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A message in the sand: ‘We will not allow gas exports to Israel’

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As Egyptians headed to the polls this morning for their first free elections in years the newly repaired Sinai pipeline that delivers gas to Israel and Jordan was attacked for the second time in less than a week. The video above is from the  pipeline explosion on Thursday morning in the Sinai. The second from today, within about 100 feet from Thursdays explosion.

A message in the sand: ‘We will not allow gas exports to Israel’

Wapo:

CAIRO — Attackers set off explosives early Monday along a gas pipeline in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula that transports fuel to neighboring Israel and Jordan, forcing a shutdown and halting exports, the state news agency MENA reported.

The attack on the pipeline was the second this month and the eighth since the popular uprising that ousted longtime Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak in February.

Abdel-Wahab Mabrouk, the governor of North Sinai province, told MENA that the assailants placed explosives near the town of el-Arish in three separate places along the line that transports natural gas. Two blasts caused huge fires but the third charge did not explode, he said.

JTA

Selling gas to Israel has been unpopular on the Egyptian street since the opening of the pipeline in 2008. Mubarak has been accused of giving Israel a sweetheart deal on the gas, since Egypt lost more than $714 million on the pact.

Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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49 Responses

  1. annie on November 28, 2011, 1:54 pm

    these videos are a pyro’s dream come true. i’d love to witness something like this. (not advocating it of course)

    • tod on November 28, 2011, 4:06 pm

      Why not?
      An act of defiance without human death, and probably, little economic impact is too politically incorrect?
      I say, explode all the pipelines, it’s the will of the people, and Egyptian people are on their way to make Egypt what it was on Ramses’ time!

      • annie on November 28, 2011, 4:18 pm

        why not? that comment could be taken as snark or not. i left it ambiguous. because as the author of the post i feel my representation here also represents the site and as a matter of course i wouldn’t advocate acts such as these as a representative of the site.

        also, environmentally this is probably not very nice to the earth and sky.

      • Theo on November 29, 2011, 8:12 am

        Annie

        “This is not the first election in years”, as you write, but the first evèr!
        Egypt never had a free election in its history of 5,000 years.

      • annie on November 29, 2011, 1:52 pm

        omg, thanks theo. really?

  2. DBG on November 28, 2011, 1:56 pm

    Egypt will soon be cutting Israel and Jordan 8 billion dollar checks each. Nothing like getting their new democracy off to a good start!

    • annie on November 28, 2011, 4:18 pm

      dbg, source?

      • ToivoS on November 28, 2011, 7:38 pm

        Annie dbg is referring to some Zionists that was threatening Egypt with legal liability if they reneged on those contracts. From what I saw it was all pretty vague. I think legally those contracts can be voided if the Egyptians can show that bribery was involved. Time to break out the water board, Mubarrak we need a confession!

  3. upsidedownism on November 28, 2011, 2:25 pm

    The bad deal the Egyptians got on their gas sounds like the latest chapter in the long history of western exploitation. The Suez canal was supposed to help the Egyptians but European countries and companies made all the money; when Nasser tried to make it function for the first time to primarily benefit of the Egyptian people, France Britain and Israel invaded to tried to take it back.

    • lysias on November 28, 2011, 6:46 pm

      And Britain (Churchill and MI6) and the U.S. (Eisenhower and the Dulles brothers) did the same to Iran when Mossadegh tried to make the Iranian oil industry function primarily for the Iranian people.

      • ToivoS on November 28, 2011, 7:43 pm

        It was Clement Atlee, not Churchill who was the PM that orchestrated the coup.

      • lysias on November 29, 2011, 12:53 pm

        When the coup happened, in 1953, Churchill was very much PM. And Churchill very much approved of the coup. He complimented Kim Roosevelt for doing such a good job. Read Stephen Kinzer’s All the Shah’s Men.

      • ToivoS on November 29, 2011, 3:24 pm

        My error. The sanctions against Iran were initiated by Atlee but the coup happened under Churchill.

  4. Dan Crowther on November 28, 2011, 2:41 pm

    good for them…..viva la revolucion!!

