Israel will begin the process of launching a fourth exploration for natural gas in the Mediterranean Sea, the country’s Energy Minister Karin Elharrar said on Monday, the Israeli Jerusalem Post newspaper reported.
The decision has reportedly come in response to a growing energy crisis in Europe as the continent attempts to cut its dependence on Russia.
The decision also comes despite earlier plans to halt all searches for natural gas in Israel during 2022, in order to focus on renewable energies. Those plans were announced by Elharrar in December.
Double-standards and blatant hypocrisy: The EU is moving to ban oil imports from Russia that fuels their occupation and war machine … looking at importing gas instead from Israel … that will fuel their occupation and war machine
“The State of Israel is pitching in and helping Europe diversify its energy sources,” the minister said at a press conference, as quoted by the Post.
“The global energy crisis provides an opportunity for the State of Israel to export natural gas, along with the honest and real concern for what is going on in Europe.”
Elharrar explained that the ministry aims “to ensure Israel’s energy security, the diversity of our energy sources and investment in renewable energies, and the Israeli economy’s gas reserves for the coming decades.”
Israel has been criticized by Palestinians, and Arab countries for exploiting gas resources that are in areas that belong to Palestine and Lebanon or remain ‘disputed.’
Last year, the Palestinian Authority said that authorization by the Israeli government for the Noble Gas firm to explore the waters off the coast of Gaza for potential natural gas fields constitutes “theft.”
Ramallah-based PA spokesman Dmitry Dliani told OilPrice.com the decision by the National Infrastructures Ministry was a “license to steal Gaza’s natural gas reserves.” He demanded “international protection” against the move.