinian Authority, is the motive for preventing Gazan fishing boats from entering Gaza’s territorial waters…

Barack Obama’s June 4, 2009, Cairo address to the Muslim world kept pretty much to his well-honed “blank slate” style — with little of substance, but presented in a personable manner that allows listeners to write on the slate what they want to hear.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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21 Responses

  1. Citizen
    April 29, 2010, 11:17 am

    Palestinian fishing under Israeli fire:
    link to fishingunderfire.blogspot.com

  2. Chu
    April 29, 2010, 12:28 pm

    It’s apparent the the state is trying to starve Gazans by restricting the food and water for 1.5 millions residents. For one, the limitation on fishing cannot be classified as a security risk. Second, polluting and controlling the water supply and preventing mechanical parts to repair water system is not a security risk. And third, destroying the only bread mill as one of the results of Cast Lead. These are no accidents and there are many more to list.
    Is the intent of the government to starve them to the point where Gazans turn on each other to survive?

  3. eljay
    April 29, 2010, 12:41 pm

    They can take the land, they can take the water…why not take the gas, too. But just to be clear: It’s never about natural resources, it’s strictly about “freedom, democracy and justice”.

    • eee
      April 29, 2010, 12:55 pm

      Yes, it is strictly about “freedom, democracy and justice”. That is exactly what Hamas is implementing in Gaza.

  4. eGuard
    April 29, 2010, 1:02 pm

    More on the field & dealing at .

  5. LanceThruster
    April 29, 2010, 1:05 pm

    At a recent Southern California lecture by Dr. Norman Finkelstein on his book, “This Time We Went Too Far”, I asked if he thought the desire to deprive the Palestinians of any sort of economic viability through the offshore gas reserves was part of the motivation for the wholesale destruction in Operation Cast Lead. He said that though he had heard such accusations, he didn’t think they were connected.

    This Chomsky piece reinforces my view of Israel’s manuevering to help themselves to this bounty at the expense of the Palestinians.

  6. eee
    April 29, 2010, 1:11 pm

    The gas field allegations are ridiculous. Both Lebanon and Gaza are blaming Israel for stealing “their gas”. Could someone explain to me how that is possible?

    The field in question is in the Haifa area, nowhere near Gaza.

    • tree
      April 29, 2010, 1:38 pm

      You are yet again misinformed and reading comprehension challenged.
      The fields that Chomsky is talking about are in Gaza’s territorial waters. He is not talking about the field within Israeli territorial waters.
      See the map here:

      link to globalresearch.ca

      The BG licence covers the entire Gazan offshore marine area, which is contiguous to several Israeli offshore gas facilities. (See Map below). It should be noted that 60 percent of the gas reserves along the Gaza-Israel coastline belong to Palestine.

      • eee
        April 29, 2010, 2:02 pm

        What is Chomsky complaining about? Nothing about these wells has been finalized yet.

      • Shingo
        April 29, 2010, 4:27 pm

        “What is Chomsky complaining about? Nothing about these wells has been finalized yet. ”

        You mean, the stealing is being panned but hasn’t officially begun eee?

        Yes, that’s very comforting you idiot.

  7. Shmuel
    April 29, 2010, 1:49 pm

    part of its commitment to shift its economy to natural gas

    What deliciously-green oppression. It’s the least they can do to offset all those emmissions generated by last year’s massacre.

    • demize
      April 29, 2010, 8:52 pm

      Yeah didn’t you hear? Israel celebrated Earth Day by shutting off the lights In Gaza.

  8. hughsansom
    April 29, 2010, 7:01 pm

    This is completely in keeping with Israel’s tactics in other areas. It steals the water resources of the West Bank (and then sells back to the Palestinians their very own water). During the occupation of southern Lebanon, Israel removed huge masses of arable soil.

  9. Keith
    April 29, 2010, 7:54 pm

    This post highlights a reality that is easy to forget. It’s not just about ideology, it’s about resources. The natural gas is significant, but secondary. Water is a primary objective. A two state solution suffers from the problem that Israel is dependent upon West Bank water, hence, will resist loosing this resource. Just as U.S. oil is located under Arab feet, so too is Israeli water. Perhaps this is what is meant by U.S./Israel “shared values?”

  10. Richard Parker
    April 30, 2010, 1:01 am

    BG’s partner in this little steal is CCC:
    “British Gas (BG Group) and its partner, the Athens based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC) owned by Lebanon’s Sabbagh and Koury families, were granted oil and gas exploration rights in a 25 year agreement signed in November 1999 with the Palestinian Authority.

    The rights to the offshore gas field are respectively British Gas (60 percent); Consolidated Contractors (CCC) (30 percent); and the Investment Fund of the Palestinian Authority (10 percent). (Haaretz, October 21, 2007).

    CCC was widely known as a front company for the PLO during my time in Beirut (1974-5). The owners are exiled Palestinians.

    The PA is only the inheritor of this bunch of skimmers. Corrupt? Collaborationist? No. way.

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