  5. DICKERSON3870 on November 28, 2011, 3:42 pm

    RE: “Selling gas to Israel has been unpopular on the Egyptian street since the opening of the pipeline in 2008. Mubarak has been accused of giving Israel a sweetheart deal on the gas, since Egypt lost more than $714 million on the pact.” ~ JTA

    SEE: The Politics of Power Cuts in Egypt: Are Mubarak’s Gas Sales to Israel Partly to Blame? ~ by Mohamed Wake, Counterpunch, 9/02/10

    (excerpts) . . . the entire region suffers the same heat wave. But unlike its neighbours Egypt has been suffering also from long, systematic, nationwide power cuts. Facing sudden shortages in the country’s electric generation capacity, the authorities began to reduce demand by cutting power off entire neighborhoods and cities for a while everyday. . .
    . . . these cuts intertwined to undermine the already precarious legitimacy of the state. . . .
    . . . The economic loss that resulted from these cuts is yet another colossal aspect of our failure story. . . It is hence safe to say that we are talking here about a gigantic national loss on a multi-billion dollar scale. . .
    …On 17 August, the Holding Company for Electricity issued a statement that put an end to this speculation: the collapse resulted from a big shortage in the gas delivered to the electric generation units. . .
    . . . why is the ministry of petroleum withholding the needed gas? (Note that we are talking about home pumped gas here). A senior official in the ministry of electricity then explained that the ministry of petroleum started withholding their gas when it started exporting gas to Israel. In other words, Egypt has been withholding the gas marked for electric generation to give it to Israel, to the extent that it compromised its electricity system, economy, and the welfare of its people. . .
    . . . the ministry of petroleum finally decided to increase its gas deliveries to the power stations by reducing the quantities marked for the private sector and export to Jordan. Although Jordan pays much more for the gas, Israel remained untouchable. . .
    . . . Noteworthy here is that Egypt is not so determined to export its gas to Israel because of some profit incentive: ditching highly subsidized local sales for foreign currency market prices. To the contrary, Egypt loses a lot of money on its gas sales to Israel. . . Egypt was selling its gas at a much lower than market price, adding up to an annual subsidy to Israel of roughly $5 billion. . .

    SOURCE – http://www.counterpunch.org/2010/09/02/the-politics-of-power-cuts-in-egypt/

    • DICKERSON3870 on November 28, 2011, 4:08 pm

      P.S. ALSO SEE: The Making of Egypt’s Revolution, by Esam Al-Amin, Counterpunch, 02/01/11:

      (excerpt)…Likewise, both of Mubarak’s sons and their families left to London in their private jets. The head of the Cairo International Airport also announced that 19 private jets owned by the richest families in the country left to Dubai on Saturday. One of these corrupt billionaires was Hussein Salem, a former intelligence officer and a close confidant of the president. Dubai airport officials declared that they seized over $300 million in cash from him.
      Salem was the head of a private energy company that teamed up with an Israeli conglomerate to secure a long-term contract to sell natural gas to Israel. In June 2008 ‘Les Afriques’ reported that Egypt was subsidizing Israel with hundreds of millions of dollars every year in energy purchase. By January 2010, the Israeli newspaper ‘Haaretz’ exposed the secret and reported that Israel was in fact receiving natural gas from Egypt at a 70 per cent discount. The scandal was swept aside by the former Egyptian prime minister who refused to divulge to the parliament the terms of the contract. Subsequently when the government was sued, a judge ruled against it and invalidated the contract, which [court decision] the government totally ignored.

      SOURCE – http://www.counterpunch.org/alamin02012011.html

      P.P.S. JUAN COLE, 02/04/11: “The regime of Hosni Mubarak appears to have taken some sort of bribe to send substantial natural gas supplies to Israel at a deep discount.” SOURCE – http://www.countercurrents.org/cole040211.htm

    • DICKERSON3870 on November 28, 2011, 4:19 pm

      P.P.P.S. ALSO SEE – EGYPT: Electricity outages spoil Ramadan celebrations, L.A. Times Blog, 08/19/10

