An opinion piece by Ahmad Abu Aretma
The colonial Israel state has signed an agreement with the European Union and Egypt to supply the Union with Palestinian gas— that Israel steals—through Egypt, in a move aimed at enabling Europe to do without Russian gas, according to a statement by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
Palestinians own rich natural gas fields in the Mediterranean sea, opposite the coast of the Gaza Strip, which has been under a tight Israeli blockade since mid-2007, is the “Gaza Marine” natural gas field, which was discovered by ‘British Gas’ the UK’s largest energy and home services company in 1999.
The gas field contains an estimate of one trillion cubic feet (32 billion cubic meter
There are estimates prophesying that there are eight other natural gas fields on the shores of the Gaza Strip, according to the estimates done by Jazeera.
These gas resources, if invested, will contribute to partially or completely alleviating the financial issues the Palestinians live through, providing job opportunities for Palestinian youth suffering from unemployment and poverty, and providing a supply of electricity and cooking gas which are in severe shortage.
The Israeli occupation prevents Palestinians from exploring, extracting, or benefiting from natural gas resources in the Gaza Sea reason, or even from bargaining or concluding any related agreements.
On the other hand, Palestinians suffer from a severe shortage in gas and electricity supplies, as they depend for 93% of their electricity needs on imports from Israel, at a rate of 850 megawatts for the West Bank, and 120 megawatts for the Gaza Strip.
The issue of Palestinian gas stolen from the Mediterranean represents an integrated example of a reality of injustice and oppression that the Palestinian people suffer under as they live under the control of the Israeli occupation and with regional and international complicity.
Theft is not an unprecedented practice in Israeli policy. The State of Israel itself was founded from the very first moment on the robbery of Palestinian land and property, and the Israeli approach to dispossess and take over Palestinian land continued for seventy-four years and building over it Israeli-owned and dwelled settlements.
Following the establishment of the State of Israel, the Knesset passed the Absentee Property Law in 1950, which gave the state the ‘right’ to steal the homes and properties of Palestinian refugees that they had to leave behind and to hand those properties to Israeli settlers.
It comes as no surprise that Israel– with theft being the main fundamental part of its creation– would go further to steal Palestinian resources, but what’s truly outrageous is that Israel has accomplices from countries that always seem to emphasize in their political rhetoric their respect for human rights and international laws.
Israel will not be able to sell the stolen Palestinian gas if there was no other buyer, and the buyer is the European Union, which calls on its founding principles to respect international laws.
This position of the European Union represents an open complicity with the Israeli colonial policies, which is not new. The European Union maintains trade cooperation agreements under which it opens its markets for Israeli goods, weapons, and military cooperation, which represents the fuel that revives Israel and prolongs the life of its racist colonial project.
In exchange for strategic cooperation with Israel, the supporters of Israel from Western governments pretend to pity the Palestinians and throw their way, conditionally and occasionally, some crumbs of aid, whilst making sure this aid carries no real nor sustainable development factors
In short this in a way reveals that both the Israeli and international policy is tiled towards keeping the Palestinians in a state of Economic need and preventing the establishment of any real self-reliant economy fearing that Palestinian economic strength would morph into political power
The Palestinians are not beggars. they do not need the proverbial leftovers of their enemies as Israel does through the policy of conditional and controlled entry of goods into Gaza. The Palestinians are brave and wealthy, but they have been victims of a Zionist project that robbed them only to be more rewarded with further international support. A project that continuously steals their national wealth as it it has stolen their land. All that Palestinians need is freedom and full disposition of sovereignty over Their land, sea, and resource
We won’t be grateful for a thief that hands us microscopic–crumbs of our stolen wealth as he calls it charity.
Ahmed Abu Artema is a Palestinian journalist, writer, and activities in Act for Palestine association