      (excerpts) Thousands of Egyptians were forced to break their Ramadan fasting by candlelight on Wednesday. Not really what could be called a romantic iftar, but rather a way of coping with rolling electrical outages across the nation.
      The neighborhoods of Nasr City, Maadi and Haram in Cairo, as well as other parts of Egypt, experienced blackouts between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., and once again later in the evening. The power cuts were the latest in a series of outages that have marred Egypt’s scorching hot summer as well as citizens’ celebrations during the holy month of Ramadan. . .
      . . .President Hosni Mubarak held an emergency meeting with Minister of Electricity Hassan Younis and Minister of Petroleum Sameh Fahm to discuss the matter. Amid reports of an ongoing conflict between the two ministries, the head of the Egyptian Electricity Holding Company, Mohamed Awad, recently blamed a shortage of 16,000 megawatts in the power supply on the Petroleum Ministry’s failure to provide electrical plants with enough natural gas.
      An unnamed official from the Electricity Ministry was quoted by daily newspaper ‘Shorouk’ as saying that the country’s exports of 1.7 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Israel every year is one reason behind the current power shortages. . .

      SOURCE – http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/babylonbeyond/2010/08/egypt-electricity-outages-spoil-ramadan-celebrations.html

    • on November 28, 2011, 6:14 pm

      ‘Egypt was selling its gas at a much lower than market price, adding up to an annual subsidy to Israel of roughly $5 billion’

      I can’t wait when the third generation of German suckers are going to wake up sick of subsidising that little appartheid bully and it looks that’s coming, triggered by clever moves by Merkel and her handlers.

      Last week news (according to my pissed off friend in Darmstadt, GE) Israel is going to get two submarines, 3/4 subsidised by German taxpayer, and the rest paid by some other non-specified funds. That the reparations for forced labor that got paid already few times over will be extended to other non-forced Jewish ‘victims’ on the top of the multiple time grants to ghetto survivors, and doubling its funding to Central Council of Jews in Germany while the Germans and the rest of the Europe is hurting and on the edge of bankruptcy ,…

      • annie on November 28, 2011, 6:37 pm

        i heard about that submarine deal split but i heard merkel was considering not forking it over. has she made up her mind for sure?

      • Walid on November 28, 2011, 11:46 pm

        “… according to my pissed off friend in Darmstadt, GE…”

        This that appeared in Haaretz yesterday will piss-off your friend a bit more:

        Germany approves one-time 2,000 Euro grant for ghetto survivors
        Decision follows negotiations between the Claims Conference and the German government; grant available to those non-forced labor workers as well.

        By Dana Weiler-PolakTags: Jewish WorldHolocaust

        Holocaust survivors who worked in ghettoes will receive a one-time payment of 2,000 Euros from the German government, in addition to the regular monthly payment paid out from the German Ghetto Fund.

        http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jewish-world-news/germany-approves-one-time-2-000-euro-grant-for-ghetto-survivors-1.398074

        Will Israel someday start compensating Nakba survivors?

  6. Taxi on November 28, 2011, 4:17 pm

    The Sinai Ninjas strike again!

    And you just know they’re southern cousins of Hizbollah :-)

    • Walid on November 29, 2011, 12:11 am

      “And you just know they’re southern cousins of Hizbollah ”

      I’m not sure about the “cousins” part, Taxi, eventhough they share a common hate of Israel, there’s still a considerable distance between them and the Brothers and Salafists because of their extreme sectarian differences.

      • Taxi on November 29, 2011, 2:28 am

        Walid, I used ‘cousins’ here as a metaphor instead of the regular ‘brothers’. But you’re right, it totally escaped my mind that in Lebanon they sometimes refer to the israeli invaders cynically as ‘cousins’.

        Point is, the Sinai Ninjas got balls like hizbollah’s.

        A very interesting turn up for the books: the appearance on the scene of them Sinai Ninjas.

        Every single attack on israel’s gas pipeline has been successful and it did get media attention, limited as it may be.

      • Walid on November 29, 2011, 3:25 am

        Hi Taxi, I understood what you meant but I want to clear it up; paranoid Israelis could take it the wrong way and turn it into an Iran thing and voilà! Taxi would be blamed for starting WWIII with one word.

        Of course these minor explosions are always in the press because you know who controls it. But I don’t lose any sleep when Israel has to spend an additional $2 million a day because it has to use diesel fuel when the Egptian gas is turned off. To the chagrin of BDS supporters, there’s talk in the Egyptian and Israel business press that Israel is negotiating an alternate source of gas from another country. It’s said to be building a liquid natural gas terminal off the coast off Hadera, where the stuff would be brought in by ships.

        http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/3/12/24688/Business/Economy/Israel-eyes-Qatar-gas-deals-newspaper.aspx

      • Taxi on November 29, 2011, 3:47 am

        Yeah there’s rumors that Qatar is doing a gas deal with Apartheid israel. But at an expensive rate.

        Ships are known to sink, Walid. The insurance on that kinda precarious project will fall on israel’s head (or our taxpayer’s head).

        Every energy door that israel opens will be slam-bang shut in it’s face sooner or later.

      • DBG on November 29, 2011, 9:38 am

        Leviathan. Israel is set, the Lebanese and Turks can do nothing about it. Attacks against it would be attacks against Americans, I am not sure the Lebanese or Turks will take that gamble.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leviathan_gas_field

  7. Taxi on November 28, 2011, 4:18 pm

    The great Arab Egyptian giant is waking with widening eyes and twitching fingers.

    • eee on November 28, 2011, 5:56 pm

      With 18% illiteracy rate for women 15-24, and other bothersome statistics, Egypt is going nowhere for many years.
      Oh, those pesky facts.

      • justicewillprevail on November 28, 2011, 6:24 pm

        I don’t see that as a cause for gloating. Or, in your case, goating.

      • annie on November 28, 2011, 6:48 pm

        88% literacy rate won’t keep them from going somewhere. look at india.

      • lysias on November 28, 2011, 6:49 pm

        I would hazard the guess that the literacy rate among young women in France in 1789 was something like 10%. Likewise for young women in Russia in 1917. It was probably even lower for young women in China in 1949.

      • Walid on November 29, 2011, 12:16 am

        “… Egypt is going nowhere for many years.
        Oh, those pesky facts.”

        As long as they move away from the pesky Zionists state, all would be well irrespective of their literacy. Keep in mind, eee, that the Brothers and the Salafists to their credit, don’t like Israel at all.

      • MLE on November 29, 2011, 12:26 am

        Brazil’s statistics aren’t so hot either- and they are on their way to becoming a world power. China and India have huge development in industries, but the poverty that exists in these countries is heartbreaking.

        Having lived in Egypt, I know the social problems extend much deeper than removing Mubarak, but there is so much potential. Egypt has the infrastructure base for a variety of industries, they control one of the most important waterways in the world, they are one of the major gateways into Africa, constant mixing of cultures throughout history has given them a great gift for learning language and tolerance (the shift towards religious extremism is a phase, fueled by outside elements and a lack of means for political expression). My maid may not have been able to read but she can understand and speak some English, French, Italian, and some Russian.

        It’s popular among Israelis to dismiss Arabs as lazy and unmotivated but they build your cities and do all the work that Israelis won’t do (Actually its funny how the Israeli stereotypes of Arabs match Americans opinion of the lazy Mexican).

        That sucking sound you’ll be hearing soon is the Multinational companies moving their bases and jobs from Israel to Egypt.

      • Walid on November 29, 2011, 3:59 am

        MLE, the migration has already started; the Israeli diamond industry has already been hit. From an early start of four diamond cutting plants in Palestine with a total of 197 workers, it reached a peak 35,000 employees a few years back. The number today is between 500 and 1000 employees and most of the moving was to India and other points east.

        Essay on the diamong cutting and polishing industry in Israel:

        Diamonds Are Not Forever: Industry Moves from Israel to India
        Published May 04, 2011 in Arabic [email protected]

        Ramat Gan, the city at the heart of the Israeli diamond industry, has lost its sparkle. In the 1980s and 1990s, Israel was the world’s major producer of polished diamonds, successfully leveraging low labor costs and traditional diamond-cutting knowledge. Today, the hum of the polishing wheels is mostly silent. The bulk of the business has moved away — to India, China, Russia, Vietnam and Africa.

        “There has been a globalization of the production process,” says Udi Sheintal, managing director of the Israel Diamond Manufacturers Association. “Today, the diamond dictates where it is going to be polished.” Sheintal notes that manufacturers produce the stones where it makes most business sense, and this depends on the size and quality of the raw material. “The production of polished diamonds has moved eastward, mostly to India,” says Steven Benson, founder of Market Direct Business Communication, a media consulting company working with the diamond and jewelry industry.

        Traditionally, the diamond polishing industry has followed the trail of low labor costs. New York was a major diamond manufacturing center once. Lower wage bills in Europe brought the industry to Belgium, then to Israel and now to India and China.

        http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/arabic/article.cfm?articleid=2667

      • MLE on November 29, 2011, 9:46 am

        I know… My uncle is in the diamond business in Tel Aviv and my cousins are trying to get him to cut his losses and retire.

      • Taxi on November 29, 2011, 12:58 am

        Some of the most stupid people I ever met could read and write, just like you eee.

        And what does an ‘education’ have anything to do with fighting Apartheid israel? NOTHING! Hahahaha it’s a “jungle” out there on your southern (stolen) borders and you’re outnumbered by oooooh some 74 MILLION!

      • MLE on November 29, 2011, 1:55 am

        I should also remind you… Egypt has a population that are educated and want to work but there are no jobs for them. They will work several jobs, send their wives and children to work to bring in additional income, and leave their families to travel to other countries in order to support their families.

        Israel has a (growing) population that refuses to work, and requires welfare from the state to support their families.

      • eee on November 30, 2011, 11:05 am

        MLE,

        “That sucking sound you’ll be hearing soon is the Multinational companies moving their bases and jobs from Israel to Egypt.”

        This is so hilarious. You guys are so out of touch. Of course Israel is losing manufacturing jobs to low wage countries, like all developed countries. But you just can’t find the talent you have in Israel for the high tech industry in other places in the middle east. Until Egypt gets its population growth under control and stabilizes its government, it will be a basket case. Egypt does have potential and I wish them the best. Having a rich neighbor will be good for Israel also, and the richer Egypt will be the more it will trade with Israel which exports mainly high tech. Economy is not a zero sum game and everybody can be better off.

      • pjdude on November 30, 2011, 4:17 pm

        um an 82% literacy rate while not top notch is very good.

  8. Chaos4700 on November 29, 2011, 9:04 am

    So the Zionist response on this thread so far has been: A) gloating about cheating Egypt in a deliberately unfair legal contract that was foisted upon Egypt so that Israel could reap (rape?) their natural resources at cut-throat rates; and B) gloating about Arab illiteracy.

    Remind me how Zionism isn’t A) racist and B) an anti-Semitic stereotype made flesh.

    • pjdude on November 30, 2011, 4:19 pm

      and failing at the second at least for EEE an 18% illiteracy rate means 18 percent can’t read.

  9. Justice Please on November 29, 2011, 1:39 pm

    “Egypt lost more than $714 million on the pact.”

    If that’s true, the Egyptian people, who are the ultimate owners of natural gas found under Egyptian soil, have every right to stop the fraudulent delivery.

    Israel can have all the gas it wants, as soon as it starts paying that price which the Egyptian people, not Mubarak or the army, decide upon.

    • annie on November 29, 2011, 1:49 pm

      justice, i think it could be a lot more than that.

    • DBG on November 29, 2011, 2:01 pm

      so they are gaining money by not delivering this gas? are they selling it to someone else? is no money better than a poorly negotiated amount? what about the money Jordan proposed to pay, which they agreed to increase?

      • Taxi on November 30, 2011, 12:56 am

        Unlike your immoral self dbg, some people REFUSE to do business with criminals and their filthy swindled dollars.

      • Chaos4700 on November 30, 2011, 2:07 am

        They can easily sell that gas to Europe at market price, DBG. And Europe will happily pay a fair price to get gas from Europe and weaken Russia’s creeping monopoly on European energy sources.

      • eee on November 30, 2011, 11:08 am

        To export gas profitably you need to liquefy it if you do not have a pipeline, and Egypt does not have the facilities in place.

      • Chaos4700 on December 1, 2011, 1:28 pm

        Exporting to Israel isn’t profitable, the price is so cut-rate. The only reason Egypt can absorb the cost is the 3 billion Camp David subsidy your country forced us to agree to pay Egypt.

        Egypt could pay somebody to come in an liquefy the gas for them, and they would probably take less of a loss at least, and more probably they would start turning a profit.

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